The facades of three historic Wareham Street buildings will be preserved and integrated into the design of a redevelopment project that proposes razing five dilapidated South End buildings to make way for a five-story office/laboratory building, according to members of the project team on hand for the first city-sponsored Impact Advisory Group (IAG) meeting for 65 Wareham St., which was held virtually on Monday, Aug. 8.
South End-based Transom Real Estate and Camber Development of Boston, together with Wheelock Street Capital of Greenwich, Conn., intend to build a new 79,600 square-foot building containing approximately 2,000 square feet of first-floor retail and around 44 below-grade parking spaces. (The existing building on the site contain approximately 43,425 square feet of space and a surface lot with approximately 20 off-street parking spaces, so the net gain will be 35,175 square feet of net new gross floor-area and 24 additional off-street parking spaces.) The project site is an approximately 19,921 square-foot parcel comprising 65-69, 71-73, and 75-79 Wareham St. and 52-56 Plympton St., and the site is bordered by Wareham and Plympton streets between Albany Street and Harrison Avenue.
Construction on the project is expected to commence in early- to mid-2023, according to members of the project team.
Peter Spellios, a principal with Transom Real Estate, said the proposed design would preserve the facades of three existing Wareham Street buildings and incorporate them as an “integral” part of the project.
Spellios said this plan is also unique in that it’s only the second time in his career that he has seen a project that fully complies will all of the zoning requirements in place for the neighborhood and would therefore require no zoning variances for dimensions or change in use from the city to move forward.
T.J. Stokes, an architect for the project, said it would also comply with a longstanding plan for renovating the area’s sidewalks by increasing the curb height to create more “separation and distance” between pedestrians and vehicles.
The project would align with Boston Complete Streets initiative, which aims to give other modes of transportation the same consideration as driving on city streets, said Stokes, while also” preserving light industrial use in context of neighborhood.”
The new building would also be set back as much as possible along Wareham Street, which, Stokes said, “is driving many decisions” around the project.
The main lobby; ground-floor retail space, which could become home to a coffee shop; and bike storage would all be located along Wareham Street, said Stokes, while two loading docks would be on Plympton Street.
Also on Wareham Street, existing loading docks would be removed, bricks cleaned, openings infilled using glass with high-glass glazing, he said.
A small tenant space would be located on the fifth floor, added Stokes, although most of the tenant space would be levels two, three, and four.
David Wilkinson, a project consultant, said the building would be classified as Biosafety Level (BSL-2) – the same level as a Red Cross facility – with no airborne studies conducted inside.
Likewise, Spellios said no animals would likely be tested on site, even though the building “would have the infrastructure for someone to put that in.”
And while the building has yet to be marketed to prospective tenants, Spellios said, “Most likely, tenants of this size aren’t going to have animal resting facilities on site.”
The building would also contain 1,000 square feet of chemical storage space, said Stokes, and the tenants themselves would bear the responsibility of monitoring the specific chemicals they use on site.
No street closures are expected as a result of construction, said Spellios, but lane closures are likely and would be detailed in a future construction management plan for the project.
IAG members David Stone and Nikki Fortes both complimented the project team on the appearance of the proposed building’s façade.
The city’s first public meeting on the project was scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 9.
The city is soliciting public comments on this project through Aug. 16; visit https://www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/65-wareham-street for more information.