One of Boston’s biggest real estate projects took another large step forward yesterday.
A new development team unveiled plans to build more than 300 residences as part of the massive Seaport Square project, which is slated to replace the sea of parking lots at the South Boston Waterfront with more than 1,000 homes, office buildings, a hotel, and public parks.
Skanska USA Commercial Development Inc. and Twining Properties said they are teaming up to build a 14-story apartment building at Boston Wharf Road and Seaport Boulevard. The firms bought the parcel in late December for about $18.6 million from MS Boston Seaport LLC, the master builder of Seaport Square.
“We feel this is going to be the next great part of Boston,’’ said Alex Twining, chief executive of New York-based Twining Properties. He added that the apartment building is situated across from a planned public park and will have unobstructed views of Boston Harbor.
The developers have signed up New York architects Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates to design the building, which will have space for several retail stores on the ground level. Construction is expected to begin early next year.
The project is part of a flurry of apartment proposals in the Seaport area, where developers are seeking to build more than 1,500 rental units during the next several years.
MS Boston Seaport - a partnership that includes developer Boston Global Investors and Morgan Stanley and WS Development - is teaming up with AvalonBay Communities Inc. to build a pair of apartment towers on a separate site within Seaport Square. That project, across from the John Joseph Moakley US Courthouse, will include about 750 apartments, as well as four stories of retail stores.
In addition, developers Hanover Co. and New England Development are planning a 21-story residential and retail tower at Pier 4; Developers John Drew and HYM Investment Group are seeking to build a 19-story apartment building on Congress Street; and The Fallon Co. is developing plans for a 150-unit condominium building overlooking the water at Fan Pier.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino has encouraged residential building in the Seaport as part of a broader plan to make the waterfront a magnet for young workers and innovative companies from a range of industries. His administration has branded the area Boston’s Innovation District, and the moniker seems to be catching on: More than 100 businesses have moved to the area over the past two years.
“We will continue this positive momentum by developing more housing and the amenities that make a vibrant, 18-hour neighborhood,’’ Menino said.
In addition to the announcement yesterday by Skanska and Twining, developer Young Park of Berkeley Investments Inc. disclosed he is partnering with restaurateur Jason Owens to open a food market on the ground floor of an office building at 12 Farnsworth St. He said the market will help fill a void in the neighborhood, selling fresh produce, beer and wine, and other products.
Owens, one of the partners of the gourmet grocery American Provisions on East Broadway in South Boston, could not be reached for comment yesterday. He previously opened the eatery Local 149 in South Boston and Newton’s Biltmore Bar & Grill.
Executives with Skanska and Twining said their building, to be called Watermark Seaport, will have a generous amount of glass to allow views of the harbor, but will also be designed to complement the adjacent red brick warehouses of the Fort Point neighborhood.
Shawn Hurley, a vice president and regional manager for Skanska in Boston, said the developers do not have specific retail stores or restaurants in mind for the building, but will be looking to generate more street activity where it feels barren and windswept.
“There will certainly be multiple retailers’’ in the building, Hurley said. “We’re looking for a good mix of retail that would include restaurants and other uses that will help engage with the street.’’
The project will be Skanska’s second development in the Boston area. The firm, a division of the development and contracting giant Skanska USA, is building a 120,000-square-foot laboratory complex outside Kendall Square in Cambridge.
Twining has been working on the larger Seaport Square project since 2007, advising Morgan Stanley on its 2.85 million square feet of planned residential space.
The firm has also been involved in Kendall Square, where it is building the 321-unit Watermark Cambridge project and a residential building next door.