Last week GTI Properties in the South End issued a press release, sharing plans for the Power Station which opened in 1896 but fell into disrepair in the last century as the neighborhood and much of downtown Boston languished. However, in recent years, it has served as a parking garage and on occasion as a special event venue like my photo from Illuminus Boston in 2014 shows.
After the SoWa Winter Festival concludes renovations are expected to commence, converting this historic building into an open-concept event space, providing the South End (and Boston) with one of the coolest places to host an event. The renovations, which will start in mid December, will retain all the elements that give the building its charm – the vaulted ceilings, massive windows and “the industrial brick and beam glamour”. The renovations will bring additional comforts like bathrooms, heat, running water and more.
With ample parking available, its proximity to both I-93 and the Mass Pike and just a short 10 minute walk from the Orange and Red lines on the MBTA, one can expect this will become a popular venue for many events so stay tuned. As I learn more details, I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
Developers behind one of the largest new residential projects in Boston—a 650-unit apartment complex spread out over more than 3 acres of land between Albany Street and extending to Harrison Avenue officially broke ground and started construction last week on September 18th.
Formerly known as the Harrison/Albany project and now called The Smith , this development will include: 650 residential apartments; approximately 75,000 square feet of new and renovated office space; nearly 20,000 square feet of retail and cultural space; up to as many as 650 below ground parking spaces; as well as open space available to the public.
The Boston Sun reported the amount of development allowed along the Harrison-Albany Corridor in the South End has far exceeded what had been planned, and it is forcing them to revisit the traffic and infrastructure models put into place in 2012.
The Quinzani’s project, the Harrison Albany Project and the 345 Harrison project (which is now open) were all projects that took the City by surprise. Those projects combined, resulted in 32% more development than had been anticipated in 2012, and account for approximately 1,900 new apartment / condominium units. The crazy thing is that figure doesn’t even include the 250 unit building that the Ink Block announced earlier this month called The Ollie on the corner of Albany and Herald Street. That is a lot of development for what essentially is a 6 block corridor at the edge of the South End.
7INK by Ollie is a 14-story residential building that developers are saying will include 250 shared suites and micro-studios. Scheduled to open in 2020, Ollie will be Boston’s first all inclusive, co-living development. Ollie will be located at the corner of Herald and Albany Streets on the former site of the Independent Taxi Operators Association building in the north east corner of the Ink Block.
The building will provide a full range of services, unique community engagements and shared amenity spaces. The development will have additional perks such as coming furnished and receiving complimentary weekly cleaning with fresh linens and towels as well as bath amenities.
For more information about the new residential building proposed by National Development visit their website at, ollie.co/boston.
By Evan Rosenberg || 450 Harrison Avenue – Artist Studio #307A
This weekend celebrate and explore Boston’s most vibrant arts community at the Annual SoWa Art Walk. Make the most of this two-day event on your own, with friends or even as a date – it’s free to peruse and makes for a great opportunity to see Boston’s creative economy up close. Perhaps the best date option is perusing studios and galleries this Friday as part of “First Fridays” where each month artist studios and galleries welcome people from 5 – 9PM.
I’d also like to give my friend and Boston-area artist, Evan Rosenberg a shout out and encourage you to stop by and visit his debut showing from his current series, Therapy, which will be at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery’s 450 Harrison Ave showroom on the 3rd floor in studio #307A.
Did you know the SoWa Art & Design District has more than 300 working artists studios, and is the largest concentration of contemporary art galleries in the city? Plan on coming out either Friday evening for First Fridays or for the SoWa Art Walk on Saturday and Sunday.
SoWa Open Market returns on Sunday, May 6, 2018
In four weeks the SoWa Open Market 15th season will open and this year the organizers have announced a new beer hall and taproom, housed in the iconic SoWa Power Station will be a part of the market every Sunday, from May 6 through October 28, 2018. Partnering with the Craft Collective, more than 60 curated “adult beverages” from local breweries will be featured in this year’s “SoWa Beer Barn”. In addition to great beer, there will also be lawn games, live music, yoga classes, and lots of food trucks.
In addition to the new beer hall and food trucks located by the Gaslight parking lot, further up the street the Market will host their weekly farmer’s market as well and continue to feature artisans every Sunday, May 6 – October 28, 2018 from 10 AM – 4 PM.
More information about the SoWa Open Market
It is hard to say which restaurant will be the first to open in Boston’s South End in 2018 but it is interesting that two contenders are restaurants that focus on cuisine south of the Mason-Dixon line, Southern Proper and Bootleg Special.
While Boston has an Italian or French restaurant on what seems like every corner, the city has relatively few restaurants that seek inspiration from the South and even fewer that do it well.Chef Jason Cheek will be opening his restaurant, Southern Proper, at 600 Harrison Avenue in The Girard relatively soon, considering the space has signs saying “Opening Winter 2018”. The new space will include more than 1,500 square feet of dining, bar space and patio seating.
If Cheek’s name rings a bell it might be because he has a distinguished career working at several excellent restaurants including The Maiden, Sam’s at Louis, Coppa and Toro to name just a few.
A restaurant that looking to open even before Southern Proper is the traditional style Louisiana seafood boil, called Bootleg Special, owned by the former Castle Square resident, Stephen Chan. The restaurant’s menu will include items like crawfish poutine, po’boys and beignets.
Southern Proper hopes to get a live music license, which I hope they can get – this city needs more places that offer live music – not fewer and their location on the corner of Tremont and Herald Street means there are very few residents who could / should be impacted.
It is interesting to note that both of these restaurants constitute new space for the South End, adding to the dizzying number of new restaurants that have opened in this tiny downtown neighborhood.
In the case of Southern Proper, it is going into a new mixed-use residential space that previously was a parking lot in SoWa and in the case of Bootleg Special, to my knowledge the space was never a restaurant; previously it had been a dog daycare center.
Rendering via Elkus Manfredi Architects
Newton-based National Development is the real estate developer that built the Ink Block. Earlier this week they proposed building a 14-story residential building on a sliver of land along Albany Street that would either be a part of or abut the Ink Block. The developer describes the potential new building as a 245 “co-living, multifamily” residential building that would be marketed towards Millennials.
The development is being marketed as micro-apartments with many units smaller than 400 square feet that also offers organized social activities (e.g. regular wine tastings, sightseeing tours, etc…) designed to help bring residents together. According to the article on Curbed Boston, the apartments are marketed more as places to sleep, shower and cook the odd meal. Such a set up has zero appeal to me, but I can see how someone who is new to town or is rarely home may like this sort of set up. The project still needs Boston Planning and Development Agency approval. Stay tuned.
In case you missed it, a new (and very cool) park officially opened in the South End this past weekend. Located under the I-93 overpass by the Ink Block, it shows how creatively the city is thinking and how space once unused and unsafe can be transformed.
I first wrote about the park called Underground at the Ink Block or Underground Ink for short in August in this post. Since then, finishing work was done and street artists from all over the United States including Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and Boston were invited to come and bring life to the concrete ramp walls that define this urban park. The developers behind the neighboring Ink Block, National Development, will manage the new park.
Below are photos that I took while enjoying the opening party on Saturday afternoon. When you get a chance I’d recommend you check it out. You can also like the park’s Facebook Page to learn more about upcoming events.
This coming weekend, Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7 be sure to check out the annual SoWa Art Walk from 11:00AM to 5:00PM both days. The art walk will coincide with the SoWa Open, Vintage and Food Market which is now also open both Saturday and Sunday.
The SoWa Art Walk is really an amazing and fun way to spend a few hours of your day perusing art in a variety of mediums and includes hundreds of local artists and artisans (many in their studios located at 450, 460 and 600 Harrison Avenue, 35, 49 and 59 Wareham Street and 46 Waltham Street).
No plans this weekend? Check out the SoWa Open Market on Saturday and Sunday, April 28th and 29th. This year’s market is expanding and will be open both days of the weekend starting tomorrow.
For SoWa Open Market’s opening day they will be hosting the first ever Power Beer Fest, which will include 60+ Mass. brewers. Tickets are $55 a person, and will allow you unlimited two-ounce beer samples from participating breweries. In addition to the Power Beer Fest, the SoWa Open market which spans three blocks along Harrison Avenue, will include:
- SoWa Arts Market: 100+ artisans selling handmade goods, including jewelry, art work, clothing, home goods, photography and more. Located in the parking lot at 450 Harrison Avenue.
- SoWa Farmers Market: A collection of local farmers and bakers, consisting of more than 50 vendors. Located in the parking lot at 500 Harrison Ave.
- SoWa Food Truck Bazaar: 12 of Boston’s food trucks will be on site throughout the season. Located in the parking lot at 540 Harrison Avenue.
- SoWa Beer Garden: Located by the SoWa Food Truck Bazaar includes a rotating selection of craft beers to enjoy all season long.
For more information visit: www.sowaboston.com
The pace of construction in the SoWa district of Boston’s South End neighborhood seems to have quickened recently along Harrison Avenue. Earlier this month the 14-story multi-building complex currently known by its address, 345 Harrison Avenue, topped off.
When construction is completed the complex will include 585 new residential apartments along with 40,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, 275 parking spaces and 325 bicycle spaces. Amenities in the building will also include a resort-style pool, fully equipped fitness center and sky lounge with beautiful views of the city. Below is a rendering of what 345 Harrison will look like when completed. The view is looking north with the Ink Block to the right and behind that I-93 with a barely recognizable and poorly created skyline of Boston’s Financial District off in the distance.
8-acre cultural playground, opening in South End this June
Move over Lawn on D in Southie. You are no longer the coolest park in Boston. The developer of the Ink Block announced last week that a new 8-acre urban park under the I-93 expressway will open this June. Dubbed, “Ink Underground”, this previously unused space that extends east from Albany Street to Fort Point Channel under I-93 will include pedestrian boardwalks and bicycle paths along Fort Point Channel, creating a new, active connection between the rapidly-developing South End and South Boston.
Amenities at Ink Underground will include 24-hour security, a dog park, a curated series of pop-up food and beverage experiences, public art walls, sculpture exhibitions and a diverse program of special events (like the one shown below) including a graffiti art festival, an artisan night market and fitness classes. Additionally, a bike storage facility and 175 parking spaces will be located at Ink Underground.
Like Ink Undeground’s Facebook page to stay up to date with programming and events that will take place in this new public space / park.
A rendering of the plans for the former Boston Flower Exchange in the South End. Source: The Abbey Group
The Abbey Group, which purchased the former Boston Flower Exchange in the South End recently shared their plans for the 5+ acre parcel of land.
The space as they envision it will be transformed into a large commercial office building complex targeting health and technology businesses that would be drawn to the proximity of Boston Medical Center and Boston University Medical School. The new development will create 1.6 million square feet of lab or tech office space with additional plans for open space, restaurants and retail on the ground level. You can read the full article in last week’s Boston Globe, here.
In little more than a month the SoWa Open Market will return to Harrison Avenue, spanning several parking lots from East Berkeley to Waltham Street.
This year the market will be open both Saturday and Sunday, starting April 29th and run through October 29th. The market includes a local artisan market, farmers market, food trucks and last year’s popular craft beer garden.
New England Open Markets website does not make mention of their South End market which last year set up across from the Ink Block. However, their website suggests that they are planning a handful of interesting “pop-up” markets that will take place periodically throughout the summer, starting June 3rd.
June 3 2017 and September 23 2017 from 11AM – 5PM
Off the Wall will feature both local and renowned artists who will transform Ink Underground into a world of uplifting artistic expression. The pop up market is set for both June 3rd and September 23rd from 11AM – 5PM.
June 10 2017 and September 9 2017 from 11AM – 5PM
We Love Local is New England Open Markets salute to local artists and food artisans and entrepreneurs. The program will be hosted at Ink Underground on the corner of Traveler and Albany Street on both June 10th and September 9th.
Night Market at Ink Underground will take place on both June 24th and
September 16th from 5-11PM and will be illuminated by artistic light installations. The Night Market will take place at the new Ink Underground, on the corner of Travelers & Albany Street, in Boston’s South End.