Boston Project Wins Concessions

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Boston's Channel Center is helping to transform the historic Fort Point warehouse district with 14 renovations and four infill sites on 7.1 acres.

September 01, 2004

 

This 125-foot tall infill design is almost twice as tall as adjacent brick warehouse rehabs, but uses glass to reduce visual impact. Rendering: Bruner/Cott.

Boston's Channel Center is helping to transform the historic Fort Point warehouse district with 14 renovations and four infill sites on 7.1 acres. Beacon Capital Partners' Boston office is developing the $400-million mixed-use plan.

After a year of meetings and community outreach, Beacon won some variances but complied with the Boston Redevelopment Authority's infill height reductions. An office tower was chopped from 300 feet to 150; residential towers, from 150 feet to 125.

"It was worthwhile to stick with the project and settle on some middle ground," says Bob Palumbo, vice president of development for Beacon and Channel Center's project director. The first phase is the hardest, encompassing the bulk of entitlement, 70 percent of the project's total infrastructure and 25 percent of all costs, according to the developer.

Lawrence Cheng, an associate with architect/planner Bruner/Cott of Cambridge, expects to recoup yield because "when you push square footage down in one place, it will pop back up somewhere else." But Palumbo adds, "We can't go any higher, so we would have to pop out sideways" with revised floor/area ratios, lot-lines and interior configurations for future spaces, which are on hold until commercial real estate rebounds.

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