The Modern Theatre at Suffolk University will move forward withan interior renovation, while trying to maintain its façade onWashington Street. The theater will be fitted with a studiotheater, art gallery and 5,200 sf of support space. The universityis also planning to put a 12-story, 47,000-sf student residencehall above the theater, which will be connected to 10 West St., a274-student residence hall that was opened in early January above arestaurant and coffee shop. Suffolk will also build a 112,800-sfacademic building for the New England School of Art and Design. Thestructure will be built at 20 Somerset St. after the universityrazes the existing building, replacing it with classrooms, studios,laboratories, offices, and gallery and exhibit spaces--under oneroof--strictly for academic use. Both the Modern Theatre and 20Somerset St. projects are under the university's InstitutionalMaster Plan which is being approved by the BRA Board. Estimatedbudgets could not be obtained for these redevelopments bydeadline.

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Simmons College is also expanding space with approval from theBRA Board. The college will add 5,898 sf to their dining hall foran estimated $6 million. The new space--at 300 Fenway--will providethe college an opportunity to renovate its existing kitchen andcreate capacity for a growing student population.

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The BRA Board is taking another institutional master plan intoconsideration by approving The Cecil Group Inc. as a consultant forthe Allston-Brighton Community Wide Plan. The CWP is specificallyfor the North Allston-Brighton neighborhood and intends to revampthe existing 2005 North Allston Strategic Framework for Planning,which provides information to help the BRA address and directgeneral real estate growth and development in the neighborhood. Asdevelopments progressed in the neighborhood, which includes theHarvard Institutional Master Plan and the Charles View Project--aninterfaith low-income housing project--the community asked toreview and re-evaluate the NASFP, which was finalized in 2005. There-evaluation will make sure that the community of Allston-Brightonwill have a clear "roadmap" and action plan, including a broadneighborhood context for Harvard's on-going master plan. Theplanning contract will be $250,000 and funded by the BRA withpartial assistance by Harvard though a $100,000 planning studygrant.

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Dorchester is setting its sights on the planned 157 WashingtonSt. project, which will provide 24 affordable co-op units in placeof a vacant commercial building. Now with approval, the existingstructure will be knocked-down and a 25,427-sf mixed-usedevelopment will be erected on the 30,000-sf property. The buildingis being developed by the Codman Square Neighborhood DevelopmentCorporation and is estimated to finish construction in 2009 at acost of $9 million. The units are scheduled for occupancy bymid-year 2010.

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Boston also has plans for a new heliport and the BRA is grantingtentative designation to the Trenk Family LLC for its Air Pegausoperation to explore the proposition. The current plan calls for aheliport to be placed on Parcel C-2 of the Boston Marine IndustrialPark on the South Boston waterfront. Ideally, the heliport will beused for tourism, medical flights, the film and movie industry andadditional transportation options for some of the city's employers.There are currently no alternate sites for the heliport, as thecompany undergoes a community review process to consider flightsper day and routes, types and sizes of helicopters, sound levels,required permits and operational safety.

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The property in the BMIP was used temporarily for this purposeduring the 2004 Democratic convention held in Boston, which playedinto its site selection process, according to the city. Bostonpreviously had a public heliport on the South Boston waterfrontthat was closed in 1999 for the construction of the BostonConvention & Exhibition Center. Air Pegasus operates the AirPegasus heliport in New York City, as well as tour services inBoulder City, CO; Las Vegas; and St. Louis.

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