Residents like Harrison Ave Building Design

By Seth Daniel

When Nordblom of Burlington first approached the neighbors at the New York Streets Neighborhood Association (NYSA) about constructing a new office building above their garage on the corner of Harrison Avenue and Herald Street – it had a lot of glass, but not so much character.

Members of the NYSA pressed Nordblom on the design, and what emerged was a handsome new office proposal that was recently approved by the Board of the Boston Planning and Design Agency (BPDA).

Now, the design includes the address ‘321’ communicated on the side of the building in Morse Code, using tilted glass indentations at least three times up the side of the building facing the Mass Pike – as well as a much more thoughtful integration into the budding new neighborhood.

Beyond that, Todd Fremont-Smith, senior vice president of development, said the office building is now poised to attract a Class A tenant into the new, 235,000 sq. ft. space – which will be eight stories tall and over the top of the existing three story parking garage.

He even said GE considered it for a moment before deciding on the Seaport for its world headquarters.

“They put a lot more money into the facade of the building,” he said. “It’s a first-class office building. We’re looking for a computer company or something to jump out of Cambridge or a life sciences company. It’s a first-class office building now. We did pitch GE on this and they paused for a moment and then went to the Seaport…We don’t know when we’re going to start work. We have a 230,000 sq. ft. building that’s leased and it’s cash flowing. It doesn’t take a big tenant to put this into construction.”

He said they have engaged CRE in looking for a first-class tenant, and finding that right fit will dictate the start of construction, which is in partnership with Rubinstein Partners.

“We are looking for a partner and will be using CRE to help with that ,” he said. “We have a great financial partner in Rubinstein. That have $1 billion in cash. In this market cycle, we do need some leasing activity before the start.”

He said, though, the bar isn’t very high on that, and estimated they would like to have half of the building, perhaps 100,000 sq. ft. leased before they turn on the cranes.

The building would contain a bike repair station, and parking would be for tenants only – as they are not allowed to have public parking. Of the 300 spaces in the parking garage, 250 would remain after construction of the new building.

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