Skanska and Simmons University finalize ground lease to enable development of transformational Longwood Place Project

Press release 6/1/2023 7:00 AM EST

BOSTON, MA – Skanska USA Commercial Development, a leading global development and construction firm, today announced that its Longwood Place project, a proposed 1.7 million square foot mixed-use development that will bring new life science, office, housing, retail, community space, and public realm improvements to the Longwood Medical Area (LMA), has received official zoning approval of its Planned Development Area (PDA) from the Boston Zoning Commission on April 14, 2023.

Skanska has entered into an agreement with Simmons University to develop and construct a Living and Learning Center on the institution’s Academic Campus in exchange for a 99-year ground leasehold interest in the 5.88 acres Residential Campus of Simmons University for the Longwood Place Project. The approval of the PDA allows for the start of construction on the Simmons University Living and Learning Center. This represents a significant milestone in Skanska’s partnership with Simmons University to support ‘One Simmons,’ the institution’s three-phased strategic master plan that will consolidate all of the University facilities onto one campus – a plan designed to advance the Simmons mission as one of the only remaining women’s centered universities in the country, and allows the development of the transformational Longwood Place project after delivery of the Living and Learning Center in 2026.

“Today we celebrate a critical milestone in a partnership that has grown stronger over the years and a shared vision that will deliver much-needed, high-quality, dynamic and welcoming living, working, and open space to enhance our community and solidify a sustainable future for Simmons University,” said Carolyn Desmond, Vice President of Skanska USA Commercial Development’s Boston office. “Skanska is eager to deliver much-needed lab and research space to support Boston’s healthcare ecosystem, more housing opportunities, and enhanced ground-level amenities and transportation options in an intentional and sustainable manner that will create a destination neighborhood.”

Longwood Place will create a vibrant nucleus of sustainable research and workspaces, active community amenities, much-needed housing, and an inclusive public realm in the LMA. The project is designed to include 1.7 million square feet that will deliver class-A life science and office space, 44,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, community spaces, and over 380 units of market rate and affordable housing across five buildings to be delivered in phases over the next more than 10 years.

Simmons and Skanska are eager to deliver a shared vision that will transform Simmons’ currently closed-off residential campus into a connected, vibrant mixed-use destination that provides a community gathering place and public amenities, which are severely lacking in the neighborhood. Longwood Place is organized around 2.6 acres of new publicly accessible open space and a public realm that will be designed and programmed to accommodate a mix of active and passive uses. Skanska will also make a significant investment in the neighboring Emerald Necklace through the creation of an endowment for use by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department to support the long-term improvement, maintenance, and operations within and around the Emerald Necklace parks.

“One Simmons is the physical representation of Simmons’ student-centered mission, thoughtfully designed to further Simmons’ mission of educating women for independence, leadership and social impact. Skanska was the natural and obvious choice as a partner in this effort. Their commitment to sustainability, responsible planning, collaboration, and thought leadership has allowed our partnership to grow into a dynamic project team that will deliver a world-class product,” said Laura Brink Pisinski, Vice President of University Real Estate and Facilities.

Additional public benefits include public transportation enhancements, public art opportunities for community organizations in partnership with the City of Boston, and the creation of 15,000 square feet of interior community space, a portion of which could be dedicated to creating a workforce development and life science training hub. Skanska believes in creating an exemplary place focused on sustainability, health, and community by focusing on reducing operation and embodied carbon, water management, and wellness. This also includes designing urban spaces for thermal comfort and resilience, stormwater mitigation efforts, improved water quality, and targeting LEED Gold Certification or higher for each building.