- May 25, 2006
- Reaction score
Subaru of New England once leased parcel M at 3 Dolphin
Way in Boston, where imported vehicles were processed before being
distributed to showrooms. At one time, 40,000 vehicles were processed
at the 148,150-square-foot facility. Located in the Marine Industrial
Park, the site is one of two for which the city?s Economic Development
Industrial Corp. is seeking redevelopment proposals.
No link availableBanker & Tradesman said:Proposals Sought for Parcels In Marine Industrial Park
Redevelopment Bids for Two Sites Due on Oct. 15; Existing Warehouses May Be Razed for New Use
By Thomas Grillo
Three months after Mayor Thomas M. Menino christened a state-of-the-art warehouse on the Boston waterfront, the city wants more.
The Economic Development Industrial Corp., an arm of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, has issued a request for proposals for a pair of lots at the Marine Industrial Park. The RFPs are due on Monday, Oct. 15 at noon.
Dubbed parcels M and N, each site contains a warehouse. But officials said the facilities could be razed to make way for new manufacturing, industrial or maritime use.
Located on the outskirts of Boston Harbor in South Boston, the park consists of two former military bases. The South Boston Naval Annex was purchased by the EDIC in the 1970s. Later, the agency bought the Boston Army Base. The two plants on 202 acres contain 3.3 million square feet of building space.
In the 1980s, the city was criticized for buying a ?white elephant? that had no chance to recoup the more than $4 million it paid the federal government for the sprawling mini-city. But Boston Mayors Kevin White, Ray Flynn and Menino have helped transform the area into a bustling commercial center.
Today, a variety of manufacturing, industrial and light industrial businesses are located in the park, including seafood distributors, biomedical manufacturers and beer brewers, as well as curtain and computer makers.
Subaru of New England once leased parcel M at 3 Dolphin Way, where imported vehicles were processed before they were distributed to U.S. showrooms. At one time, 40,000 vehicles were processed at the 148,150-square-foot facility. Today, a small portion of the warehouse is leased to Cavalier Coach.
The 85,600-square-foot Parcel N at 25 Fid Kennedy Ave. is vacant. The street was named for Thomas Kennedy, one of the city?s legendary longshoreman. But when officials erected the street signs, Kennedy?s family told them that he was best known as ?Fid? - the 12-inch wooden tool used to untie knots. The signs were quickly changed to reflect his nickname.
So far, 11 firms have responded to the RFPs, including Cargo Ventures and Lincoln Properties. EDIC plans to lease the parcels for a minimum of $3 per square foot. Developers will be expected to make the improvements.
Any use of the lots must meet requirements of the state?s Chapter 91 statute, which limits waterfront sites mainly to maritime or industrial use. Developers hoping to raze the buildings and replace them with offices as city?s office market rebounds will have to rethink those plans, according to Lawrence Mammoli, the EDIC?s director of engineering and facilities management. The city?s master plan calls for 66 percent of the land to be reserved for maritime use with the rest for industrial and office space, he said.
The park has a storied history. During its heyday in World War II, the Navy completed building a new destroyer each week in the park. The hulls of these football field-sized ships were constructed at dry dock and then pushed into the harbor, where a crew put the finishing touches on them.
Despite a slow period in the mid 1980s, the area has been active. Since the mid 1990s, a New York-based company has operated a signature ship-repair facility there.
Starting in the late 1970s, more than $55 million in city, state and federal funds have been invested in the park, largely on sewer pipes, water mains and roads.
?When the Nixon administration decided to close these bases the federal government stopped spending money on infrastructure, so when we took it our first task was to plug water leaks from aging pipes,? recalled Mammoli, who has been on the job for nearly three decades. ?But that public investment has led to nearly $170 million in private dollars to renovate buildings and improve infrastructure.?
Today, there are 180 businesses at the park employing 3,000 workers. The Bronstein Industrial Center, the biggest building in Boston, boasts more than is 1.6 million square feet of space and is one-third of a mile long. The landmark is undergoing a renovation.
One of the biggest tenants at Bronstein is the Boston Design Center, whose lease interest has been sold to Cargo Ventures. The clearinghouse offers one-stop shopping for the construction trade. A developer of a hotel, for example, can select floor tile, furniture, drapes and faucets for the new facility under one roof.
?Bronstein turned out to be a success,? said Mammoli. ?We fixed it up and leased it out and had our revenues exceed our expenditures.?
Rents at Bronstein range from $7.50 to $15 per square foot, Mammoli said, with a 40 percent vacancy rate at the mammoth site.
The RFPs come on the heels of the opening of the $65 million, no-frills International Cargo Center of New England at the park in May by Cargo Ventures. The project represents the largest single financial investment ever made in the park, as well as the city?s commitment to maintain an industrial presence in Boston?s changing Seaport District.
The emerging Seaport neighborhood has two hotels in the pipeline on top of plans for more than 3,600 homes. The new 300,000-square-foot facility is good news to corporate neighbors who feared that the addition of lodging and luxury condominiums nearby could spell disaster for the booming waterfront cargo industry.
Menino and a handful of public officials lauded the new cargo center, saying it will boost the economy and serve as a magnet for companies looking to relocate. The 3-story warehouse contains more than two-dozen bays that take up the majority of the facility.
The cargo center?s new building also will house office and retail space. The third-floor office space is rented, while leasing is under way for prospective tenants interested in the second- and first-floor spaces. A local bank, First Trade Union, already is serving customers on the first floor. Rents range from $12 to $20 per square foot.
At the time, Michael Edward, senior vice president at Meredith & Grew, a Boston-based commercial real estate brokerage, said while the new cargo space is ideal, it too expensive. He noted that average asking rents for similar industrial properties in Boston is $9 to $11 per square foot while the center has asking rents in the high teens.
Still, Menino said the project will create nearly 500 permanent jobs for city residents and serve as a catalyst for other companies to locate at the terminal.
Earlier this year, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute made a $2.5 investment while locating its new administrative office to the area. Dana-Farber has leased more than 49,000 square feet of space at 27 Drydock Ave.
While most people rarely glimpse the industrial park, more than 6 million visitors were drawn to the docking of the tall ships, Queen Elizabeth II and the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy in the park in recent years.
?It?s a gem that not many people understand or see because it?s easy to miss,? said Mammoli. ?We are a city within a city. But it?s been changing. There was a time I wouldn't drive down Northern Avenue because of the crater-sized potholes.?
Jamie Fay, president of Fort Point Assoc., an urban planning consultant, said the park is a triumph.
?It?s a tremendous success story,? he said. ?The city has reserved this area for industrial use, a quarter of a mile from an interstate highway. To have the ability to carry out those activities so close to the airport and the highway is a huge plus. It?s so hard to site any kind of industrial operation that has noise and trucks, but here?s a place where they?re welcome.?