Look Out Fin/Tech Cities—Boston Wants to Dominate
Cambridge has its life science cluster, and now Trans National CEO Steve Belkin and EVP (development) Justin Krebs want to help Boston become a global financial/tech innovation cluster. (If breakfast cereal has taught us anything, it's that people love clusters. Also, never trust a rabbit.)
They’re proposing to build a $900M tower downtown that would include an elaborate two-story 22,500 SF Entrepreneurial Innovation Center that’s free to the public. They hope that the space where financial services pros, tech talent and university folk join forces will help elevate Boston’s brand as a global hotbed of financial innovation. Steve, an entrepreneur who’s launched 30 companies of his own, is also answering Mayor Walsh’s call to help make Boston the world's innovation leader by 2030.
The downtown hub would offer collaboration areas, fully wired conference rooms, and food and beverage. Its programming and executive education series will keep it busy into the evening and help build a downtown that’s active 18 hours/day. The tower complex, designed by CBT, is a proposed 1.5M SF mixed-use project for the Winthrop Square Garage site and includes: 700k SF of office, 150 condos, 260 apartments (or a hotel) and ground-floor retail. It would link up to an existing office high-rise owned by Trans National at 133 Federal St.
The innovation center, which would cost about $15M, would provide space to meet and offer the startups created there incubator offices with short lease terms at reduced rental rates in 133 Federal, says Justin (whom we snapped yesterday at the site), who's leading the charge on this development project.
The tower also could attract big tech tenants willing to pay premium rents to co-locate in a busy innovation hub. The idea: introduce a new innovation catalyst for Boston while enhancing returns to project investors. If the city selects them by year-end, Trans National would be able to start construction in ’17 for occupancy in ’20. By linking the new construction to 133 Federal St, the complex would activate dead space on the street with the EIC, retail and restaurants.
The EIC could grow into an anchor for a downtown Boston innovation community, something that doesn’t exist yet, says Bill Guenther, chairman of MassInsight, a consulting and research firm focused on the regional economy. The financial services industry, which directly employs 165,000 people and supports 170,000 jobs in related fields like law and accounting, could benefit from establishing a tech-oriented community with global reach.