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Demolition Underway To Make Room For 1.6M SF Exchange South End

Rendering of Exchange South End

The South End is throwing its hat in the crowded ring of Boston’s life science and tech clusters. 

Demolition work at the Boston Flower Exchange began Thursday to make way for Exchange South End, The Abbey Group’s planned 1.6M SF tech and life science campus. Offices and labs will span four buildings at the complex, expected to deliver in 2022. Exchange South End will also include 22K SF of retail and 30K SF of community space. 

The push for life science in an established neighborhood like the South End is distinct from ongoing Boston development trends in areas like Kendall Square and the Seaport, where significant residential populations came after office and labs. But The Abbey Group team expects Exchange South End’s convenience to the neighborhood’s many restaurants and boutique shopping options to be a selling point. 

“It’s a real neighborhood, not one being created to satisfy the needs of companies coming in,” The Abbey Group Managing Partner Audrey Epstein Reny told Bisnow late last year

The Flower Exchange property is a rare open plot of developable land in a neighborhood known more for its Victorian row houses than its commercial activity. But following the flower market’s move to Chelsea in 2016, The Abbey Group planned to utilize the property’s convenience to Boston Medical Center and the Boston University School of Medicine down the street.

“The [South End] is a really vibrant life science community that has sort of been overshadowed by MIT and Harvard across the way,” Reny said in 2018.