Now under official review by the Boston Planning & Development Agency, the Exchange South End development proposes a nearly 1.6 million square-foot commercial renovation along the neighborhood's bustling Albany Street.
The new urban campus seeks to leverage the rich fabric of the historic neighborhood and create a destination where business and the community thrive together. Developers Abbey Group hope to create a platform for innovative companies, local retail and a stronger community.
Following a recent presentation with Boston's Impact Advisory Group, new renderings have surfaced that exhibit the monumental development in its entirety.
Refining the SoWa Neighborhood
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In their initial proposal with the Boston Planning & Development Agency, developers Abbey Group outlined their objectives in redeveloping the 5.6-acre parcel at 540 Albany Street.
First, they seek to improve this underutilized site and expand the vibrancy of the South End neighborhood across Albany Street. The current parcel consists of a warehouse facility formerly home to the Boston Flower Exchange and an accessory parking lot.
Second, they intend to create a new commercial sector for the city that will attract new businesses and generate 4,000-7,000 new jobs across a broad spectrum of income levels for the city's residents. The project will be an investment of nearly $1 billion and has the potential to generate millions of new real estate tax dollars for the city.
Third, its unique sense of space will help engage the local community. The South End is well-known for its culture and arts community. The project will include 1+ acres of new publicly accessible open space that will create opportunities for both passive and active recreation. Additional opportunities for community engagement will be provided through active ground floor retail uses that connect to the park, and the development of 30,000 square-feet of flexible civic space.
The 1+ acre public open space, dubbed Albany Green, will be constructed on site.
Fourth, the project will build upon the goals of the Harrison/Albany Corridor Strategic Plan through creating commercial and research jobs, producing a sustainable approach to development, and implementing pedestrian-friendly streetscape improvements. This plan seeks to guide growth in the South End corridor through collective vision, balance market interests versus neighborhood concerns, control land use, update current zoning, regulate build out to transportation capacity, create new connections and enhance public transportation.
Last, the project is expected to improve on the site's multimodal transportation features; connecting it to the I-93 corridor, the South Bay Harbor Trail, and nearby transit stops.
Introducing Exchange South End
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The Abbey Group proposes construction of four new buildings featuring over 1.4 million square-feet of commercial, technology and life science research space along with 42,500 square-feet of ground-floor retail space and 30,000 square-feet of civic and incubator space.
Each building will house a below-ground parking garage, providing approximately 1,145 vehicular parking spaces.
Its convenient location places it at the edge of the SoWa district, abutting the I-93 corridor. The site is moments from Boston Medical Center Boston University's Medical Campus, and the range of boutique galleries, shops and restaurants known to the SoWa neighborhood.
Following its approval, the proposed project is expected to commence construction in two phases. Phase I, which would start in Fall 2018 and last approximately 24 months, calls for the construction of Buildings A and B as well as the Albany Green park and subsequent roads.
Building A will be comprised of six floors with laboratory and retail space. Building B will be comprised of 14 floors and house 284,000 square-feet of laboratory space, 161,300 square-feet of office space, and 22,000 square-feet of retail space.
Buildings C and D of Phase II, housing additional laboratory, office and retail space, would be built following construction of Phase I provided the demand is met.