20-story tower on tap for Fort Point’s Channel Center
Fort Point could soon be getting a little more height.
Developer Berkeley Investments is talking with neighborhood groups about a 20-plus story residential tower at 7 Channel Center that would be one of the tallest structures in the historic red-brick neighborhood.
Nothing has been filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and Berkeley said it is still ironing out details. But it is planning a roughly 200-unit apartment building with street-level retail, live/work housing for artists and “innovation” units, along with market-rate apartments on the upper floors.
“We think there is tremendous potential in this neighborhood,” said Berkeley President Young Park. “It’s unfolding much faster than we thought.”
Indeed, the site is a stone’s throw from where GE plans to build its global headquarters, and next door to State Street Financial Corp.’s complex at One Channel Center — where thousands of people work.
Berkeley has had a hand in Fort Point since 2004, when it bought and renovated 13 brick-and-beam warehouses in the historic neighborhood across the channel from downtown. It has sold some of those buildings and bought others since. In 2013, it paid $9 million for 7 and 9 Channel Center, part of a historic row of warehouses. It’s rehabbing 9 Channel into creative office space, and plans to tear down 7 Channel — a smaller, dilapidated building — to build its residential tower.
Details on height and number of units of the new complex are still being worked out ahead of a filing with the BRA, likely later this spring. But the project would be the biggest shot of new housing into the area since 20-story luxury apartment building 315 on A opened three years ago.
To make the project economically feasible, a Berkeley spokesman said, it needs to be taller than the 75 feet currently allowed in the area under the so-called 100-acre zoning plan. That means the decade-old plan would need to be amended, though the project would go a long way toward helping the plan reach its goal that one-third of new development in the area be residential.
Meanwhile Park said his firm is sensitive to the neighborhood’s historic architecture and wants to build something that — while taller than the typical five-to-seven story brick buildings — still fits in.
“We’re of the neighborhood,” he said. “We’re not trying to land a spaceship in this community.”