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© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.
Published in The Boston Globe on August 13, 2004

Fan Pier developer vowing to 'keep faith'
Lennar will buy waterfront site, promises mixed use
By Chris Reidy, Globe Staff

The Florida team that agreed to buy Fan Pier yesterday promised to "keep faith" with the city's vision for the development of one of Boston's premier waterfront sites.

As the Pritzker family confirmed the deal for the 21-acre site with Lennar Corp. yesterday, the $9 billion, publicly traded home builder vowed to build housing, a hotel, a new home for the Institute of Contemporary Art, retail and public parks on what is now a giant parking lot overlooking Boston Harbor.

"We will honor the vision already in place," said Lennar chief executive Stuart Miller.

No purchase price was disclosed for a transaction expected to close in October, though people familiar with the bidding said the price is about $125 million, several million dollars lower than early reports of the agreement.

Nicholas Pritzker, chairman of Hyatt Development Corp., was not granting interviews yesterday, aides said, so he could not be asked why he deemed Lennar's bid superior to those close in dollar amounts offered by teams with local ties, one led by the real estate arm of Fidelity Investments, the other by mall developer Stephen R. Karp.

"Lennar's significant experience in developing mixed-use projects will expedite the transformation of this extraordinary area into a diverse, vibrant place to work and live," Pritzker said in a statement.

Fidelity spokesman John Brockelman said, "While we are not familiar with Lennar's specific plans for the Fan Pier, we welcome their efforts to continue the revitalization of the Seaport District." Karp could not be reached to comment.

Lennar's partners in the proposed Fan Pier sale are LNR Property Corp. and Turnberry Associates, a Florida company whose expertise includes building luxury condo towers.

A company that started in 1954 as a small Miami home builder, Lennar expanded into commercial projects in the late 1980s, Miller said. In 1997, the commercial side of the business was spun off into a separate company, LNR.

LNR is the master developer for plans to redevelop the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station. LNR has also worked on redeveloping several former military bases in California, said David S. Hall, who heads LNR's Northeast office.

Mix Lennar's ability to adapt to local markets with LNR's experience in large mixed-use projects and Turnberry's work in luxury condos, and what emerges is an "ideal combination," Hall said.

To become one of the largest home builders in the country, with projects from New Jersey to California, Lennar had to become skilled at not coming across as the big outsider, Miller suggested. "We do not try to bring something from Miami to a new community," he said. "We try to employ local expertise. We value continuity."

With Fan Pier, the plan would be to work with local specialists, and Lennar's role would be to "become more of a financial reservoir from Miami to support them," Miller said. As for what Fan Pier might look like and when construction might start, Miller said it was too early to say.

Chris Reidy can be reached at

© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

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