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Design firm CBT to depart downtown for Charlestown

The company and its 200 employees will set up shop at Constitution Wharf.

CBT plans to move early next year to One Constitution Wharf.CBT

The design firm CBT said Wednesday that it will move its headquarters from downtown Boston to Charlestown, where it will bring 200 employees to the Constitution Wharf development.

CBT, which has been at 110 Canal St. for two decades, will occupy 40,000 square feet of space, along with 10,000 square feet outdoors, at One Constitution Wharf.

The company plans to move early next year.

“Being on the harbor and experiencing sea level rise firsthand will positively elevate the work we’ve been immersed in for years,” Alfred Wojciechowski, senior principal at CBT, said in a statement. “Our new headquarters will dedicate substantial space to supporting our efforts to advance exploration and collaboration in our industry.”


CBT, in business for 54 years, is involved in some of the region’s largest development projects, including the massive Suffolk Downs redevelopment and the Bulfinch Crossing project around the site of the Government Center Garage.

The company’s departure from downtown comes as firms across the city and around the nation revisit how they use office space amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developers and landlords throughout Greater Boston have been shifting from conventional offices to lab and research and development space, which is more likely to attract people who want to come to work in person, but also tends to support fewer employees than comparable office layouts.

This week, the owners of 745 Atlantic Ave., a mostly-vacant building near South Station that once hosted WeWork’s largest US office, said it intends to renovate the building to accommodate research and development tenants.

CBT’s move also comes as 110 Canal St. is changing hands. Quaker Lane Capital announced this week that it was acquiring the 63,000-square-foot building for $24 million. It was previously owned by Joe Slesar of BeerWorks, which occupied the ground-level space in the building before it announced last month that it would close its five locations for good, citing the economic fallout of the pandemic. CBT currently occupies more than 36,000 square feet in the downtown building.


Unlike some other landlords in Boston trying to fill space, Quaker Lane says it isn’t looking to shift from conventional offices — at least not right away.

“We actually think that the building is ... a very attractive option for a multi-tenant or a single tenant because it offers building identity in a phenomenal location,” said Quaker Lane managing principal Carlos Febres-Mazzei.

CBT said its new headquarters will include “an expanded maker space, photo and video studio, and areas for industry collaboration and innovation.”

“We will be advancing our creative practice and how we design; it’s a very different day than it was before,” CBT president David Nagahiro said in a statement. “The pandemic ended up being a catalyst for the way that our firm works, and this move is a way for us to rethink everything.”

CBT has been at 110 Canal St. for two decades.Quaker Lane

Andy Rosen can be reached at andrew.rosen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @andyrosen.