This Week's Boston Deal Sheet
To get its largest current development project moving again, the nation’s largest public real estate company—Simon Property Group—agreed to provide five additional affordable residences in its $500M Copley Place expansion.
Simon may miss its spring target date to start construction of a new 542-unit residential tower, 75k SF of additional retail space and public space. But it has cleared a major obstacle to the groundbreaking by upping the affordable housing to a total of 76 units available to low and moderate income households. Simon can break ground whenever it wishes, BRA spokesman Nick Martin tells us. It’s striking that a few lower priced apartments could hold up the massive project that Simon started planning in ’07. But the issues presented by the affordable housing are likely to pale compared to the challenges Simon will face during construction.
Simon’s 52-story tower will be built in air rights over the Massachusetts Turnpike. This will be the first “air rights” project to get into the ground since Copley Place was initially built in the early 1980s because the construction is so difficult. It will take an entire year just to build the foundation and support structure. To find solid ground under the Pike, the team will stage equipment on a deck over the highway and from there, work underground. They’ll erect a concrete slurry wall to protect the transportation infrastructure—trains and the Pike—and build a steel support resembling the Eiffel Tower for lateral stability.
By next spring, work is slated to start on Northeastern University’s $26M overhaul of the William E. Carter Playground on Columbus Avenue. The college will share with public and youth sports leagues a combined football and baseball field with artificial turf, a new second turf field that can be enclosed with a bubble during winter. Also new will be dozens of trees, lighting and a playground.
Construction has been completed on Converse’s new HQ on Lovejoy Wharf developed by Related Beal. In a relo from the ‘burbs, the shoe maker just opened its 210k SF space at 160 Washington St, which includes a flagship retail store and a recording studio.
BioMed Realty Trust will transform the former Vertex Pharmaceuticals space in Cambridge into the $50M, 340k SF Sydney Research Campus. The life science landlord plans to create a home for small to midsized companies seeking to be near Kendall Square.
Skanska USA Commercial Development won a green light from the city to build a 215k SF office building with first floor retail on Parcel Q-1 in the BRA-owned Marine Industrial Park. It’s one of only two sites in the industrial district at the Boston waterfront that does not restrict development to either maritime or industrial projects.
CPC Cornerstone Development will build a $35M, 49-unit residential building with commercial uses at 14 West Broadway in Southie, the site of the Cornerstone Pub. Two years of construction is slated to start in Q4.
815 East 5th Street will spend $8M to build two new residential buildings at 815 E Fifth St and 812 E Sixth St in South Boston. Between a nine-unit and 10-unit building will be an open space garden courtyard, a natural bridge.
For nearly $23M, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly plans to develop a 61-apartment building on its Chestnut Hill campus. The existing 700-unit campus will offer the new residents access to the senior-specialized fitness center, uniquely equipped computer center, multi-lingual library, auditorium, recreational space and additional amenities. Also new will be 3,500 SF of retail and commercial space.
WinnDevelopment Managing Partner Larry Curtis (center) cut the ribbon on the company’s $11.7M redevelopment of a 147-year-old factory in Lowell into 26 affordable and 26 market-rate apartments. The development team was The Architectural Team and Dellbrook Construction as GC. It’s Winn’s third adaptive re-use project in the city and used several sources of public financing.
LStar Management based in Raleigh, NC, acquired SouthField, the troubled, massive redevelopment of the South Weymouth Naval Air Station from LNR South Shore for an undisclosed price. The site is planned for 2,855 residences and up to 2M SF of commercial and retail space. Pulte Homes of New England has agreed to break ground later this year on Transit Village, a 200-condominium development.
In a surprisingly public disagreement, the city’s chief planner—Kairos Shen—wants to be fired from the job he’s held since ’02 to collect a lifetime pension that would be much smaller if he agreed to resign, $71k for life compared to $35k, The Boston Globe reports. Kairos helped guide Boston into its largest development boom in memory and his hand can be seen in transformative projects: the creation of the 1,000-acre Innovation District at the waterfront; the Greenway; the relo of the ICA; and redevelopment of Fenway Park.
Our congratulations to John Drew, CEO of The Drew Co, for receiving the BBJ’s Visionary Award last week! John tells Bisnow that the key to attaining visionary stature is "old age." But it’s taken more than longevity for John to become a pioneering developer at the Seaport. Working with the right people and establishing relationships with firms like Fidelity have been critical, he says. In the '80s, Fidelity and The Drew Co developed two office buildings, a hotel and The World Trade Center at a waterfront that then was still mostly parking lots. Two future development hot spots are likely to be East Boston and Dorchester, he tells us. "I don't see the growth stopping at Andrews Square," he says. On the Olympics, which he favors, John counsels patience to deal with the mass transit problems revealed by last winter’s storms. On Deflategate and Tom Brady, he says, fear not Pats fans, Tom Brady’s appeal will result in a two-game suspension, proving that when John is done with real estate, his next move may be to ESPN!