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.

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