“We have not gotten any direction from the BRA
and that’s where it stands.”
Representative of Lincoln Property regarding 316-322 Summer Street

To read SAND's comment letter on the Lincoln project, click here.
To read a prior article regarding this project, click here.

May 26, 2008
Banker and Tradesman

Mayor Calls for More Housing At Fort Point Office Development
By Thomas Grillo, Reporter

One week after a developer offered a compromise plan to build three artist lofts at a planned office building in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood, Mayor Thomas M. Menino said the number is too few.

“We are working to come up with a number that works in the district, but three units is not enough; 40 seems like a better number,” Menino told Banker & Tradesman.

At issue is a plan by Lincoln Property Co. to turn a pair of vacant warehouses at 316-322 Summer St. into 140,000 square feet of office space with ground-floor retail and a rooftop addition. But the proposal has faced strong opposition from residents who said 87 condominiums and eight artist live/work units had been approved for the building under the previous owner, Archon/Goldman. Lincoln bought the buildings in December for $17.8 million.

Lincoln has told the community and the Boston Redevelopment Authority that the timing is not right for housing and the current market supports office space. Since then, the company has put forward several compromise plans.

John Cappellano, Lincoln’s senior vice president, said he is waiting to hear from the Boston Redevelopment Authority on the proposal for three units. “We have not gotten any direction from the BRA and that’s where it stands.” He declined further comment.

Jessica Shumaker, a BRA spokeswoman, said the agency is working with the developer. “We are trying hard to find a compromise and we would like to meet with the community one more time before we make a decision,” she said. A public meeting had not been set at press time.

Following a raucous public meeting over Lincoln’s proposal in March, the mayor and the BRA called for a mix of housing and office at the Fort Point building. Since then, Lincoln has been negotiating with Studio Soto, a gallery/workspace for artists, to take 3,500 square feet at their Summer Street property.

Under the proposal, the nonprofit group would occupy space on the lower level for $1 per square foot annually. But while praising the deal, city officials and some neighborhood representatives said it would not meet the housing need. Lincoln recently met privately with several Fort Point neighbors to float the idea of three affordable artist lofts at the property.

But Paul Bernstein, president of the Fort Point Arts Community, a nonprofit artist organization, has asked the BRA to hold a public hearing on the plan.

The city’s 100 Acres Master Planning vision for the Fort Point District, issued in 1999 to guide development, promised “a vibrant 24-hour, mixed-use neighborhood anchored by 11 acres of new open space and 6 million square feet of development, with at least one-third as housing.” The plan was the result of a five-year collaboration among residents, property owners and government agencies. About 1,200 units have been built if the adjacent South Boston neighborhood is included in the tally, according to the BRA.

(c)2008 The Warren Group Inc., 280 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210. All rights reserved.

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