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BOSTON-The Merano–a proposed $160 million mixed-use facility from Boston Development Group–is getting approval from the city, setting the scene for major construction in the Bulfinch Triangle here. The project will include two hotels, retail space and more office space in the downtown Boston area near North Station.

“This project will further the revitalization efforts that are happening in the Bulfinch Triangle by bringing much needed hotel rooms and commercial space,” Mayor Thomas Menino says, in a statement. “The removal of the elevated highway brought us the beautiful Rose Kennedy Greenway–and now we will add to that with a great mixed-use project.”

The burgeoning project site is available because of the elevated Interstate 93 highway structures’ recent demise and subsequent demolition. Officially, the construction will be on Massachusetts Turnpike Authority’s Parcel 1B, Parcel 1C and 86-88 N. Washington St. The space is across the street from the TD Banknorth Garden, a sports arena for Boston’s professional hockey-team, the Bruins, and the Boston Celtics basketball team.

The dueling hotels will total 190,000 sf, consisting of a 153-room short-term Courtyard and a 121-room extended-stay hotel from TownePlace Suites–both by Marriot. Retail will sell from 10,000 sf of ground-floor cement with 13,000 sf of ground-floor restaurant space. The Merano will also contain 206,000 sf of office space for businesses in the adjacent area. The developer, Boston Development Group, is anticipating pushing dirt by Q1 of 2009 and expects to top it off up to two years later.

The project puts into play myriad public benefits for the Bulfinch Triangle. There is $50,000 to support a comprehensive traffic study of the Bulfinch Triangle neighborhood in coordination with the Boston Transportation Department; $75,000 to support neighborhood improvements; and $300,000 for the City’s Crossroads Initiative, focusing on Causeway Street, among other proposed initiatives to improve the neighborhood.

According to Cushman & Wakefield’s 2008 Q2 market report, office space in this area goes for $56.89 per sf. The project will add to the already expected 300,000 sf of retail space delivering in 2011, thanks in large part to the revitalized Filene’s Basement at One Franklin St. The BRA, nor Boston Development Group could be reached for a response by deadline.

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