Sunday, November 25, 2007

Meeting on the Planned Gillette Renovations

There's a meeting tomorrow at Midway Studios to discuss Gillette's plans for renovating their plant to accommodate more office workers. The renovations are in the section of their facility towards West 2nd street and, among other things, they plan to move their loading dock onto A St.

Informational Session
Monday, November 26th, 2007
6:30 PM
At the Midway Mezzanine
15 Channel Center St.

Please come out and make your voice heard.

For more information, please contact:
Casey Flynn, Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Article on Barbara Lynch's Congress St. Restaurant Complex

There's an article about Barbara Lynch's new restaurant complex on Congress St. in the Globe.

It's all in the preparation
Barbara Lynch's new restaurant complex in the Fort Point area will put top-of-the-line equipment to use in concepts the chef has fine-tuned for years
By Thomas C. Palmer Jr., Globe Staff | November 19, 2007

Chef Barbara Lynch's new restaurants, under construction in a luxury condo project on Congress Street in the emerging Fort Point neighborhood, don't have names yet and won't be taking reservations before next spring.

But the 15,000-square-foot complex will be a place to eat like foodies in this city have never seen before.

The $7.5 million project will include a fine-dining restaurant, a casual restaurant, a bar, private dining rooms, and a retail chocolate shop and bakery, all of which will be supported by dozens of cooks working round-the-clock in spacious cutting-edge kitchens....

The Fort Point area is only starting to take shape as an urban location for living, working, and nightlife, and opening luxury living and dining locales there presents "a risk for both parties," said Edward F. McCabe, president of Cafco, a Boston construction management firm that specializes in restaurants - including Sel de la Terre in Boston and Natick and Sonsie on Newbury Street.

The staff will use a large "prep" kitchen on the ground floor, a half-floor below street level, and four separate "finishing" kitchens. Fine dining for 70 and two private dining rooms that together can seat 45 will be on the upper floor, along with the casual restaurant, which will have counter-style seating.

A small retail shop selling Lynch's made-on-premises chocolates and baked goods will be near the entrance. A 40-seat bar with its own kitchen will be on the lower level.

The lower level is the heart of the "back of house," where groceries are received and vegetables are inventoried and washed. Lamb, beef, and chicken are weighed, butchered, and refrigerated.

... (Read full article)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Landmark District Meeting Tonight

A reminder that the Fort Point Landmark Study Committee is meeting this evening:

Monday, Nov 19, 2007
Boston Exhibition and Convention Center
Room: 201/202

and again in December:

Wednesday, Dec 12, 2007
Boston Exhibition and Convention Center
Room: 201/202

The Committee is working on designating a section of our neighborhood as a Landmark District to recognize and protect a section of our historic neighborhood which contains an unusually coherent and well-preserved collection of 19th and early 20th century buildings. The neighborhood reps on the committee are Valerie Burns, Steve Hollinger, Pratap Talwar and Michele Yeles. For more information, check out their website:

A presentation from their status update meeting is available here:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

FPNA in the Boston Biz Journal

Our own Cam Sawzin was quoted in a recently Boston Business Journal article about the development of the neigborhood (many thanks to Linda for typing this in):

Fort Point Channel residents await their neighborhood
This is Real Estate Roundup by Michelle Hillman

"Residents of the Fort Point Channel are worried that their lively cultural district will turn into a boring, 9-5 environment full of office buildings and little else. The fears are becoming a reality as more property owners consider building office space rather than residential units.

The highly visible Gillette manufacturing facility has been part of the Fort Point scenery for years. But now, it's getting company. The U.S. Postal Service has announced plans to move its facility deeper into Fort Point, to a 25-acre parcel near the Greater Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The Postal Services' move from its current Summer Street location will free up 16 acres of prime channel real estate for development.

The FBI is weighing a move to a D Street facility owned by Intercontinental Real Estate Corp. If the FBI decides to move its headquarters to the D Street building, Intercontinental's plans for 585 residential units on the site will go out the window.

Another large and previously approved project, called Channel Center, was acquired earlier this year by Commonwealth Ventures LLC. At the time the Connecticut development firm stated in a published report it would redevelop a portion of the 16-building portfolio into 280,000 SF of office space. Nearby on Summer, Melcher and A streets, the Archon Group LP has made little progress in developing the portfolio of wharf buildings it purchased in 2005 into residential. In fact, the developer has said it is waiting for the market to cooperate before moving ahead with the plan to build 87 units at 316-322 Summer St.

To some residents' dismay, the rejuvenation of the old industrial and warehouse neighborhood hasn't taken hold. Developers instead are allowing market forces to dictate what gets built.

"We just want to make sure, now that the residential market has softened, that we don't find ourselves surrounded by office buildings, "said Cameron Sawzin, a resident and member of the Fort Point Neighborhood Association.

Sawzin said she's by no means anti-development. In fact, she views many of the changes that have occurred -- the addition of restaurants and retail -- as exciting. But she is concerned that the promise to create a 24-7 environment with a mix of uses could be in danger.

"We just want to make sure that the mix that was promised to us is kept the same," said Sawzin.

Sawzin and the Fort Point Neighborhood Association want to protect the historical character of the neighborhood and keep it an artists community, not a place with "50 Cheesecake Factories and The Gap": She's not alone.

"There is a real pressure from market forces to dictate what the outcome is in the Fort Point area", said Steve Hollinger, co-founder of another neighborhood group, the Seaport Alliance for Neighborhood Design.

Hollinger said he fears the Fort Point Channel may never become a dense urban environment as planned. He said the Fort Point Channel has always been seen as a back-office location for Financial District tenants but he said he doesn't believe the market should dictate what gets built, because "what happens in Fort Point ripples and has an effect on the Seaport District. The goal is to have a really lively Seaport, a really lively waterfront. I won't say I'm disappointed, but we definitely could be doing a lot better.""