When Goldman Sachs wing Archon Group announced plans to build the tallest tower so far in the Fort Point Channel area of South Boston, some residents raised concerns that the floodgates were open for forever changing—and not for the better—the former low-rise industrial district. Perhaps to assuage those concerns—or perhaps just because the big bank digs arty digs—Archon has hired Portland, Ore.-based development firm Gerding Edlen Cos. to build the 20-story tower on the site of a former warehouse at 319 A Street.
The proposed design channels just about every New Urbanism idea out there, including live-work lofts and in-building community spaces meant to appeal to the Portlandia set. Per Casey Ross in The Globe:
Archon obtained city permits last year to demolish a warehouse on the property and build a tower with apartments and four levels of parking. The project also involves renovation of an adjacent warehouse at 63 Melcher St. that will contain artist live-work spaces, loft-style apartments, and so called innovation units - compact apartments built around common work areas and other shared community spaces.
[Gerding Edlen president Kelly] Saito said Gerding Edlen is planning to make only minor alterations to the Archon plan. It will cut the height of the tower, designed by local architects ADD Inc., by one floor and will build more apartments, bringing the total units to around 200. The Melcher Street project will also remain largely the same, with five affordable artist live-work units, six lofts, and 27 innovation units.
As Ross points out, the 319 A Street project is but a beachhead on the South Boston waterfront: "The district has begun to transform in recent years as developers have turned old Boston Wharf Co. warehouses into new offices, residences, and retail stores. Those include the FP3, a condominium and restaurant complex on Congress Street, and Channel Center, a cluster of warehouses redeveloped into condominiums, offices, and retail stores."
· West Coast Firm Takes On Fort Point [Globe]