Seaport District to get new office tower
State Street Corp. is in, sources say
The developer of the massive Channel Center complex in Boston’s Seaport District is proposing construction of an 11-story office building, public parks, and a parking garage, adding to the rapid redevelopment of the waterfront in recent years.
No major office tenant was named in plans released by the city on Friday. But sources with knowledge of the project have said State Street Corp. is negotiating a deal to move into the office building, which would be located at One Channel Center.
A spokeswoman for State Street said in a prepared statement Friday that the company has several leases expiring soon and is “pursuing various options to meet our business and workplace needs.’’
The developer of Channel Center, Commonwealth Ventures, did not respond to messages seeking comment. The company filed plans with the Boston Redevelopment Authority calling for a 525,000-square-foot office building, a nine-story parking garage, and two public parks. The firm said it hopes to begin construction by the end of year.
The complex, located off A Street, already includes more than 200 residential units, restaurants, stores, and offices in a series of former Boston Wharf Co. warehouses. The development of a large new office building would be a major boost for the complex and for the neighborhood, which has been renamed the Innovation District by Boston’s mayor, Thomas M. Menino.
The area has attracted scores of new businesses in the past two years, and continues to generate interest from a broad range of companies that want to relocate there. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. is building a pair of large office buildings nearby at Fan Pier, one of the largest privately funded construction projects in the country.
A new building for State Street would also add considerable momentum to the office construction market in Boston, which all but died out during the recent economic downturn.
In the renderings released Friday, the office building at One Channel Center appears to be one large structure divided into two sections by a vertical glass column. The western section has terra-cotta colored facade, while the eastern portion is covered in dark brown panels. The building also includes a two-story pedestrian passageway connecting to a new 72,000-square-foot park.
State Street currently occupies office space in prominent commercial buildings across Boston and has several leases expiring in 2014. The company has offices at Copley Place, the Prudential Building, and the John Hancock Tower in the Back Bay; it also has offices at Lafayette Corporate Center in the Financial District. Its lease at its namesake headquarters building at One Lincoln Street expires in 2023. If it moves forward with the Channel Center deal, State Street would join Fidelity Investments and Manulife Financial as major financial companies on the waterfront, which also has attracted a range of technology and communications businesses.
Commonwealth Ventures purchased Channel Center in 2007 from Beacon Capital Partners for $21.5 million. Beacon had previously redeveloped about 30 percent of the property, but the firm abandoned the effort when the area’s renaissance proved slower than expected.
In recent years, the Fort Point area around Channel Center has seen steady redevelopment of its turn-of-the-century warehouse buildings, which have been converted into mixed-use properties with residences, boutique retail shops, and restaurants.