Much was understandably made of the Boston Redevelopment Authority's O.K. last Thursday night of the 47-story addition to Copley Place in Back Bay—Boston's tallest condo tower, Occupy the Mayor's Office and all that jazz. But it was little noted that the BRA also that fateful evening green-lighted the 319 A Street Rear development. That project, in the city's nearly two-year-old Innovation District along the burgeoning South Boston waterfront, is big-time in so many ways. Let's count a few:
· The developer is the Archon Group, an affiliate of executive training program Goldman Sachs.
· At 20 stories over 257,000 square feet, it will be the tallest building in Southie's Fort Point Channel area.
· Archon has brought in Portland, Ore.-based development firm Gerding Edlen Cos. as the builder; they have promised an airy work-live design that will be familiar to viewers of any romantic comedy over the last 20 years.
· The 202-unit project is a linchpin for said Innovation District, itself a linchpin of the Menino administration's economic development plans. Linchpin!
Like with Copley Place opponents, though, some feel 319 A Street represents too much change too fast to an area with a deep history. Fort Point has for eons been a low-rise industrial district, but, if you read the papers, you'll notice industry has faded as a major economic driver in Boston. Thus the move by Menino et al to re-imagine that portion of the waterfront as a sort of live-work hybrid, where hip young professionals sip no-foam mocha cappuccinos as they pound out the biz plan of the next Facebook. It's not a far-fetched dream, particularly in a region teeming with the very sort of people who could populate such a hybrid and given its location a brisk walk from downtown.
In fact, it's not a dream at all. With concrete moves like the BRA's last Thursday, it's game on on the waterfront. Reboot, kids. Reboot.
· Mayor Menino Announces 319 A Street Rear Approved By BRA Board [BRA]
· West Coast Firm Takes On Fort Point [Globe]
· Goldman Sachs' South Boston Tower To Channel Portlandia [Curbed Boston]
· Boston's Tallest Condo Tower O.K.'d Despite 'Occupy' [Curbed Boston]