Healthcare: Construction begins on $400m medical, housing project in Mission Hill

by Matt Rocheleau for Boston.com

Construction to redevelop the Mass. Mental Health Center in Mission Hill has begun. The $400-million, 630,000 square-foot project includes plans for a new mental health facility, a major affordable housing complex and a Brigham and Women’s clinical and research building.

The 98-year-old center, which serves adults with serious mental illness in the Boston area, will replace its mental health component in the Longwood Medical Area by mid-2012 with a $10-million, state-of-the-art treatment facility in the Fenwood Inn building. The facility will feature a 47-bed partial hospital and transition shelter for state mental health department patients, according to city and private development officials.

The project’s site plans also call for a two-year construction project to begin afterward on a 15-story, 136-unit residential building with 66 affordable rental units and 70 condominiums, at least half of which will be affordable. The residential building will be developed and operated by the 41-year-old nonprofit corporation Roxbury Tenants of Harvard, while the other three buildings in the project will be developed by Brigham and Women’s.

Members of the Roxbury nonprofit group were not immediately available to comment on their part of the project, including its cost.

Once work on the center’s $27-million Binney Street medical office building is complete and that building is occupied, plans call for a two-and-half year, $365-million project to construct a Brigham and Women’s building for medical office and research space to open within 10 years, according to design plans and Brigham and Women’s spokesman Kevin Myron. Site plans also call for a 400-space, below ground parking garage, included in the $365-million price tag, Myron said.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino and redevelopment authority Director John Palmieri joined members of the state mental health department, Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Partners Healthcare Tuesday for a groundbreaking ceremony, according to an announcement from city development officials.

The project “is a unique public-private initiative of the Department of Mental Health (DMH), the Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Partners Healthcare,” said the announcement.

The project at the corner of Riverway and Fenwood Road will “create hundreds of construction jobs as well as a variety of permanent jobs,” the announcement said.

To see site plans, click here.

Meanwhile, The Boston Herald reported this week that development plans for a medical office building at nearby Brigham Circle were scaled down dramatically due to pressure from neighborhood residents and city officials.

[boston.com]

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