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Exchange South End project nears key approval

Plans call for 1.6 million-square-foot tech hub on site of old Boston Flower Exchange

An aerial view of Exchange South End in Boston. There is a wide street flanked by various buildings. Rendering via the Abbey Group

Plans to redevelop the 5.6-acre site of the former Boston Flower Exchange off Albany Street in the South End are expected to win a key approval on August 16 from the Boston Planning & Development Agency.

Abbey Group, the developer that acquired the parcel in 2016, plans to turn it into a 1.6 million-square-foot complex for life sciences and technology companies. If approved and executed, the development would be one of the largest in living memory in the South End.

Here’s a rundown of what’s planned within what’s being called Exchange South End:

  • Its buildings would total 1,481,350 square feet of commercial, technology, and life science research space.
  • There would be 42,500 square feet of ground-floor retail.
  • And 30,000 square feet of civic and business-incubator space.
  • Much of this would be situated around a 30,000-square-foot, publicly accessible park.
  • The first phase of the Exchange South End would entail construction of what the Abbey Group is calling Buildings A and B.
  • Building A would be six floors and 230,000 square feet. That would include 192,855 square feet of lab space and 20,500 of retail. There would be 352 underground parking spaces.
  • Building B would be 14 floors and 480,700 square feet. That square footage would include 284,030 square feet of lab space, 161,300 of office space, and 22,000 of retail. There would be 505 garage parking spaces.
  • Now to Building C: A 20-story, 502,000-square-foot spire with 195,970 square feet of lab space and 298,360 of office space. There would be 288 underground parking spaces. Also, at a planned 282 feet, Building C would be the tallest of the project’s four buildings and one of the tallest buildings in the South End.
  • Building D would be 15 stories and run to 386,725 square feet, with 167,955 of that for lab space and 180,880 for office space. There would be 288 underground parking spots.
  • With an additional 14 surface spaces, the Exchange South End would contain a total of 1,159 parking spaces.

There are concerns that the additional traffic will overwhelm nearby South End streets; and critics want Abbey to include transit improvements as part of the package. But the BPDA’s nod would likely mean the development is inevitable. Stay tuned.