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Old 06-16-2006, 04:44 AM   #1
KentXie
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Complete Waterside Place 1A | 505 Congress Street | Seaport

Karp, Related may buy part of site owned by News Corp.

By Chris Reidy, Globe Staff | June 16, 2006


Developer Stephen R. Karp said yesterday that he has been approached by News Corp. about a deal to buy some of the nearly 24 acres of South Boston Waterfront land that it recently purchased from Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank H. McCourt Jr.

With Related Urban Development of New York as a partner, Karp said he'd be interested in considering a deal for land he believes is well-suited for development that would include a large retail component to draw more people and shoppers to the area.

``We've agreed to explore this together," added Kenneth A. Himmel , chief executive of Related Urban Development .

Last week, consultants for News Corp. said Rupert Murdoch's media company is willing to sell half or more of the prized location as a way to attract a development partner.

Other developers also have expressed interest in the land, said Rob Griffin , president of Cushman & Wakefield of Massachusetts Inc. , which has been hired by News Corp. to be its broker. Griffin declined to identify the other developers.

Today the South Boston land is mostly parking lots, but Karp, chairman of New England Development , said the site may be ideal for a project that includes lots of retail space. In his view, a shopping area with a department store anchor like Nordstrom would draw a lot more people to the area and could help jump-start the long-stalled vision for enlivening that part of the city.

The new Boston Convention & Exhibition Center has brought many visitors to the area and a handful of buildings have gone up recently, but stores and restaurants also are needed.

``Retail is the catalyst," said Karp, who has developed many shopping malls, including CambridgeSide Galleria.

The biggest complaint he hears from people about the South Boston Waterfront, Karp said, is: ``There's no place to shop. There's no place to eat."

Karp, who spoke to reporters after addressing a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast, said the News Corp. site could support 5 million square feet of mixed-use development that might include office space and a hotel; about 1 million square feet of that total could be retail.

By way of comparison, the Prudential Tower has just under 1.2 million square feet of rentable space.

Meanwhile, on a nearby site, another development team is proceeding with plans to build something similar to the scenario Karp described for the News Corp. land.

In 2004, a team including Drew Co. filed plans with the city for Waterside Place, which proposes to occupy about 11 acres over and around Interstate 90 between the convention center and the World Trade Center.

Developers envision a large retail component and said they have talked with Nordstrom, Target, and others as possible anchors.

A spokeswoman for Nordstrom Inc. said the Seattle-based chain has no plans to open a store in the city . Nordstrom has previously disclosed plans to open four stores in the suburbs.

Yesterday John E. Drew, president of Drew Co., said there might be a limit to how much retail space the South Boston Waterfront can absorb. Waterside Place and Waterside Crossing, an adjacent project he's working on, hope to bring more than 800,000 square feet of retail to the area, he said.

If the Waterside projects go according to plan, it could be hard to build 1 million square feet of retail space nearby, Drew said.

``Maybe you could build another 250,000 square feet" on the News Corp. site, he said.

Drew hopes to get city approvals shortly and begin construction on Waterside Place next year.

One impediment for the News Corp. land is that it has not been through the long city and state permitting process.

But its proximity to downtown and the Financial District makes it a strong candidate to be a retail mecca, said Himmel, who like Karp has extensive experience with retail development.

The nearly 24 acres once owned by McCourt will play a major role in the hoped-for transformation of the South Boston Waterfront, Himmel said.

How much News Corp. paid McCourt has never been publicly disclosed, but an executive involved in the transaction has said the price was about $225 million.

Some other South Boston Waterfront properties envisioned for redevelopment, including Karp's Pier 4 project, don't have the right layout to accommodate enough retail to draw large numbers of people from outside the area, Karp said.

The first phase of the Fan Pier project under developer Joseph F. Fallon calls for mostly housing, a hotel, and office space.
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Old 06-16-2006, 04:45 AM   #2
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Karp eyes Southie: Regional mall king seeks Murdoch deal
By Scott Van Voorhis
Friday, June 16, 2006 - Updated: 04:37 AM EST


Several heavy hitters are vying to build out the biggest mega-development ever seen in Boston, with media giant News Corp. shopping its newly acquired holdings on South Boston?s waterfront.

Mall king Steve Karp yesterday threw his hat in the ring to become the lead builder for one of Boston?s most valuable development sites, more than 20 acres overlooking the harbor near Pier 4.

Karp, who made a fortune developing malls around the country and seeks to develop Pier 4 himself joins a who?s who of top local and national builders looking to team up with News Corp. Headed by news baron Rupert Murdoch, the media company recently took over sprawling development site once owned by longtime Boston business executive Frank McCourt.

However, a key competitor may be another longtime Boston real estate powerbroker, Thomas O?Brien, a former City Hall development chief turned deal-making developer.

O?Brien declined to comment.

To evaluate the field of contenders, News Corp. has hired a local law firm and a New York investment bank.

?They are trying to select the developers they want to be involved with,? Karp said.

For his part, Karp is exploring the idea of building a retail complex on the harborside land News Corp. now owns.

The Newton-based developer sees the potential for 5 million square feet of new development - including several hundred thousand square feet of retail.

That retail component could provide the ?catalyst? for further development of South Boston?s waterfront.

As he evaluates a deal with News Corp., Karp has teamed up with Related Cos., which built New York?s Time Warner skyscraper complex.

But Karp could face competition from O?Brien, who just took over as the regional manager for JPI, a national, Dallas-based builder and buyer of apartments and condos.

JPI previously had serious talks about building out a portion of News Corp.?s South Boston site as housing.

Meanwhile, other players are also circling, including Boston developer John Hynes, who built State Street?s new tower headquarters, and Forest Cities, another national developer with a long interest in Boston.

Not known for real estate development, News Corp. acquired its Boston real estate empire through a complex series of transactions stemming from McCourt?s deal more than two years ago to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. McCourt borrowed heavily from News Corp. to buy the team, pledging his Southie land as collateral.
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:42 AM   #3
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Would a mall thrive in that environment? Close to Downtown Crossing, Faneuil Hall, and not too far away from Cambridgeside.

If it just provides a catalyst, that's fine for me, though
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Old 06-17-2006, 08:39 AM   #4
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And if it does thrive, what will it do to Downtown Crossing?
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Old 06-17-2006, 09:45 AM   #5
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I know they are calling it a destination mall, but I think it will be geared mainly to the conventioneers and residents in the area.

DT crossing will be a lot different in 5 to 10 years with more office, hotel and residential. Its reatail will probably be small and more diverse and cater mainly to locals with a good dose of regional customers too.

All of the shopping districts in greater DT can be reached by subway, and in addition to locals they all have customers from all over.
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Old 06-17-2006, 09:45 PM   #6
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Official website

Project website:
http://www.watersideplace.net/index.htm

Not so much information on there right now, but probably a place to watch for future updates...
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Old 03-05-2007, 08:13 PM   #7
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A Notification of Project Change document for Waterside Place has been posted on the BRA website. The revised project adds a 300 room hotel at the corner of D and Summer streets and replaces a cinema with a grocery store. Construction is expected to start in the 4th quarter of this year.

Some graphics from the document.





















Note the use of digital signage.



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Old 03-05-2007, 08:45 PM   #8
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wow. i hate it.
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:06 PM   #9
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For once I entirely agree with you. I like the two towers, but the banners hinting at a Best Buy(Buyer's Place) and Target(Tango) make me want to puke all over some over-priced compaq and the nerd selling it.
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:09 PM   #10
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i'm surprised by the height ... 350+ ft. i didn't think they could build that tall anywhere down there.
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:15 PM   #11
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It would actually be cool as a suburban mall, but completely wrong for its current location.
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:26 PM   #12
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Whoa ...

Oh whoa ... seriously, I just choked on my Vanilla Finger cookie when I saw those renderings.

Next time, give warning!
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:26 PM   #13
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Absolutely horrid. This thing has got to be stopped. Where's a NIMBY when you need one?
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:28 PM   #14
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Much too massive....it would be downright embarassing now to have Boston's city hall located in the middle of this "urban suburbia."
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:32 PM   #15
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Nope ...

Nope, I like it! Monstrous, but cool.

Quote:
It would actually be cool as a suburban mall, but completely wrong for its current location.
There are several hundred thousand square feet of retail to fill - what type of tenants would be suitable?

A Leftorium?
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:13 PM   #16
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Re: Nope ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by IMAngry
Nope, I like it! Monstrous, but cool.

Quote:
It would actually be cool as a suburban mall, but completely wrong for its current location.
There are several hundred thousand square feet of retail to fill - what type of tenants would be suitable?

A Leftorium?
I totally like it. If we are gonna get a mall this is a sick friggin mall. I really don't see what your all complaining about. It's huge and it takes up a lot of space, but I'd rather this one, monstrous, bright, eye catching, and not completely conventional building taking up all this space than 3 or so stubby, paneled, crappy "luxury" condo's or Waltham-caliber office park "towers". Its very well done compared to what I expected, and if we have the convention center right there and the only other option is more of whats on the other side of the parcel (crappy seaport offices), why not? It could be a foot in the door of making this an entertainment district, and with a supermarket it supports the residents that are there and coming. It's a more than adequate space filler and a bigger anchor for the area than the ICA and BCEC for regular traffic.
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:33 PM   #17
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I see more than a hint of the new ICA in this design, what with the wood panelling and stainless steel framing the volumes, which I like and appreciate (hey, at least we're not getting dryvit like with most new malls/lifestyle centers..). But good god this thing has a huge footprint. It looks like most if not all of the eastern elevation will have absolutely nothing to offer to the predestrian, although the other three sides look to be moderately engaging.

But still.. like lexicon said, it's nothing more than "urban suburbia."
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmp1284
For once I entirely agree with you. I like the two towers, but the banners hinting at a Best Buy(Buyer's Place) and Target(Tango) make me want to puke all over some over-priced compaq and the nerd selling it.
There's a Best Buy in Fenway, they just opened one in South Bay, and they're opening one on Newbury Street. I'd be very surprised if they opened one here, considering South Bay is practically within walking distance.
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:01 PM   #19
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With Waterside Place and the two buildings on the other side of WTC Ave., you'll have something like Summer St. where the road is raised but you don't know it.
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:15 PM   #20
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I can't wait to shop at Buyers' Place and get my groceries at Natural Market.

It reminds me of a friend who would make up fake restaurant names when his nosy mother would ask him where he went to eat: Louie's Dinner House, Boylston Cafe, House of Food, Salmon Shack, etc. She would always respond with "Sounds nice, I'll have to check it out sometime".

This is not "urban suburbia"; that abortion of a development, South Bay Mall, is. The indoor suburban malls tend to have a mishmash exterior that look like the result of a bad acid trip. At least this place has an exterior.
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