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BOSTON-The Boston Redevelopment Authority gave the thumbs up to a retail expansion for the Newbry, the retail/office complex at 501 Boylston St. The effort will add 61,000 sf of retail to the site.

The expansion was proposed by 501 Boylston Street Properties LLC, an affiliate of Beacon Capital Partners LLC, after MetLife vacated four floors in the 10-story building, The locally based company bought the property from MetLife Inc. in a leaseback deal for about $130 million in late 2002. The development team has proposed plans to expand retail uses, converting existing office, mezzanine and auditorium uses into multiple floors of retail space. The Newbry offers eight floors of class A office space, which will be anchored in part by Pearson Education and MetLife.

The company says the renovation will increase its investment in the building, which is bounded by Boylston, Berkeley, Newbury and Clarendon streets, to $185 million. The developers hope the revitalized building will become home to an eclectic mix of high-end boutiques, national luxury brands and one-of-a-kind local retailers, as well as larger format retailers.

“The BRA approval validates our vision to showcase the Newbry’s character and elegance by opening all its doors to visitors and creating a more accessible and enjoyable streetscape that accentuates the old, but celebrates what’s new,” says Douglas S. Mitchell, senior vice president of Development at Beacon.

“We anticipate strong demand from premier and world class retailers who recognize the benefit of fashionable lower Newbury Street and bustling Boylston Street,” adds Andy LaGrega, principal of the Wilder Cos., which is responsible for retail leasing.

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