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Baker Picks Developer For $1B Transformation Of State-Owned Building In Downtown Boston

A rendering of the redevelopment of the Charles F. Hurley building.

Leggat McCall Properties has been chosen for the $1B redevelopment of the Charles F. Hurley building in downtown Boston, Gov. Charlie Baker's administration announced Wednesday. 

The firm will be working with the state to redevelop the 5.5-acre site at the intersection of Beacon Hill, Government Center and the West End into a mixed-use development. The plans include offices, 200 new housing units and a new lab building, the Boston Business Journal first reported.

The state hopes that the redevelopment will help renew the outdated state asset and transform the site into a mixed-use neighborhood. Leggat McCall is ground-leasing the property from the state, and rather than paying money for the lease, the developer will deliver new office space for Massachusetts employees at no cost.

"This transformative redevelopment partnership will not only revitalize the Hurley building site, but will also improve the surrounding neighborhood, add much-needed housing, and boost the Commonwealth’s world-class life sciences sector,” Baker said in a statement.

The state said it chose Leggat McCall partially due to the firm's diverse leadership and its plans to advance diversity, equity and inclusion at the site. This has been an ongoing initiative at both the state and city level with Mayor Michelle Wu this month introducing a policy to request DEI information from developers that file plans with the Boston Planning & Development Agency.

An aerial rendering of the redevelopment of the Charles F. Hurley building.

The building currently faces $225M in deferred maintenance that would require major energy-efficiency upgrades. The firm plans to preserve large portions of the existing structure and has decided to work with Beyer Blinder Belle, a historic preservation architect firm.

The Baker administration announced the redevelopment plans in 2019 and, working with Newmark, called for offers on the site in September 2021. Four developers filed proposals ahead of a December deadline, but the other three bidders haven't been revealed. 

The Charles F. Hurley building, a 347K SF building, opened its doors in 1971. It is the home of the Department of Unemployment Assistance, MassHire/Department of Career Services and other state offices.

This is not the first big development partnership Leggat McCall has been involved in. In May 2021, the firm announced plans along with Joseph J. Corcoran Co., Declaration Partners Real Estate and the Boston Housing Authority for a $1.4B transformation of the Bunker Hill Public Housing Development in Charlestown

The firm has partnered with DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners on Boynton Yards, a massive life sciences development in Somerville. That partnership also reached an agreement earlier this year to buy a nearby auto shop for $150M, with plans to build more office and lab space.