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Commonwealth Building

Commonwealth Building
With no new offices being built downtown, one of the largest projects to get going this spring will be Commonwealth Ventures$70M overhaul and fit out of much of Verizon?s former HQ on Post Office Square. We're excited, given the slow economy, to see the re-use revitalization of a rare Art Deco gem.
Commonwealth?s David Krauss with its president Dick Galvin
We snapped Commonwealth?s David Krauss with its presidentDick Galvin in their Fort Point office getting ready to re-fashion the interior of 185 Franklin St, now known as 50 Post Office Square. Within a month, Dick says hammers will start swinging to renovate415k SF of the 750k SF tower that Commonwealth and JV partner Bentall Kennedy bought in ?08 for $192M. After the sale, Verizon leased back and upgraded space in what had been an owner-occupied phone company building since it opened in 1947. Boston has few major Art Deco offices because the Great Depression hobbled the local economy into the ?60s. Design work is being done by Elkus Manfredi and leasing by FHO Partners. Dick expects office space to go for the low to mid-$40s/SF gross.
Elisha Long and Charles Weatherbee
Elisha Long and Charles Weatherbee (who both got the grey sweater memo) are on the development team. They're eager to start enhancing 50 Post Office Square?s historic features including 13 to 15-foot ceilings and floorplates up to 50k SF. They'll also install a 110-car garage. Meanwhile in about two months, Dick says the team will start the one-year project torenovate 150k SF of Channel Center, an old Fort Point industrial complex his firm bought in ?07. Dick plans to create space for offices, research, and 39 loft-style apartments to rent for $2.35/SF. Already, Commonwealth has renovated 247k SF of the complex foroffices (85% leased) and ground-floor retail.
Dick Galvin
Dick is bullish on prospects for his project and the entire Seaportsubmarket. He says demand for Channel Center residences will come from the large Gillette facility and growing number of businesses in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, since these blocks sit on or near $15B of new infrastructure installed during the Big Dig, access from elsewhere in the region is good and will enhance leasing prospects. Recently, Dick also sold out the last lingering condo in the Brewery Lofts, a 79-unit project he developed at 251 Heath St in J.P. The renovation of the old brewery was also designed by Elkus Manfredi. Dick says it was a beautiful project that came on line at the ?absolute wrong time.? They started construction in ?06 and auctioned off a block of units last summer at 15% to 20% discounts.