The South Boston Innovation District has landed its next major office tenant: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP has signed a lease that will trigger construction of a 17-story office building along Seaport Boulevard later this month.
The deal will help the accounting giant, known as PwC, add another 500 employees to its Boston operations, bringing its total head count in the city to 3,000. The firm, currently located in the Financial District, will be one of the largest employers on the waterfront, which has continued to attract businesses that want to be a part of its rapid growth.
"It's the new hot spot in the city," said Barry Nearhos, managing partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston. He said the $265 million building, to be developed by Skanska USA Commercial Development, will allow the company to modernize its office layout, upgrade technology, and add amenities such as a 4,000-square-foot terrace overlooking Boston Harbor.
The building will have retail stores on the ground floor.
Designed by the architecture firm KlingStubbins, the multitiered glass tower will occupy a critical location at the corner of Seaport Boulevard and Boston Wharf Road, filling in some of the vast parking lots that deaden much of the district. It will be the first major office building in the long-planned Seaport Square development, a 20-block cluster of offices, stores, residences, and public parks.
Boston Mayor Thomas M Menino, who has been working to redevelop the waterfront for two decades, said the lease with PricewaterhouseCoopers brings another big name to the area. "They will join the more than 200 companies that have made the South Boston Waterfront home," Menino said.
Other firms that have committed to the district include State Street Corp., the law firm Goodwin Procter LLP, and the software company LogMeIn Inc., among many others.
Construction of the new PwC building is expected to begin later this month, with the company planning to move in by October 2015.
An executive with Skanska said the influx of employees will enliven an otherwise drab stretch of Seaport Boulevard.
"We're looking to deliver an elegant design that will complement the area and strengthen it," said Shawn Hurley, executive vice president for Skanska in Boston. "This is a really important part of the puzzle for the overall area."
On an adjacent site, Skanska is teaming up with Twining properties to build 346 apartments and additional retail stores.
Developer John B. Hynes III, who devised the master plan for Seaport Square, also wants to build a high-rise apartment and retail project nearby, and a public park across from the PricewaterhouseCoopers building.
The accounting firm will occupy about 75 percent of the 440,000-square-foot tower. The remainder of the office space will be leased to other tenants or used to accommodate future expansion by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Nearhos, the company's managing partner in Boston, said its new offices will be smaller than the 376,000 square feet it occupies at 125 High St., but will be designed more efficiently to accommodate the additional 500 employees.
"We needed to make some pretty dramatic changes to the way we look and feel now," he said, adding that PwC is redesigning offices worldwide to create more collaborative work spaces and consume less energy.
WS Development is handling plans for 20,000 square feet of retail space at the base of the building.
Although no tenants have been signed, Richard Marks, a partner at WS Development, said, "We will have a vibrant mix of amenities and dining that will serve employees, visitors, and residents of the area. The interest from local and national retailers in the Seaport District has been quite incredible and continues to grow."
Casey Ross can be reached at email@example.com.