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This story ran on page C3 of the Boston Globe on 9/25/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

Beacon Capital's Midway project rechristened as Channel Center
By Thomas C. Palmer Jr., Globe Staff, 9/25/2002

It isn't built yet, but as of today it has a new name.

''Midway,'' Beacon Capital's $350 million mixed-use project about to break ground on the edge of South Boston, is now ''Channel Center.''

A spokesman for the company confirmed yesterday that the new name, chosen because of the proximity of the development to the historic Fort Point Channel, will be announced at this morning's National Association of Industrial and Office Properties breakfast meeting at the Seaport Hotel.

It is not, emphasized the spokesman, being named after the Channel, the waterfront nightclub on Necco Place that went into bankruptcy in 1990 after many raucous years of providing what one owner called ''Boston's best live rock.''

Beacon Capital has all the necessary permits, plus financing, to begin constructing 1.55 million square feet of office, residential, and retail space along A and Midway streets over the next three to five years. About 20 Boston Wharf buildings will be revived, three demolished, and two circular glass office buildings built across from the Gillette Co. complex.

Of 455 planned residential units, 130 will be reserved for artists' live-work space. Beacon Capital recently shaved some of its planned office space and added more residential units.

But the name Midway, taken from a street between the two rows of buildings that are being preserved, was not considered distinctive enough for an area with a rich industrial past, according to the company spokesman, who asked not to be named.

So Beacon Capital officials hired a marketing firm, Via Group of Portland, Maine, to research the colorful history of the area and help them come up with a more appropriate name. Some 200 possibilities were considered, and Channel Center it was.

''I could live with that,'' said Becky Dwyer, an artist and longtime A Street resident, who didn'tmind the name Midway. ''Too bad it doesn't have `Fort Point' in it somewhere. But at least they didn't call it `Far Oaks' or something.''

Demolition is now taking place in the four- and five-story brick buildings, and construction is expected to start in October.

The Fort Point Channel District is the subject of a 100-acre Boston Redevelopment Authority planning initiative.

Home to many artists as well as to Gillette's World Shaving Headquarters, the area was the site over the last 200 years of many water-dependent industries: a foundry, sugar and molasses refining, wool, and shipping and receiving of coal, lumber, cement, leather, beer, and ice.

Dwyer said she expected no ''hue and cry'' about the new name. And she's not surprised developer Beacon Capital prefers it.

Though neighbors are mostly happy with the project in its final form, there were spirited discussions about density and artists' space during the permitting process, some facetiously recalling World War II.

''At the very beginning there were quite a few references to the `Battle of Midway,''' Dwyer said.

Thomas C. Palmer Jr. can be reached at

This story ran on page C3 of the Boston Globe on 9/25/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

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