First came the fancy apartment buildings that turned a once-industrial stretch of the South End into one of Boston’s hippest neighborhoods. Then hot restaurants, and a Whole Foods Market.
And now developers are aiming to bring the neighborhood full-circle, proposing an office building that will help to once again make this stretch of the South End a place where people work, if perhaps for a different sort of company.
Burlington-based Nordblom Co. filed plans with the Boston Redevelopment Authority on Friday to put a 216,000-square-foot office building on the site of a two-story garage at 321 Harrison Ave., part of the former headquarters of Teradyne Inc. Along with another permitted but not-yet-built project few blocks away, it would be one of the first office buildings in a flurry of development that has transformed this corner of the South End in recent years.
Nordblom’s site sits across the street from the Ink Block complex, which has brought hundreds of apartments and condos and a Whole Foods supermarket to the neighborhood. Next door, work recently began on a 560-unit apartment building where an electric supply warehouse once stood. Nearby there’s a luxury apartment building, plans to turn an old church into condos, and a bid to put housing on the site of the now-closed Quinzani’s Bakery. New restaurants are moving in, and Ink Block, among other projects, has plans for retail.
Office projects has been slower to come, though.
Veteran developer Ron Druker has approval to build an 11-story office building at East Berkeley and Washington streets but is waiting to sign a major tenant before starting construction. So far, that’s it.
Still, as Druker and other backers point out, the neighborhood sits a short walk from the Financial District and relatively close to the Back Bay’s office towers. Nordblom’s site is just across the Massachusetts Turnpike from Tufts Medical Center.
And it wasn’t long ago that the neighborhood was a job center in its own right.
Ink Block rose on the former site of the Boston Herald, and warehouses and small factories lined Harrison Avenue and Albany Street. The garage Nordblom wants to redevelop served as parking for Teradyne, next door at 1000 Washington, until 2006, when the high-tech manufacturing company moved 800 employees to its campus in North Reading. Today, the 11-story building that housed Teradyne is 95 percent occupied, mostly by several state agencies.
An arm of Nordblom bought the building and garage from Teradyne in 2006 for $34.75 million, according to Suffolk County property records, then sold it in 2014 to the Philadelphia investment firm Rubenstein Partners for $75 million.
Nordblom and Rubenstein are partnering on the redevelopment. Nordblom’s executive vice president, Ogden Hunnewell, did not return messages seeking comment on the project Friday afternoon. But in a letter to the BRA, he wrote that the project would replace the 300-space garage with 240 parking spaces underground and provide “significant pedestrian realm improvements.”
Friday’s filing was preliminary. More details will probably be filed in the coming months, and the project will need BRA approval before construction can begin.