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.
“The BEAT” (The Boston Exchange for Accelerated Technology) will be a life science, technology, and advanced manufacturing facility, a Nordblom spokesman said, its name an homage to the beat reporters who worked in the newsroom headquarters for more than 60 years before the paper moved downtown in 2017, a nod to the nearby Red Line as a neighborhood artery, and a gesture at the lively and open space they hope to cultivate at the fortress-like site.
“Our job is to create something to which people want to go, a great place where they want to work,” [Todd Fremont-Smith, senior vice president and director of mixed-use projects for Nordblom] said. “The city is out of space. The Seaport is done; Back Bay’s done.” And given the need for office, tech, and light industrial workplaces, he said, “we’re trying to do it in a creative and funky way that captures people’s imaginations.”
The proposed plans for the Flower Exchange have been released by the Abby Group.
Credit: Boston Globe
Plans for the former Flower Exchange, centered on a 1-acre public plaza are cited in a recent Boston Globe article, noting “Abbey is targeting companies that want to be near Boston Medical Center and Boston University Medical School. The cluster of four buildings of lab or tech office space would total some 1.6 million square feet, rising 200 feet or more near the Southeast Expressway. Offices would have large open floor plans, while restaurants and stores would go at street level, as well as a cultural center and plaza Abbey has dubbed ‘Albany Green’.”
The article also includes a quote from Bill Keravuori, a managing partner at Abbey, defining the vision for the project as “a sort of European plaza…[which would] extend public space across the entire ground floor of the project.”
You can read the full article on the Boston Globe, here.
The South End is not known as a large office market with only 13 buildings totaling 928,626 square-feet, according to CoStar; however, a new 11-story office building at 321 Harrison Ave. overlooking the Massachusetts Turnpike was recently approved.
The $80 million project, to be built by Burlington-based Nordblom Development Co. and New York-based investment firm Rubenstein Partners, would be the first new office building in a section of the South End that has seen a flood of housing development in recent years — more than 1,000 apartments and condos within a few blocks.
The mid-rise, with 230,000 square feet of office space on eight floors above a three-story garage, would stand alongside and share a lobby with an existing office building next door at 1000 Washington St. that houses state agencies.
The Boston Flower Exchange site could be home to a new Tech Exchange site employing 5,000 – 10,000 people and rival that of Kendall Square in Cambridge.
According to the Boston Globe, “the buyers of the Boston Flower Exchange property Thursday unveiled plans to turn the 5.6-acre warehouse facility on Albany Street in the South End into a tech office campus they hope could rival Kendall Square in Cambridge, employing as many as 5,000 to 10,000 people…In addition to offices, the development could include parking, public space, and perhaps some housing. All told, zoning there would allow as much as 1.6 million square feet, said Abbey Group managing partner William Keravuori — three times the size of the nearby Ink Block complex.”
The new norm is ‘where can we build more options?’ 1000 Washington Street could be the new home of office space on top of the existing garage.
A BBJ report notes, “Nordblom Development Co. has proposed building the office space at 321 Harrison Ave., a parcel that’s adjacent to an existing 11-story office building and 300-space parking garage. The existing office, located at 1000 Washington St., is primarily leased by the commonwealth’s division of capital asset management and maintenance…Nordblom’s proposal states it would build the office as “an addition to the existing parking garage… with a new lobby and significant pedestrian realm improvements.” The project would take 60 spaces away from the garage.”
Krista Bourque, creative director of Branding Iron, a real estate branding studio inside Boston architectural firm Stantec, says a lot of research and thought goes into a name, including the history of a site, the surrounding neighborhood and an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the competition. She says a building’s name is a big part of its brand identity and how a property is perceived by its investors, potential buyers or renters.
“Giving a building a name is about giving it a personality and creating an image that differentiates it from the competition,” adds Brenda Adams, owner of Adams Design, who has been naming projects since 1990, including the South End’s Penmark and North Station’s Strada 234.
The city of Boston continues to expand by building more residential and office buildings in areas once thought too far from the mainstream. Industrial and flex users have felt that impact along with office tenants that occupied old industrial buildings that have gone through complete renovations. $12 PSF office rents in the Boston Wharf portfolio from 15 years ago are now in the upper $40’s PSF.
Yet as real estate prices surge and development pushes into places that were long neglected, the pressures are rising on industrial space all over the city. Boston has just 3.6 square miles of land zoned for industrial use, less seemingly every week. Two prominent properties in the South End, for example, Quinzani’s Bakery on Harrison Avenue and the Flower Exchange on Albany Street, are being sold to developers.
“Not everybody works for Fidelity or Vertex,” said Michael Vaughan, a development consultant who is helping the food wholesalers in Widett Circle negotiate a potential move. “This is how people earn a good living and stay in the city of Boston. The challenge is how do you make sure there’s room for them in a very land-poor city.”
Bridj is on the move and parked on Newbury Street. 283/285 Newbury Street offered an experience that aligned well with vision of Matt George, Bridj founder and CEO. Off street parking, roof deck and 3 floors of creative space.
Bridj has elected to share this experience through Pivotdesk, have a look and see if it works for your growing team.
The company moved out of a co-working space at the Cambridge Innovation Center into a 5,400-square-foot space at 283 Newbury St. in Boston earlier this year.
“We were outgrowing the CIC and while co-working spaces are great and they have lots of benefits and amenities, it’s really hard to start building your own culture (there),” said Ryan Kelly, Bridj’s marketing manager.
Boston’s hotel community is hoping to welcome a new player to the scene, AC Marriot. The brand has started in Europe and has recently expanded into the U.S. market. If you are thinking about where your clients will stay when visiting your office, the following map outlines a 15 minute walk to the new proposed hotel.
The Boston Globe indicates, if approved, “the six-story AC Marriott would be on Albany Street, adjacent to the Ink Block site. It would replace a pair of low-slung brick buildings that formerly housed offices for Independent Taxi and F.W. Webb…The company wants to start construction in the fall, with the hotel’s opening scheduled for early 2017.”