Ink Block (Boston Herald) | 300 Harrison Avenue | South End

Ron Newman

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The Boston Globe writes:

Boston Herald property sold
By Christopher Rowland, Globe Staff | August 7, 2007

Boston Herald publisher Pat Purcell is teaming with a development firm to replace the newspaper's plant near the Southeast Expressway at the edge of Boston's South End, in a deal that could include residential, retail, and office space.

Purcell has sold the Herald building and the 6.6-acre parcel it sits on for an undisclosed price to a joint venture that includes himself and National Development, which is headquartered in Newton Lower Falls.

While it will potentially add a major new feature to Boston's southern skyline, the deal also marks another step in Purcell's efforts to transform Herald assets into cash and streamline the tabloid's operations. Purcell considers the Herald's antiquated printing presses obsolete in a time when newspapers can be electronically transmitted to be printed anywhere, said Purcell spokesman George Regan. The deal allows the current operation to remain in place for several years while the newspaper is relocated.

"The whole publishing world has changed dramatically, and the Herald is as mobile as anybody else,'' Regan said.

Last year, Purcell sold the Herald's daily and weekly suburban newspapers surrounding Boston to GateHouse Media Inc., a national chain, for $225 million. Earlier this year, Purcell confirmed he was in talks with Dow Jones & Co. to outsource the printing of the Herald to a Dow Jones press plant in Chicopee. That concept is still in play -- Dow Jones will soon be owned by Purcell's old boss at News Corp., Rupert Murdoch -- and would allow Purcell to eliminate up to 100 of the 650 jobs at the Herald site.

Purcell owns the Herald property independently from the newspaper. The deal to transform the site into a major real estate development is another piece of the puzzle.

Ted Tye, National Development's managing partner, said last night that the new partnership is hunting for a new location within Boston for the Herald newsroom and offices.

"For a newsroom and business offices, you could be located just about anywhere,'' he said.

National Development has built shopping malls, big-box retail stores, chain hotels, office projects, and residential space throughout Massachusetts. The Herald site is attractive to National Development because it will link the South End with Chinatown and the rest of the city, said Tye.

"It is a superb location. It's a gateway location to the city,'' he said.

Another developer familiar with the Herald site, but who requested anonymity because it is not his project, said that there is contamination on the property that will have to be cleaned up.

"It's a very challenging location. It's a site for five to 10 years from now. It's not a short-term transaction,'' he said.

Other developers are also looking at the neighborhood. A city official who requested anonymity because no official action has been taken said developers has shown the Boston Redevelopment Authority a preliminary proposal at a neighboring site, at 275 Albany St., to build a 25-story complex with 290 housing units and a 150-room hotel.
 

Ron Newman

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The Boston Herald writes:

National Development, Purcell to redevelop Herald site
By Scott Van Voorhis
Boston Herald Business Reporter
Tuesday, August 7, 2007 - Updated: 08:12 PM EST

Boston Herald publisher Patrick J. Purcell today announced a joint venture with a local real estate firm to redevelop the Herald?s longtime newspaper headquarters and printing plant.

The agreement with Newton-based National Development gives the Herald up to six years to find a new home. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Purcell would be a development partner in the joint venture.

The 6.6-acre site, in a rapidly changing area at the junction of the Massachusetts Turnpike and the Southeast Expressway, is considered a prime location for development.

The announcement marks an end of an era for the paper and comes amid sweeping changes overtaking the neighborhood and area around the Herald?s headquarters.

The Herald is currently in discussions with Dow Jones & Co. about printing the paper at a plant in Western Massachusetts. But Purcell plans to explore other alternatives as well.

The Herald first moved into its sprawling, red-brick plant in 1958, in what was then an area of rundown rooming houses on the border between Chinatown and the South End. In recent years, the area around the paper has been steadily transformed as developers have turned old warehouse buildings and empty lots into trendy lofts, condos, shops and restaurants.

National Development has made a name for itself building large, mixed-use residential, office and retail projects, usually in the suburbs, and often near major transportation hubs.

?This is an important move as we plan for the paper?s long-term future,? Purcell said in a statement.?We intend to publish the Herald for a very long time and realize that we must do so more efficiently than is possible in our current location.?

Meanwhile, National Development and its new real estate partners will begin exploring potential uses for the Herald site.

One general idea being looked at involves a mixed-use concept that would offer a combination of retail, office and residential. The site itself, based on current city zoning rules, could accommodate at least several hundred thousand square feet of development.

Tom Alperin, president of National Development, said it is much too early to say what form such a development would take - including whether it would include a tower.

?We see this as a mixed use development site,? Alperin said. ?It is a terrific gateway location.?

He said his firm will consult closely with City Hall - and the Herald?s neighbors - about finding the ?right mix of uses.? There have been a number of development battles over tower proposals in or next to Chinatown over the last few years, with neighborhood activists concerned about gentrification of the area.

As part of its agreement, National Development will help the Herald in its search for a new location.

While that might involve outsourcing the paper?s printing operations, it could also involve moving the Herald?s printing presses and offices to another location as well, according to one executive involved in the planning.

The process of determining what to do with the production of the paper, as well as where to move its offices, could take at least another year or two to sort out, the executive said.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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Bring back the New York streets! Well, the streets at least, perhaps not the squalor. I was a little annoyed that the urban renewal project wasn't mentioned in either article.
 

czsz

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New York streets? And what urban renewal project?

National Development has built shopping malls, big-box retail stores, chain hotels, office projects, and residential space throughout Massachusetts.
Doesn't sound like they're the best choice for an urban project. A look at their website confirms...mostly suburban developments, and when they have come to the city, the results haven't been so great:

http://www.ndne.com/projects/h_clevelandcircle.html

http://www.ndne.com/projects/1and2_constitution.html
 

kz1000ps

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Let the gentrification of WeSex* begin!

* WeSex being the marketer friendly term I've coined for the area, West of the Southeast Expressway.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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czsz said:
New York streets? And what urban renewal project?
The area where the Herald building is now was once know as the New York streets. The area was developed when the Boston and Albany RR was built and to advertise the railroad named the new streets after towns and cities in New York. The area became a "slum" in the early 20th century and was razed about the same time as the West End and Scollay Sq.

czsz said:
http://www.ndne.com/projects/1and2_constitution.html
Oh GOD that is one ugly building.

kz1000ps said:
Let the gentrification of WeSex* begin!
That sounds like a new adult video game by Nintendo.
 

Equilibria

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Before you go bashing National Development based on those links, let me point out that the boring one (Charlestown) was an interior renovation project, not a new construction.

I happen to see ND's headquarters (which they built, I believe) rather frequently, and I have to say that it is one of my favorite suburban office buildings. Their body of work may not be extensive in the city, but it isn't appalling, and given some other projects in this town maybe we could use the fresh blood.

I'll get a picture of that office next time I'm near there if anyone wants to see it.
 

JimboJones

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New York Streets



This photo was taken sometime in the '50's, pre-Southeast Expressway.

The area to the left is where the Herald building is now.

As you can see, the New York Streets neighborhood is gone.
 

Charlie_mta

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That photo is sad, in that it shows just the beginning of the wholesale, massive leveling of other central Boston areas that would occur just a few years later.

Sometimes I wonder if the inspiration for urban renewal in Boston was the bombed-out WW-II landscape of Dresden, Germany.
 

saltbox

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vanshnook, thanks for bring up the New York Streets. There is a great 1954 City Planning map available on the Boston Atlas http://www.mapjunction.com (sorry I don't have the capability to embed). It shows the street pattern prior to the urban renewal project.

Also, you should read Mel King's work. He and his wife grew up in the New York Streets and both have very interesting things to say about the neighborhood.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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saltbox said:
vanshnook, thanks for bring up the New York Streets. There is a great 1954 City Planning map available on the Boston Atlas http://www.mapjunction.com (sorry I don't have the capability to embed). It shows the street pattern prior to the urban renewal project.
I downloaded a high-res of that map back when they let you download the maps. I'll host it somewhere when I get home. In fact I also have high-re of all the BRA urban renewal plans so maybe I'll just make a new thread compairing the two.

Also, you should read Mel King's work. He and his wife grew up in the New York Streets and both have very interesting things to say about the neighborhood.
Sounds interesting, I'l look for it.
 

JimboJones

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King

Mel King is quoted in this week's (last Saturday's?) Boston Courant, about growing up down there. Story to be continued in this coming Saturday's issue.
 

czsz

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A city official who requested anonymity because no official action has been taken said developers has shown the Boston Redevelopment Authority a preliminary proposal at a neighboring site, at 275 Albany St., to build a 25-story complex with 290 housing units and a 150-room hotel.
Interesting. I was going to point out that there seemed to be nothing bordering the Herald site until I passed back over this info. This area could be hopping with development soon.
 

statler

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At first I thought this may make a good for a Hard Rock Hotel but then I realized that it is waaay too far away from the touristy areas of the city.
 

czsz

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True, but then again the Hard Rock officials said they were eying the SBWaterfront, which isn't exactly Faneuil Hall or Newbury Street either. And the Albany Street proposal does include a hotel...
 

JimboJones

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Details on 275 Albany Street

Here are details on the 275 Albany Street proposal:

275 Albany Street
Boston, Massachusetts

Highlights

* This 1.27-acre site is slated for a mixed-use development with a hotel, retail, and rental apartments
* Located in the SOWA district, which features many loft-style condominiums, art galleries, bakeries, trendy eateries, and retail
* Boston Convention Center and the Seaport District are just 10 minutes away
* MBTA Silver Line is just 1 block from the property

Summary Description

This mixed-use development site, ideally located in downtown Boston, will offer spectacular views of the Financial District to the North, Back Bay to the West, and South Boston and the waterfront to the East. Located in this trendy, upscale area, just 2 blocks south of Washington Street, the property provides access to buses and is just 7 minutes to the BU Medical Center. The site is directly adjacent to Route 93 and the Mass Pike, so visibility and access will be exceptional.

Leasing Contact:

Source: http://www.normandyrealty.com/normandycorporate/OurPortfolio/tabid/62/ctl/ViewProperty/mid/427/id/46/Default.aspx
 

czsz

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Aha...SoWa and Seaport "nearby"...so that's how the area is being marketed. I hope something is done to make the walk over 93/the railyard more pleasant...

Perhaps we should have a new thread for the Albany St. project?
 

kz1000ps

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What... no Schenectady? No Utica? Birmingham? Buffalo???
 

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