The developer of the massive Seaport Square project is seeking BPDA approval to shift an as-yet unbuilt building on Congress Street from residential to office and R&D space and to replace many of the large luxury units it had originally planned on other parcels with "smaller, lower-priced units."
Seaport Square Development says the proposed changes will not change the overall footprint of the 23.5-acre development, but reflect shifts in who's moving into Boston in general and the sort of housing needed by people who will both live and work along the South Boston waterfront.
Most immediately, the developer wants to change the use of a building on Congress Street at West Service Road that was originally approved as a residential building:
Given the opportunity to further contribute to the robust economic development underway in the district and also provide an opportunity for innovation and life sciences companies that already call the Seaport home room to grow in close proximity to their other facilities, the Proponent expects to secure commitments from one or more major office and/or research and development tenants for Block N. The current preliminary design of the Block N building includes approximately 38,000 square feet of Retail/Entertainment/Restaurant/Service Uses and approximately 384,000 square feet of office and/or research and development uses.
The developer adds that, overall, it remains on track to build a total of 3,200 residential units in the development - with about 2,000 already built.
residential units originally contemplated for Block N will be constructed on other Blocks, and the number of units project-wide will be maintained at approximately 3,200, in part by shifting the mix of unit types to include more smaller, lower-priced units and fewer large luxury units. This shift also reflects the need for a greater density of more affordable homes city-wide, and will better serve the employment base in the Seaport District.
Seaport Square adds that the shift of the building's upper floors to office and R&D space will mean an extra $3.6 million in housing and job-training linkage funds to the city over what the development was already expected to provide.
In addition to the changes in the Congress Street building, the developer says it will slightly shrink the total amount of space devoted to retail, entertainment and restaurant use from 1.12 million to 1 million square feet - with the changed space moved to residential and office uses.
The "notice of project change" also discusses the design of the Congress Street building:
The design of the proposed Block N building is intended to be highly contextual and very respectful of its location adjacent to (though outside of) the Fort Point Channel Landmark District. To this end, the building is proposed with a richly textured brick masonry façade and brick arch-top windows that present a contemporary interpretation of the area's industrial heritage and tradition of craftsmanship in the application of brick masonry. The proposed Block N building would also create a modestly-scaled (4- to 5- story) streetwall along both Summer and Congress Streets, to help create a continuous and human-scaled pedestrian experience along both of these important pedestrian routes.
It is the Proponent's hope that the proposed Block N building design helps to create a seamless pedestrian and visual transition between the historic Fort Point Channel Landmark District and the Seaport Square Project along both Summer and Congress Streets. The building has been designed to bring the scale, texture, and authenticity of materials east from Fort Point and towards the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, so that conventiongoers and other visitors will be better connected to the Fort Point Channel neighborhood's rich history and cultural context.
Seaport Square notice of project change (20M PDF).