Devonshire Street offices-to-residences conversion project approved

by Liz Hughes

Another Boston office building is being converted into residences as part of a new initiative. 

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) approved the city’s second offices-to-residences conversion project at its April meeting last week. 

The project at 85 Devonshire St. in downtown Boston is the second under the city’s Downtown Residential Conversion Incentive Program, which encourages developers to convert underutilized offices into residences. The program was approved and officially launched last October. 

The 11-story Devonshire Street office building will be converted into 95 new homes, 19 of which will be income-restricted, as part of the initiative. The units will be a mix of 29 studio apartments, 54 one-bedroom apartments and 12 two-bedroom apartments. Existing retail will remain on the first floor and mezzanine levels. 

The Downtown Conversion Program’s goal is to create more downtown housing and bring more foot traffic to support downtown businesses. It was designed to respond to post-pandemic economic shifts and put more priority on expanding downtown housing options.

The BPDA approved the first conversion project located at 281 Franklin St. in March. That project will see the renovation of an existing office building to create 15 residential apartment units, three of which will be income-restricted. The existing ground floor retail space will be retained and it will also include on-site bike storage.

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