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Old 04-16-2008, 08:53 AM   #1
statler
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Cancelled Fort Point - Post Office Complex

After a quick search, I can't find a separate thread for this (all previous stories were in the Fort Point thread.)
I figure it deserves its own thread.

Boston Herald - April 16, 2008
Quote:
S. Station postal complex sale nears
By Scott Van Voorhis | Wednesday, April 16, 2008 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Business & Markets
Photo
Photo by Patrick Whittemore

The U.S. Postal Service is very close to a deal to sell the giant postal complex next to South Station and open up a major new development frontier in downtown Boston.

After getting a half dozen bids for the site last fall, postal executives have narrowed the field down to two. They are preparing to announce the winner in a matter of weeks.

The coveted 16-acre site is centrally located next to South Station along the Fort Point Channel and has several top developers battling for the chance to build the city?s next megadevelopment.

Top contenders include Boston Properties, Texas-based builder Hines, which has plans to build a tower over neighboring South Station, and longtime Boston developer Robert Beal. But a postal service spokeswoman and a local real estate executive working on the deal both declined to comment on which developers had made the final cut.

The winner will get a chance to build what would be Boston?s next big project. The site is large enough for millions of square feet of new development and even a 40-story tower.

One of the nation?s largest office tower owners and builders, Boston Properties, is seen as a very strong contender.

Given its plans to build a tower over South Station, Hines is also seen as having a vested interest in the postal service complex.

Postal service officials are looking to sell the giant South Station mail sorting plant as part of a relocation plan that includes building a new facility in an industrial section of South Boston.
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/business...icleid=1087437
A few interesting points:

a. No Shirley Kressal or Vivian Li quotes.
b. Scott mentions a possible "40 story tower" but fails to use the word 'soaring'
c. Hines is based out of Texas? Have some hometown pride son.
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:03 AM   #2
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

Nice! Can't wait to see renderings!
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:11 AM   #3
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

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Originally Posted by statler View Post
After a quick search, I can't find a separate thread for this (all previous stories were in the Fort Point thread.)
I figure it deserves its own thread.

Boston Herald - April 16, 2008


A few interesting points:

c. Hines is based out of Texas? Have some hometown pride son.

Hines' HQ is in Houston.
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:16 AM   #4
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

Hynes (developer of SBW) does not = Hines (developers of SST.)

statler does = dumbass.
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:30 AM   #5
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

How does this affect the propsed use of the postal land for additional South Station tracks? (I believe the propsed New Bedford line will require them)
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Old 04-16-2008, 11:40 AM   #6
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

When the Post Office moves and the current building is torn down then the track can be added. I think this is already 'cast in stone'.

Don't look for this project soon. They still have to acquire a site in south boston for a new po.
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:12 PM   #7
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

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Hynes (developer of SBW) does not = Hines (developers of SST.)
True. And don't have too much hometown pride in this one: Hines (of TX) is a great developer ready to put money and care into their designs (they're behind the country's most exciting -- and NIMBY-endangered -- project in Jean Nouvel's Tower Verre for New York). Boston Properties, of Mort "Cheap Bastard" Zuckerman fame, does all it can to build as cheaply and crappily as possible.

I'm rooting for the Astros in this one.
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:07 AM   #8
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Developer Picked!

Unfortunately, Hines lost out. Perhaps "Tommy 72%" "Mumbles" Menino grew wary of them having too much power in the waterfront area.

The winner, Jones Lang LaSalle, has CBT Architects, of Boston, as part of its team. They seem to be part of almost every project in town, from Fan Pier to the MFA addition to post-Renzo TransNational, with a very mixed and not too often inspiring record. I don't know if they're the primary architect on most of those projects or in an advisory role. See: http://www.cbtarchitects.com.

Not the best sign of things to come at the Post Office site -- but I guess hiring the local guys is part of winning a bid in the Boss Tweed system in place...

---------------------------------

Developer picked for 16 acres at Fort Point
Postal Service moves plan to redevelop annex site forward
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size ? + By Thomas C. Palmer Jr.
Globe Staff / April 25, 2008

The Postal Service has named the big real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle to develop the annex site it will vacate, 16 acres on Fort Point Channel in a rapidly developing section of downtown near South Station.
more stories like this

Jones Lang LaSalle beat out a team made up of the Beal Cos. of Boston and the Related Cos. of New York, as well as three other companies in earlier bidding, for the right to turn the property into a bustling mixed-use urban development.

Last year, the Postal Service said it would sell the site and move farther down Summer Street, next to the Reserved Channel on the South Boston Waterfront.

The selection of a developer begins a long process. Permitting for the annex's redevelopment and construction of a new Postal Service facility could take five years or more, officials said.

"Our piece of property seems to hold the key to the renovation of the whole waterfront," said Bob Cannon, public affairs manager for the Postal Service in Boston. "That simply can't happen while we stay here."

Jones Lang LaSalle executives said they will meet with abutters, neighbors, and city officials before deciding what to propose to build there.

The site is currently zoned to accommodate about 6.2 million square feet - or roughly the same amount tentatively planned for the 23-acre Seaport Square project on the South Boston Waterfront.

The Postal Service site is subject to the stringent limitations and requirements of the state's Chapter 91 law, which governs waterfront property, as well the city's exhaustive permitting process. In the end, the development could be smaller than current zoning al lows, in part because of the extensive amount of open space that could be required.

"Our plan will focus on the public realm and public access," said Daniel J. St. Clair, managing director at Jones Lang LaSalle.

The developers will have to coordinate their project with the planned expansion of rail lines at South Station, which could include as many as six new tracks to accommodate increased commuter-rail traffic from the south and Amtrak trains.

The Postal Service will now begin negotiating a purchase-and-sale agreement with Jones Lang LaSalle. It could be completed this year, and under the current plan the sale of the site would not be completed until all city and state permits are in place, and a project of a specific size is proposed.

The price of the property would be determined by how much the developer is permitted to build.

Vivien Li, executive director of the Boston Harbor Association, noted the area has several other major developments in planning, including an office tower behind South Station, plus great access to transportation, all of which will result in an exciting new neighborhood.

But, she cautioned, it will take time.

"It's a very complicated site," she said. "It will just help to bring even more people down to the waterfront, but the planning itself is going to take many, many months."

Jones Lang LaSalle has experience in that. The firm, or Boston-based Spaulding & Slye, which it bought in 2005, previously managed the complex permitting for large development sites, including Fan Pier on the South Boston Waterfront, NorthPoint, a 45-acre mixed-use project in East Cambridge, and the redevelopment of historic Russia Wharf.

"We've master-planned 10 million square feet in 10 years," a happy Kyle B. Warwick, managing director for investment development of Jones Lang LaSalle, said yesterday. "That has been our expertise."

Jones Lang LaSalle is the managing partner in a joint venture on the Postal Service site with Walton Street Capital, a real estate investment firm it has had business relationships with before. The development team includes CBT Architects of Boston and urban planner Ken Greenberg of Toronto.

None of the three big sites Jones Lang LaSalle moved forward is finished, but all are under construction. NorthPoint is being sold but is stalled as its current owners, including Jones Lang LaSalle, resolve a lawsuit with their partner.

The Beal-Related team, which is building The Clarendon, a residential project in the Back Bay, expressed disappointment that it wasn't selected "to work with the USPS to develop what we believe will be a new front door to downtown Boston."

Thomas C. Palmer Jr. can be reached at tpalmer@globe.com.
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:19 AM   #9
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

I appreciate the fact that Vivian Li pushes for open access to the waterfront, but do we really need a giant park in this location? Is there a demand for it? Judging from the parks in the surrounding area, I'd answer that question with a resounding, no. Why are we going to build a huge park that will only be used for a half hour at lunchtime, three months a year when the rest of the city is crying out for office and residential space? We've had stagnant growth for... how many years now? Personally, I'd like to see space for an outdoor, waterfront cafe here, but that 's it.
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:24 AM   #10
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

Quote:
Originally Posted by underground View Post
I appreciate the fact that Vivian Li pushes for open access to the waterfront, but do we really need a giant park in this location? Is there a demand for it? Judging from the parks in the surrounding area, I'd answer that question with a resounding, no. Why are we going to build a huge park that will only be used for a half hour at lunchtime, three months a year when the rest of the city is crying out for office and residential space? We've had stagnant growth for... how many years now? Personally, I'd like to see space for an outdoor, waterfront cafe here, but that 's it.
Most park space is not what's needed and I agree with you. The Rose Kennedy greenway is a short distance away and there are a good amount of smaller parks that have been created post big dig to suffice the demand. Who knows, maybe creating some more class a office space may attract some companies to the downtown area. Or you could go the route of the mayor and think that have corporate headquarters located in Boston is overrated. Idiot. Yes losing Gillette and John Hancock has been a blessing for the city of Boston.
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:29 AM   #11
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

There should certainly be open access to the waterfront, but it should look more like Rowes Wharf rather than Columbus Park.

Hopefully it will be a better version of Rowes with more retail on the waterfront side (Rowes only major failing).
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:33 AM   #12
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

Quote:
Originally Posted by underground View Post
I appreciate the fact that Vivian Li pushes for open access to the waterfront, but do we really need a giant park in this location? Is there a demand for it? Judging from the parks in the surrounding area, I'd answer that question with a resounding, no. Why are we going to build a huge park that will only be used for a half hour at lunchtime, three months a year when the rest of the city is crying out for office and residential space? We've had stagnant growth for... how many years now? Personally, I'd like to see space for an outdoor, waterfront cafe here, but that 's it.
What park are you talking about?
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:09 PM   #13
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

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What park are you talking about?
The article discusses how not much might get built here because there might be some sort of legal requirement for a big park.
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:22 PM   #14
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

Ken Greenberg's resume
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:54 PM   #15
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

Why would it need a big park? I don't get it. There are a ton of parks close by, not to mention the fact that there are parks being build as part of the seaport square development. And the harbor walk. Just having a pedestrian promenade along the waterfront with some eateries and outdoor dining would be infinitely better than a large, empty park. The Chicago River works pretty well without a park:





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Old 04-25-2008, 02:06 PM   #16
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

Quote:
The Postal Service site is subject to the stringent limitations and requirements of the state's Chapter 91 law
Chapter 91 FAQ
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:11 PM   #17
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

I always say the Fort Point Channel as Boston's Chicago River. All you really need is a promenade lining it with trees and benches. "Open space" is such a general term, I hate how it gets thrown around and never defined.
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:24 PM   #18
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

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I always say the Fort Point Channel is Boston's Chicago River.
Safer to say "could be," van. Given Chapter 91, and the well-meaning (but grossly misguided efforts of Ms. Li) I'm putting my chips on "won't ever be."

The Greenway is more like the Chicago River, replacing the river with vehicular traffic and ill-conceived parkland.

Go Sox!
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Old 04-25-2008, 03:17 PM   #19
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

I'm going out on limb here, because I don't know much about Chapter 91 review or of Vivian Li's authority in regard to these proposed waterfront projects, but from a layperson's view, it seems too much park/open space is required in newly constructed buildings on the waterfront. The open spaces amenities constructed under the current review process such as the Intercontinental, Federal Courthouse and particularly World Trade Center East's Corporate front yard, aka Eastport Park (located across a busy street from another park) seem to be overkill and do very little to enliven the public's use of the waterfront. Given the results so far, it seems unlikely Boston's waterfront will evolve into a successful urban waterfront.

It may end up being pleasant looking in a abstract sculpture garden kind of way, but I fear it will never live to its potential, which is a shame, given Boston unique shoreline and interesting wharves.
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Old 04-25-2008, 04:47 PM   #20
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Re: Fort Point - Post Office Complex

Vivien Li is gonna drink this milkshake. THERE WILL BE PARK.
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