Where is Innovation Point? If you ask your Uber driver, I imagine you will get a confusing look back at you from the rear view mirror. If you Google it, it is yet to be clearly defined in Maps other than showing part of the Northern end of the Seaport section of South Boston. Innovation Point is the name selected by GE for their new corporate headquarters in Boston.
Jeff Caywood a GE spokesperson, said the name is a reflection of both the neighborhood and company…The “innovation” piece is reflective of GE’s 125-year history, and the innovative products it has brought to the market — everything from lightbulbs to appliances to jet engines, he said. The “point,” meanwhile, reflects both the Fort Point neighborhood and the “acceleration point” of GE as it transforms into what it has dubbed a “digital industrial” company.
Looking for space in Boston’s Seaport? 121 Seaport Boulevard, being developed by Skanska, is looking for you. The office building will spread 400,000 square-feet, across 17 floors that are virtually column-free.
Promoted as Boston’s first elliptical tower, the design squeezed efficiencies out of its chilled beam heating and cooling system, said David Nagahiro, a principal at CBT. That eliminated the need for a large fan room in the core space on each floor, enabling nearly 86 percent of each floor to be leasable space.
“This is the most efficient floor plate in the city,” Nagahiro said.
Seaport Square is a 23-acre parcel that stretches from Northern Avenue to Summer Street and represents the last chance for the district to save itself from becoming a sea of generic office and condo buildings and a playground for those who can only afford it.
WS thinks Boston’s answer to Manhattan’s High Line is the Harbor Way, a tree-lined pedestrian promenade that will connect Summer Street to the water’s edge by Fan Pier. The thoroughfare will extend a third of a mile through Seaport Square and hook up with the HarborWalk in an attempt to finally make the Seaport District pedestrian friendly.
‘The goal, chief executive Thomas Glynn said, is to reflect the wider services that Massport hopes to accommodate at the complex. Along with Zipcar and Hubway, there could be space for Seaport shuttles and information for people walking through the area…Calling it the Seaport Transportation Center, that really captured more of the ancillary services it can provide,’ Glynn said. ‘We have the opportunity here to do more than just a garage.’
Construction could begin as soon as this fall, he said, and could be complete by the end of 2017, depending on how long it takes to secure permits. The project could cost as much as $90 million.
The Northern Avenue bridge built in 1908 is recommended to get another lease on life. The bridge is one of the last remaining swing bridges in New England and is an engineering marvel to watch when it’s in motion.
The bridge was not only designed for pedestrians and cars, but also the Union Freight Railroad.
The overall volume of commutes into the Seaport will increase 63 percent by 2035…The study committee’s consensus: restoring the three-lane bridge, with one lane dedicated for motor vehicles. Pedestrian and bicycle access also would be preserved.
“There was some concern in the pedestrian and bicycling community about opening it up to traffic,” said Rick Dimino, CEO of Boston-based planning organization A Better City Inc. “But at the end of the day, there was pretty substantial support that the bridge needs to be opened up to traffic again.”
If we can’t get to and from our workplace in a reasonable amount of time, we will find a job that we can. Boston continues to grow its daytime and bedtime population and we need to constantly improve transportation infrastructure.
“One of the central goals of the transportation plan is to improve access and mobility across multiple modes of transportation for residents, workers and tourists throughout the neighborhood, which in theory will maximize economic growth and vitality along the waterfront and, as the draft plan says, “enhance the public realm.” The draft plan also highlights expanding community connections within South Boston and the South Boston Waterfront and enhancing mobility inside the Waterfront itself.”
The growth of the Seaport District has created a number of challenges and one of the prominent ones is parking. Massport is looking to offer some relief to this by building a 1,700 car garage atop the Pike.
The Boston Globe offers details on the proposed parking additions, noting it “would be built over a strengthened section of the turnpike tunnel near the World Trade Center complex. Although the site is about a third of a mile from the Seaport Square area, where visitors to Fan Pier and attractions like the Institute of Contemporary Art vie for parking with workers from the adjacent financial district, Massport said the parking garage would be vital for apartments and a planned hotel near the convention center.
Connecting North Station to South Station would be great, but better would be Back Bay to the Seaport. Boston is on track to continue to invest in infrastructure that better our places to work and live. The use of track 61 will be a welcome addition to those that travelers to and from the Seaport/Innovation District.
The Boston Globe is reporting that “the state, with no fanfare, has set aside tens of millions of dollars to launch an innovative train service on a dormant rail line between a pair of the city’s most vital neighborhoods: the Seaport District and the Back Bay…The service should be ready to go in just two years.”
Office rents have increased in excess of 40 percent in the last two years in the Innovation District. What will happen as those leases start to roll in 2014, will those tenants be able to afford the new rents?
A recent editorial in the Boston Globe noted the challenges facing small businesses and occupants of the Innovation District:
“The Innovation District is in danger of becoming a top-heavy boutique neighborhood because it targets price-sensitive businesses, but has no way of providing stable rents. There’s no consensus about who should pay to keep office rents affordable at the very low end — developers, large companies, area institutions, or the city itself could all conceivably handle the job — and, even if consensus did exist, there’s no means of enforcing it.”
Rents are above $40.00 PSF, vacancy is below 4 percent for Class B space, but the good news is the Innovation District is humming. Companies are willing to pay a premium to be located among their technology peers; as it pertains to recruiting, applicants would much prefer to be there than outside the city.
A Banker & Tradesman report, quoting the Boston Redevelopment Authority, states “in the past three years, more than 200 new companies and 4,000 new jobs have moved to Boston’s Innovation District.”
The article also notes that technology companies are leading the charge, accounting for 30 percent of the area’s new job growth.