Flower Exchange Redevelopment | South End

tysmith95

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I know that this has already been discussed in the South End Construction forum but I believe that with a developer announced this parcel is large enough to have it's own thread.

A 5.6 acre site in the South End has been bought by Abbey Group, the Landmark Center developers, for over 40 million dollars. It currently holds the Boston Flower Exchange. They currently have plans to build a massive office complex that they hope will rival Kendall Square. No formal proposals yet but this will be in interesting site to watch in the next few years. Current zoning allows for as much as 1.6 million square feet of development. The Flower Exchange tenants will move out at the end of the year.



https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/05/26/boston-flower-exchange-redeveloped-into-office-complex/VBL0qtSD7zgZ97Ng1LKFfL/story.html
 
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617

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

They want to build another Kendall sq... Seems like a transit nightmare, the opposite of smart growth.
 

citylover94

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

Again the highway makes this seem further from transit than it is the Broadway station is only .8 m from the furthest edge of the site walking. Tufts is one mile which is further than most people would walk but some will, and the silver line is two blocks to the west. I think they should include housing and not just build a corporate campus like Kendall Square was or I think in 5 or 10 years after it is completed they will be trying to add that so it doesn't feel so dead at off hours, but it isn't as isolated as it seems.

Here is an example of possible transit routes to get to East Cambridge just to show the accessibility.

 

whighlander

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

They want to build another Kendall sq... Seems like a transit nightmare, the opposite of smart growth.
617 -- I suspect that the plans will include a shuttle to/from Broadway and/or South Staion -- very much like th EzRide in Cambridge
Welcome to EZRide Shuttle. Since 2002, EZRide Shuttle has helped connect transit and worksites for commuters to Kendall Square, East Cambridge, MIT, and Cambridgeport.

EZRide provides high-frequency service connecting North Station, Lechmere and Kendall Square to our member businesses and employers throughout eastern Cambridge.

EZRide Shuttle helps simplify transit commutes by providing a one-seat ride between our members' worksites and:

North Station * (Commuter Rail, Green & Orange lines)
Lechmere (Green Line & Buses)
Kendall Square (Red Line & Buses)

Shuttles operate every 8-10 minutes during morning and evening commutes. For complete information, please see schedules.

EZRide Shuttle also serves MIT's Northwest Campus area, along Pacific Street and Albany Street. In addition to morning and evening service every 8-10 minutes, our Midday Shuttle operates every 20 minutes between Kendall Square and Northwest Campus.

Service is free to all member affiliates (employer members with their EZRide Pass Sticker) and all members of the MIT community with their MIT photo ID Card. EZRide is open to the public for a cash fare of $2.00. Discount tickets are available, please see Information & Fares for details.

NextBus provides real-time arrival information for EZRide Shuttle. Visit NextBus to learn more. For more of the latest news on EZRide, you can also follow us on Twitter (@ezride).
Note that the word Transit doesn't always imply -- taxpayer funded
 

tysmith95

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

They want to build another Kendall sq... Seems like a transit nightmare, the opposite of smart growth.
They need to build a widett circle commuter rail station. They should once the widett circle development starts construction.
 

whighlander

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

They need to build a widett circle commuter rail station. They should once the widett circle development starts construction.
TySmith -- Without the Olympics inducement -- Widett is a long way off -- the Flower Excahange is fruit hanging so-low that it nearly touches the ground ;)

The footprint of the existing building is nearly 100,000 sq. ft -- you could build a good fraction of a Miliion sq ft Lab/office without even going outside of the existing building dimensions

build on the existing parking lot some structured parking and some residences / office in 1 or 2 towers and the development's highlight the huge footprint lab building

That's a major winner
 

fattony

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

There is already a shuttle from here directly to South Station, DTX, Park, and Tufts. Its called the Silver Line. People actually ride it! Like every day. You know, to get from here to there faster than walking.

Also, I really doubt they are going to shoehorn 10,000 jobs into this site.
 

Czervik.Construction

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

I have always thought this land would look excellent redeveloped. I would like to see 8-10 story residential along the street side and high rise residential and commercial along the highway, sort of like Riverside Drive South in NYC - but with better looking buildings.

 

timsox6

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

OK, I'll ask the classic ArchBoston question: how tall can they build here, based on zoning, neighborhood expectations, reasonable guesswork, your highest expectation or wildest dream, and even the FAA/Massport guidelines?
 

reverend_paco

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

Again the highway makes this seem further from transit than it is the Broadway station is only .8 m from the furthest edge of the site walking. Tufts is one mile which is further than most people would walk but some will, and the silver line is two blocks to the west. I think they should include housing and not just build a corporate campus like Kendall Square was or I think in 5 or 10 years after it is completed they will be trying to add that so it doesn't feel so dead at off hours, but it isn't as isolated as it seems.

Here is an example of possible transit routes to get to East Cambridge just to show the accessibility.

There is a road behind the parcel that is un-used and requires help from the state (I believe to connect it to the I-93 frontage road) show in the below screenshot.



My source is from the South End Facebook page who had a direct conversation with the developers at the announcement on Thursday.

The I-93 frontage road in question is 2-lanes wide and could easily accommodate a bus-specific lane (this is just my observation).
 

tysmith95

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

OK, I'll ask the classic ArchBoston question: how tall can they build here, based on zoning, neighborhood expectations, reasonable guesswork, your highest expectation or wildest dream, and even the FAA/Massport guidelines?
The max FAA height is just over 400 feet. If they built something that tall right next to the highway I'm not sure there would be much community opposition. It abuts brick commercial buildings, the highway, a large parking garage, and some sort of concrete office building. Barring transit concerns it's a perfect spot for a large-scale development.
 

CantabAmager

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

Barring transit concerns it's a perfect spot for a large-scale development.
Barring transit concerns, any open space is a perfect spot for development.

5-10k workers in theory on a parcel with poor pedestrian connections to everywhere except the back streets in the South End, intermediate-at-best bus service, and direct access from one of the most congested interstate segments in Mass or the always lovely Mass Ave and Melnea Cass isn't going to work without an investment in travel infra on a scale more substantial than anything we've seen recently. Albany St has some give, some extra space, but until there's a hint of plan to address those concerns, it's almost not even worth considering what could go here. Whatever it is, it's going to have to be more than developers or companies buying a rapid transit or CR stop.

And the parcel is geographically isolated from downtown and the seaport and we can't ignore the role that physical proximity to other major concentrations plays in the success/failure of commercial development. Sure, BMC is around the corner, but that's a cluster driven heavily by a major player with less peripheral forces; not something I'd single out as an easy opportunity for the taking.

I mean.....it could be great. If there's no takers for re-utilizing the space for light industry, then wiring up a fringe area in with the rest of a successful urban service-based economy is exactly the kind of project that sustains these sorts of economic upturns and secures their gains. But...in all honesty...I'm not sure Abbey or the City is going to be able to muster the will to engage with the unavoidable transportation woes down here.
 

nico

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

There is already a shuttle from here directly to South Station, DTX, Park, and Tufts. Its called the Silver Line. People actually ride it! Like every day. You know, to get from here to there faster than walking.
My 7 years of experience tell me differently. The walk from TUFTS to Newton Street takes on average, no longer than waiting for the Silver Line. Some days its faster to walk, others you end up hopping on somewhere along Washington St. But you never wait for the Silver b/c it's so damn unreliable. That's after you take one, two, or three other modes of transport just to get to TUFTS. Then, when you get off at Cathedral you walk the two long blocks to this site. Not fun. As this site is just off 93, most suburban dwellers (who will make up a significant % of the employees) will chose to drive 93 b/c it will take 1/2 the time to get here from North or South. How do I know? That's what the majority of non student folks do at BU/BMC. Even the ones like me who would prefer to take another mode of transport that at least approximated the time taken to drive in.

Shit - it's 3 o'clock on a Friday - gotta beat traffic home.
 

Arlington

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

Barring transit concerns, any open space is a perfect spot for development. .
Exactly. The value of land is based on its physical access to supplies of inputs and markets for output. Where the output is "intellectual property" (as in biotech and infotech), the constraint is access to supplies of knowledge workers, and that means commuter transit.

Commuter transit has to be fast-enough, and predictable-enough, (we can quibble on those) but most of all *frequent*. To deliver this takes a reserved ROW, either Bus or street rail with signal priority or rapid transit or CR.

The Flower Market is great for a flower market: inputs only take hundreds of trips (by truck) and outputs go out by the hundreds (and many happen at odd hours). A biotech square will generate trips by the THOUSANDS and do so at the very natural peak of rush hour.

These transit-isolated parcels only look great & valuable because we allow parcel developers to pile them up with stuff and assume that the State (not even the City) will fix any problems that arise.

Despite a $1b transitway, even the Seaport is poised to choke on this because, unsurprisingly, The State's voters don't see why they should lavish $ on what is a city parcel and city problem.

The is also that moment that Joe Curtatone was calling for when he noted that if Somerville and the U2 developers have to contribute $X0m toward GLX, he expects (and I'd expect) future developers and cities (Boston) to similarly chip in on exactly projects like the Flower Market (which should proffer either reserved right of way or TIF-support BRT on Albany St).
 

whighlander

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

There is already a shuttle from here directly to South Station, DTX, Park, and Tufts. Its called the Silver Line. People actually ride it! Like every day. You know, to get from here to there faster than walking.

Also, I really doubt they are going to shoehorn 10,000 jobs into this site.
Fattony -- we're talking a shuttle from the door od the building to South Station -- jus t like EZ Ride in Cambridge frp, Tech Sqare to leachemere and North Station

as for the jobs -- typically 2 person offices are in the area of 150 sq ft; 1 person offices probably average 120 sq. ft except for people like Jeff Immelt who's office probably is closer to 500 sq ft

On the other hand -- for cubicles -- you probably average 50 sq ft / person

So if the total build-out is 1.8 M sq ft

If that was traditional office it would be about 10k people or more

for labs somewhat more space per person is speced -- say 3 to 5 k people if it was all labs

so some sort of hybrid -- about 7.778k people =/-
 

Beton Brut

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

OK, I'll ask the classic ArchBoston question: how tall can they build here, based on zoning, neighborhood expectations, reasonable guesswork, your highest expectation or wildest dream, and even the FAA/Massport guidelines?
Okay, I'll bite.

How about a 50% scale version of Bryant Park, featuring:
  • Diverse, thoughtful buildings of top-quality materials;
  • Heights between 12 and 45 floors;
  • 60% residential, 25% office/lab, 15% commercial;
  • Residential elements engaging with the South End;
  • Office against I-93;
  • Lab nearest to BU Med;
  • Centered parkspace with a view-corridors to the Back Bay and Downtown skylines.
-- any investors?
 

stick n move

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

So when are we getting that housing.
 

JeffDowntown

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

Fattony -- we're talking a shuttle from the door od the building to South Station -- jus t like EZ Ride in Cambridge frp, Tech Sqare to leachemere and North Station

as for the jobs -- typically 2 person offices are in the area of 150 sq ft; 1 person offices probably average 120 sq. ft except for people like Jeff Immelt who's office probably is closer to 500 sq ft

On the other hand -- for cubicles -- you probably average 50 sq ft / person

So if the total build-out is 1.8 M sq ft

If that was traditional office it would be about 10k people or more

for labs somewhat more space per person is speced -- say 3 to 5 k people if it was all labs

so some sort of hybrid -- about 7.778k people =/-
How many "shuttles" does it take to move a decent fraction of 7,800 people? At rush hour!
 

odurandina

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Re: Flower Exchange Redevelopment

Okay, I'll bite.

How about a 50% scale version of Bryant Park, featuring:
  • Diverse, thoughtful buildings of top-quality materials;
    [*]Heights between 12 and 45 floors;
  • 60% residential, 25% office/lab, 15% commercial;
  • Residential elements engaging with the South End;
  • Office against I-93;
  • Lab nearest to BU Med;
  • Centered parkspace with a view-corridors to the Back Bay and Downtown skylines.
-- any investors?
FAA here is what? 300-325' ?
 

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