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.
This past week the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved two more real estate projects in the South End’s SoWa district that combined will result in bringing more than 970 new residential units to Harrison Ave.
The first and larger development is The Harrison Albany Block, (shown above from Albany Street), it will include 650 residential units and span from Harrison Avenue to Albany Street between East Canton and East Dedham streets.
Aerial view of The Harrison Albany block
The large development will include three levels of below grade parking garage, 29,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space and 65 affordable units (with some designated specifically for working artists). In addition, the developers will pay into a BPDA fund to purchase or subsidize another 65 units someplace else. Originally proposed as a 710 unit development back in the fall of 2015 modest reductions were made in response to neighborhood concerns.
370-380 Harrison Avenue
The second residential complex approved by the BPDA this past week is for the 370-380 Harrison project, which will include 92 condos and 232 apartments that will be built on the site of the former Quinzani Bakery and Ho Kong Bean Sprout Co. next to the Ink Block. The developer has committed to ensuring at least 20% of the units will be marketed as affordable.
Similar to the Harrison Albany Block, the 370-380 Harrison Ave. project has scaled back slightly from the original proposal shared last March, which initially proposed 280 residential units. It is unclear if their original proposal of including 180 parking spaces and commercial space were changed.
The Girard at 600 Harrison Avenue recently opened in the South End
There has been a lot of construction in Boston’s South End lately with much of the development taking place in a section of the neighborhood referred to as SoWa (South of Washington Street).
Below is a roundup of much of the development activity in the neighborhood.
AC Hotel South End – 273 Albany Street Construction on this 200-room AC Hotel by Marriott started in February 2016 next to the Ink Block Development. The hotel’s ground floor will host a number of amenities including a bar and lounge area, a fitness center, an indoor pool, conference rooms and more. The six story building is expected (but we will see) to complete construction by the end of this year.
The Factory at 46 Wareham – 46 Wareham Street Construction started on this mixed use building in November 2015. The project will restore the facade of an existing historic industrial building and construct a new addition to create condominiums as well as 30,000+ square feet of office space. Originally scheduled to open in the summer of 2017 the timeline seems ambitious but progress has clearly been made.
345 Harrison Avenue Construction on the two 14-story residential buildings that comprise this new development in the South End started in March 2016. The development is expected to include 585 residential units, 275 parking spaces, 325 bicycle spaces as well as 40,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. Located across from the Ink Block Development this is one of several new construction projects that is transforming the neighborhood by converting under-used or vacant space into vibrant residential complexes. 345 Harrison is expected to complete construction by the end of 2018.
The Lucas – 136 Shawmut Avenue Construction on this unique 33-unit residential building repurposes what was a vacant German Catholic church into a modern luxury condominium. While construction started in October of 2015, no date of completion has been provided, but word on the street is that this will not be finished before the end of this year – possibly early 2018.
370-380 Harrison Avenue Construction has yet to begin on this project as plans await approval after some positive initial feedback. It was last January that plans were initially shared which would demolish the Quinzani Bakery and Ho Kong Bean Sprout Co. on the corner of Harrison Avenue and East Berkeley Streets to create a 300,000 square-foot housing and retail project with 180 parking spaces.
Source for construction updates: bldup.com
The Harrison Albany block will include 650 new residential units
The Harrison / Albany block residential project has been modified according to an article in last week’s The Boston Sun. Developers have indicated they will reduce the number of units from 687 to 650 so they can reduce the height of some of the buildings. They will also slightly decrease the size of the parking garage from 700 to 450 spaces with the ability to increase that number to 650 spaces if stackers are used. The most drastic change is the 575 Albany Street building will now be six stories tall (not ten stories as initially proposed).
The developers have hired traffic engineers to evaluate the impact on the neighborhood. However, if there is a concern about the impact of traffic then I think the answer is to bring more reliable public transportation to the neighborhood; not restricting new developments in a downtown neighborhood where there is already a shortage of housing. These new residential buildings are literally across from I-93 and blocks from I-90, making it ideally situated. It is not the developers or neighborhoods fault the city is failing at providing adequate public transportation to alleviate surface traffic.
You can read more about this large development on the BRA website here and the real estate website Bldup has a lot of information available here.
It seems like it was just a few weeks ago that I was writing that the South End and SoWa Open Markets were opening for the season, but the reality is it has been six months and tomorrow, Sunday, October 30th marks the last market of the season. Both markets have continued to thrive and had a stellar year.
South End Open Market and the SOWA Market are separated by 3 blocks and are open from 10 AM – 4PM. Come over to the neighborhood and check them out before they close up for the season.