There are numerous construction sites standing empty and abandoned, becoming an eyesore to the neighborhood and an economic nightmare for the city. The Filene’s building site will not be one of those places for much longer as developers vie for the chance to build on this prime spot in Boston.
There are more than six developers vying to purchase the Filene’s building site situated in Downtown Crossing. What had once been deemed an eyesore has now become one of, if not the, hottest properties available on today’s Boston real estate market. The property was put up for sale two weeks ago and since then it has amassed interest from some big names in the world of real estate business.
The interest rush is perhaps the turning point the boarded up site has been looking for. City officials have stated that an array of business owners and retailers, such as Target, Nordstrom Rack and Au Bon Pain, are considering the possibility of leasing space there. Filene’s Basement, a longtime magnet to the district, is also pursuing a return, although deals have not been signed.
In the meantime, several developers are hurrying to come up with new building plans and designs that will include hundreds of Boston luxury apartments as well as multiple levels of stores.
Criterion Development Partners principle, Mr. Jack Englert, is a Dallas home builder who wants to be able to redevelop the property, which is situated over Boston’s most bustling transit stop. He recently stated that: “With the rental market strong, and construction pricing still down a bit, it’s hard to imagine a better time to build.” This certainly seems to be true of this case.
In 2007 approval was granted for the build of a 39-story office block, stores, restaurants, a hotel and 166 condominiums. Even though that project fell through in 2008, many of todays potential buyers have stated that their projects would not be as large as those proposed by the sites current owners.
Since June of 2008 the site has been a blip on the landscape of Downtown Crossing, with the department stores skeleton looming over an empty construction site. Buyers were starting to be sought after last month when the city cited a two-year delay on construction and revoked its permits. This has left the door open for would-be buyers to talk about possibilities for stores and rental housing, which are deemed to be the best option when attracting funding from potential lenders.
Whoever is successful with their bid will have to deal with not only any economic challenges, but also the sites history, which is controversial to say the least. While the current owners have stated that they have done everything in their power in order to resume construction, the mayor has accused them repeatedly of dragging their feet and ignoring the city’s needs in order to make a profit. The owners counter-argued, saying that it was impossible for them to restart work in the down economy as they would have subsequently lost money.
While new bids continue to come in, any new builder needs to get fresh city approvals and obtain signed contracts with any prospective new tenants in order to prevent history repeating itself again. But this is definitely a location that has the future potential to rival even the most prime of locations such as the Fenway Apartments, and as such it is being watched very closely by all who stand to benefit from its development.Tags: fenway apartments, money