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A $470M Dream Come True
May 21, 2013

A $470M
Dream Come True

After 10 years planning the $470M, mixed-use Fenway Center, developer Meredith Management president John Rosenthal tells us it will be one of Boston's biggest developments and a true smart-growth transit and renewable energy oriented project. (Now people can stop whining, "Are we there yet?")

Tomorrow, the state Department of Transportation board is expected to give final approval to the project, the first major one in Boston that will be built on air rights over the Pike since construction started on Copley Place in the '80s, John tells us. (That was back when the construction workers dressed like the Village People.) Last week, the department approved the terms of the $226M, 99-year lease on 4.5 acres of state-owned land and the air rights, recommending approval by DOT's full board when it meets Wednesday. The 1.3M SF project includes: five buildings with 550 apartments; 167k SF of offices; retail; parking for 1,290 cars; parks; and new pedestrian circulation routes.
CohnReznick (Think) MBOS

Meredith CFO Jonathan Hickok says their equity partner is Toronto-based Bentall Kennedy.John, a longtime advocate for progressive causes, says an extra benefit is that Benthall Kennedy manages union pension funds and Fenway Center will put union tradespeople back to work by generating 1,800 union construction jobs. It will spin off $2B in revenue to the city, the state, and in other economic activity over the lease term. Solar arrays installed on the parking garage will provide the power needed to run the new $15M MBTA Yawkey commuter rail station upon its December completion. (It's about time that lazy, old sun did something besides bake us.) The site is between Fenway Park and the LMA.

The development team—which includes The Architectural Team, John Moriarty, and J.F. White—is building a new neighborhood between existing neighborhoods long separated by train tracks, highway, and bridges: Audubon Circle, the Fenway, and Kenmore Square. Enabling work will start by the end of the year and construction on the $290M, 1M SF Phase 1 by Q1—420 rental apartments, 50k SF of retail, and 1,000 of the parking spaces. It's slated for completion by early '16. The $180M, 300k SF Phase 2 will have a 27-story, mixed-use building with 130 apartments, 17k SF of lower-level retail, and 167k SF of offices.

BAA and The Links Back in The Game

Don West
In one of the largest sporting events since Marathon Day, the Boston Athletic Association and The Links Inc—a volunteer service organization of 12,000 women of color—hosted 450 kids and parents at the Urban Field Day on Saturday at Dorchester's Martin Luther King K-8 School. Among those encouraging everyone to run their races were Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley (right) presenting a City Council resolution recognizing the event to BAA prez Joann Flaminio, Boston Public Schools superintendent Carol Johnson, The Community Builders' Stephanie Anderson Garrett, Fidelity Investments' Pam Everhart (also The Links prez), and school principal Jessica Bolt.

Live from ICSC!

The International Council of Shopping Centers is hosting its largest crowd since the recession and Bisnow is in Las Vegas, bringing it to you live with some 33,000 CRE types joining in the 2013 Global Retail Real Estate Convention, known as RECon. Thousands gathered around the poolside at Bellagio Sunday afternoon (we tried to get all 30,000 in the picture, but a few brokers from El Paso kept looking the other way) to celebrate the kick-off of the event.

On the ICSC exhibit floor, WS Development SVP Michael McNaughton and leasing director Kerry Dowling tell us about giant Seaport Square that's had final designs and is in permitting for 2014 commencement—and for which they are already actively leasing. The Chestnut Hill-based developer owns 20M SF, largely in New England.

"Just give me the damn deal!" Maybe that's not what he said, but we did a double take when we saw former NFL stand-out Keyshawn Johnson decked out in his ICSC RECon badge with the other 32,999 folks on the grounds here in Las Vegas. We didn't get a chance to ask the ESPN sports analyst what his ICSC goals were, but we know that his company, Keyshawn Capital Development, focuses on CRE and development projects, including inner-city revitalization efforts.

Dallas-based Ryan LLC helps reduce tax liability for real estate owners and likes to say it's one of the few companies that clients want to get bills from, since they usually charge just based on success. We also like their motto: "Innovative Solutions to Taxing Problems."

This Orlando-based company builds pay-to-participate attractions like roller coasters, wind tunnels, and Ferris wheels. It's done 300, which cost anywhere from $1M to way more, like that "poler coaster" behind them that's being constructed 325 feet above Myrtle Beach. Tell them we sent you, and they said we get a big referral fee. Thank you in advance.

We should write a book called "The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Shoppers." Email susan@bisnow.com

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