The Boston real estate market is collectively on the rise, with six impending towers set to stand at least 300 feet. None of these projects are massive in scale on their own, but combined, they fortify Boston’s continued presence on the world’s real estate stage.
The combined projects include office, retail and residential space for lease.
Curbed Boston highlights the elements comprising the project’s relative stout within the traditionally ‘height-averse’ market:
One Congress – the tallest new office building in Boston since the 590-foot One Financial Center opened in April 1984
Bulfinch Crossing residential tower – residential spire is expected to stretch to 480 feet and 45 stories, and to include 368 apartments and 55 condos.
1000 Boylston – 484-foot, 32-story residential, retail, and parking tower over the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Hub on Causeway – 1.87 million mixed-use square feet on and around TD Garden and North Station—includes a 498-foot, 38-story tower.
Back Bay Station tower – 1.26 million square feet of residences, offices, retail, and other space around and atop Back Bay Station.
Fenway Center – Includes a residential-office-garage tower of 305 feet.
The Newbury Street ‘super-sub’ market has continued to develop and flourish since that time into its current iteration, where “the spaces above the ground floor are now some of the most desirable workspaces in Boston. These 207 buildings in Back Bay form a submarket within a submarket, a working enclave totaling over 3M SF. Properties on Newbury Street are able to leverage a built-in cool factor that most office buildings and new developments can’t duplicate. Unlike other Boston submarkets with seasonal attractions, Newbury Street is a year-round destination — the neighborhood has a perpetual energy,” according the Bisnow.
“You never have to leave the street. Every possible food and beverage option, as well as every type of service, is just steps from your office front door,” Back Bay Association President Meg Mainzer-Cohen said. “Newbury Street is also a stone’s throw from a park system that is one of the best in the country, including Boston Public Garden and the Esplanade, making it easy to step out and recharge.”
You can read the full Bisnow article on its website, here.
Real estate changes keep coming to Boston, not only in new construction, but also an assortment of renovations planned throughout the Seaport submarket. One notable update is slated for The Seaport Word Trade Center, which is poised to add 30,000 SF of retail space to its existing 804,000 SF footprint.
Among the intended modifications to Seaport World Trade Center are “plans to close Commonwealth Hall, an existing exhibition space at the Seaport World Trade Center, and create new conference and event facilities at the Seaport Hotel,” a recent article on the BBJ notes.
What does it take to build a neighborhood in Boston? The creation of the Seaport is just that: in just over a decade we have gone from dirt lots, through planning, to a famed destination location that supports life, work & play.
Urbanland recounts a number of key milestones that propelled the development of the contemporary Boston Seaport:
With the completion of the Big Dig, it became clear that there was “an opportunity to develop a new city” in the Seaport, recounts Charles Leatherbee, director of development for Skanska USA, which has constructed multiple office and residential projects there since, including a 225,000-square-foot (21,000 sq m) office project in the marine park that broke ground in June. Observes Leatherbee, “Make no mistake, the Seaport has access to the single greatest resource the city has—the harbor—and they’ve been able to develop something quite cool, in my view.”
Back Bay clearly is a destination for development in the City of Boston. If falls outside the FAA’s domain and doesn’t interfere with the “shadow effect”. One prime example is the Motor Mart Garage at 201 Stuart Street in Boston.
According to the BBJ, “the Motor Mart Garage redevelopment ‘would feature building a 310-foot residential tower atop the eight-story garage and converting 365 parking spaces into residential units…The 20-story tower would contain 222 apartments and condominiums, while the garage’s western portion would be converted into 84 residential units.'”
“The project’s height was considered as a continuation of the high spine of Boston,” the development team wrote in the Sept. 10 project notification form.
Tishman Speyer, owner of 125 High Street executed a 102,969 square-foot lease with Boston-based law firm, Burns & Levinson. After nearly a 30-year tenure at 125 Summer Street, the firm will occupy the 3rd and 4th floor to increase efficiency and workplace collaboration.
125 High Street is a 30-floor postmodern high-rise in the Financial District owned by Tishman Speyer; the developer for Pier 4 in the booming Seaport district. Notable occupants at 125 High include Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, and GID Investment Advisors.
The building was designed by Jung Brannan Associates and completed in 1991.
Burns & Levinson was founded in 1960 and currently employs 125 lawyers across its 5 different offices in New England. It’s regarded as one of the regions most prestigious firms.
According to Burns & Levinson press release, “The new space features a larger floor plate across two floors – versus the firm’s current five-floor configuration – that will allow Burns & Levinson to create an environment that better reflects the collaborative way that the firm’s 250 plus lawyers and staff currently work and interact. Burns & Levinson has hired Gensler to design the interior.”
Open offices are not the solution to all our problems.The greater population needs some level of quiet workspace to perform their tasks and not face the endless interruption.
A study from Ethan Bernstein and Stephen Turban of Harvard Business School and Harvard University notes the following:
[in open office spaces] “you are constantly on view and worried about being seen talking, or having your conversations overheard, people chose to email or use a messaging system instead…And because people were emailing and messaging more rather than speaking face to face, the quality of interactions declined and productivity suffered.”
Additional information on the study is available at Bisnow, here.
The Boston Planning and Development Agency “is planning to spend $400,000 studying transit options in a neck of Boston that has become so difficult to access that some are suggesting sailing over clogged streets…The study will likely take more than a year, and consider whether additional bus, rail, ferries, bike-share, and ride-hailing services can help. And it will also look at the polarizing proposal to run cable cars far above Summer Street as part of an aerial gondola system…The gondola proposal might sound fanciful, but a major development firm is willing to cough up $100 million for it.”
Boston’s Seaport will continue to be on the forefront by planning ahead as construction and development continues. Lower-Level and 1st-floor space is no longer used for utility infrastructure, developers and landlords. New projects house these systems on the 2nd floor or the roof, where appropriate.
Credit: The Architect’s Newspaper
290 Congress Street, owned by Boston Properties, utilizes a water fence that gets installed should it be necessary. To-date this has only been used once in March of 2018.
in this old city’s booming Seaport District, General Electric is building its new world headquarters, Amazon is bringing in thousands of new workers, and Reebok’s red delta symbol sits atop the new office it opened last year. Three businesses are testing self-driving cars, other dynamic companies are planting their flag, and trendy restaurants and apartments have gone up virtually overnight. But after bad flooding during a storm this past winter, critics wonder whether it was a bright idea to invest so much in a man-made peninsula that sits barely above sea level.
Environmental activists warn much of the district, transformed from a wasteland of surface parking lots, rotting piers and abandoned rail yards into an economic engine and one of the city’s most expensive neighbourhoods in a matter of years, simply isn’t prepared for the long haul.
Could the Midtown Hotel site be the home to the next office or residential tower in Boston Back Bay? Speculation says Back Bay would be most receptive to height.
A sale of the one-acre site would likely lead to a much larger building in the 159-room hotel’s place, per the Globe’s Tim Logan. And that sale would likelier be on the pricier side, reflecting the skyrocketing land values of prime development sites in downtown Boston in general.
For instance, the MidTown site’s lease could go for as much as $80 million—$15 million more than developer Carpenter & Co. paid in 2014 for the smaller site that became One Dalton, which is on its way to being one of the five tallest towers in New England.