Thursday, December 20, 2007

Research Labs in Fan Pier

There's an article in the Herald about Fallon talking with biotech firms about building labs in Fan Pier. Becky Dwyer from the Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) is quoted as being upset that it will create an "office wasteland", but I don't understand the concern over this particular item. We need to continue to make sure Fort Point is a mixed-use neighborhood in the future with a significant amount of the new development going to retail and residential, but, at least according to the article, the BRA and Fallon aren't talking about increasing the allocation of office space in the development. They're simply deciding to allocate some of the office space for biotech companies. Of all of the ways office space could be used, I think someone like Vertex is much better than most of the other alternatives (like the FBI, for example). Vertex's lab space on Kendall St. in Cambridge is in an interesting building that's recognized by the American Institute of Architects. And it has a restaurant space, open to the public, on the ground floor and a large public space in front where there's music shows in the summer and skating in the winter. That's about as good as you get for office space. If they built something similar in Fan Pier, I think that would be great.

Vertex eyes Fan Pier
By Jay Fitzgerald | Thursday, December 20, 2007

Developer Joseph Fallon is in talks with Vertex Pharmaceuticals and other biotech firms about building research labs within the new $1 billion Fan Pier complex - a move that’s raising concerns among some activists about the future makeup of the South Boston waterfront.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority today is expected to vote on Fallon’s request for some research-lab space to be allowed within the massive Fan Pier project.

Spokesmen for Fallon and city officials would only say that there’s been “some interest” expressed about life-science firms moving into the massive Fan Pier project.

But sources say Vertex, which has more than 1,000 employees, many of them at its headquarters in Cambridge, is one firm in talks with Fallon. The developer broke ground on the first phase of the Fan Pier build-out in September.
Susan Elsbree, a spokeswoman for the BRA, said any labs would be within the 1.5 million square feet of office space already approved for Fan Pier. The development’s other 1.5 million square feet would remain for condos, retail space and a hotel.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Schlow to Open New Restaurant in Seaport

According to the Boston Business Journal, Michael Schlow is opening a restaurant in the Seaport Marriot on Congress St which is set to open later this winter:

Schlow to open new Boston restaurant
Michael Schlow, owner/operator of Radius, Via Matta and Great Bay in Boston, as well as Alta Strada in Wellesley, has signed a consulting agreement with the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel to open a restaurant there. The Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel is slated to open in South Boston's Seaport District this January. The restaurant concept and name are currently under development. A name has not been chosen. The restaurant will be located street-side and feature an exhibition kitchen, a chef's communal table, floor to ceiling wine displays, and an outdoor seating area.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Fort Point in the News

Our neighborhood has been in the news a lot recently. Here's a collection of articles from the Globe discussing Fort Point. Many thanks to Linda for diligently staying on the lookout for them.

Jimmy's site being reborn on waterfront
Jimmy's Harborside Restaurant, a landmark on the South Boston Waterfront for decades, will be replaced by two mostly glass buildings with two large restaurants and a waterside public plaza.
But it appears that Jimmy's, since 1955 a dining destination for business folks, pols, and tourists that was demolished earlier this year, won't return.
Cresset Development, which recently signed a 75-year lease for the site, filed building plans with the state this week for 69,000 square feet of restaurant and office space at the Northern Avenue location and will separately submit plans to the Boston Redevelopment Authority today.

Boston Waterfront in 2017

The Globe created an interactive map of what our neighborhood and the surrounding area will look like ten years from now: Waterfront 2017.


Fort Point Channel vision clouding over
The man who helped reinvent New York's vibrant Soho and Florida's South Beach had a similar bold vision for Boston's Summer Street neighborhood. But that was a year ago.
Since then, Tony Goldman and investment partner Archon Group have sold seven of the 17 properties that were to be the building blocks of a revitalized 24/7, live-work-play district in the Fort Point Channel area.
And now they have put two more buildings on the market - 316 and 322 Summer St., historic warehouse structures whose renovations were to kick off the transformation of Summer and adjacent side streets.
The city approved the prominent brick buildings for conversion into luxury condos, but the residential market has cooled significantly in the last year.
"We found it very difficult to do that project in an economically feasible way," Goldman said in a telephone interview yesterday. "The construction costs being where they are and the market being where it is, it doesn't pencil out."

Post Office to sell 2 sites, consolidate in S. Boston
The United States Postal Service asked for proposals for redevelopment of the 16-acre site at Dorchester Avenue and Summer Street where its processing and distribution center is located. The Postal Service will also sell 23 acres on A Street and use both proceeds to move to another location in the South Boston industrial neighborhood, it said. It has hired the firm CB Richard Ellis/New England to find a developer for the site on Dorchester Avenue. Redevelopment will also allow expansion of railroad tracks at South Station. (Thomas C. Palmer Jr.)

Waterfront growth accelerates as city OKs South Boston complex
Development on the long-stalled South Boston Waterfront got a kick-start yesterday, as Waterside Place, a 1.1-million-square-foot urban shopping plaza, hotel, and residential complex, won unanimous approval from the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
Construction for the vast block of buildings, proposed for the land and air space between the World Trade Center and the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, is scheduled to begin early next year.
It would be the second major mixed-use project to get started on the waterfront, following an office building on Fan Pier set to break ground this fall.
The Big Dig's Interstate 90 extension through the Seaport district is complete, and residential buildings and a new hotel nearby are finished. Fan Pier developer Joseph F. Fallon and two other developers of large-scale projects are rapidly planning to get projects underway nearby, after years of empty promises and inaction on the waterfront.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Build the parks first

There's an interesting story in the Globe about what's happened with the parks on the Charles near the Musuem of science that were promised as part of the Big Dig:

Cost-overruns have soaked up a lot of funding and this has forced the project to be greatly scaled back and it's currently at risk of being much use at all.

It's a good reminder that, no matter how firm a promise is made, when budgets run tight, public spaces are always what gets cut. As the development of our own neighborhood unfolds, it's important that the timelines include doing projects like parks and other public amenities before the buildings go in, or there's a good chance they never happen.

For more information about development projects around Fort Point, see FPNA's development resources on our website.