The Boston Globe wrote about a new hotel development that will be soon be built in Back Bay over the Mass Turnpike. We here in Newton have two projects that were built many years ago, using Mass Pike air rights – Shaws Supermarket in Newtonville and the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newton Corner.
Compared to some of our neighboring towns, Newton is relatively constrained when it comes to commercial development. We don’t have any sprawling, 128-side office parks or malls like Needham or Dedham for example. I’m certain that developing commercial property over the turnpike using air rights is quite a bit more complicated and expensive than a standard suburban office park. That said, the strip of Turnpike air rights that runs across the city is one very large parcel of undeveloped commercial space.
I don’t know the history of Shaws and the Crowne Plaza, but I’m surprised that if those were economically viable projects when they were built 30 or 40 years ago, that there hasn’t been any other development since. Maybe someone with a bit more local history or commercial development knowledge than me, could shed a little light on the topic.