The Archon Group and Goldman Properties have scaled back the size of their proposed Fort Point residential tower, bowing to pressure from the Boston Redevelopment Authority and neighborhood residents.
In backing off plans to plant a 240-foot tower at 319 A St. Rear in South Boston, Archon and Goldman are also pulling a significant community benefit - the donation of a Summer Street warehouse for artist live/work space.
The BRA told the developers Thursday that its proposed warehouse donation at 327 Summer St. did not constitute enough of an "exceptional" community benefit to warrant a building height 60 feet over the current 180-foot zoning limit. The BRA asked Archon and Goldman to either reduce the size of their proposed tower, or to significantly increase their benefits package.
Archon and Goldman anticipated such a ruling. In a letter the developers' attorney sent to the BRA last week, the developers outlined plans for a project that fits within the 180-foot height envelope. The revised plans will reduce the building's residential component to 184 units, from 232 units.
The tower proposal drew heavy fire in the Fort Point neighborhood - in part because of its height, and in part because of its sponsor. Archon, the real estate development arm of Goldman Sachs, promised to turn Fort Point into a lively mixed-use center when it bought up much of the neighborhood, but hasn't moved ahead with the development work.
The Texas-based firm paid $92 million for 16 Boston Wharf Co. warehouses in mid-2005. It quickly sold off half its Wharf Co. portfolio for $132 million - a tidy $40 million profit on its original investment. When Archon first floated plans for the residential tower, a number of residents told Banker & Tradesman they feared the company would get the site permitted, and then flip it to another developer. Archon denied those charges.
Source: Banker and Tradesman