Builder (FB)eyes Southie
Ex-BRA boss is consultant

By Scott Van Voorhis
Boston Herald Business Reporter

A development team featuring a former Boston Redevelopment Authority chief has emerged as a top contender to build the FBI a new Boston headquarters.

Former BRA boss Robert Walsh is working as a consultant on a proposal by a Connecticut developer to build a new 300,000-square-foot, high-security FBI fortress in South Boston’s Fort Point section.

Richard Galvin, president of Commonwealth Ventures, confirmed his interest in the project and his hiring of Walsh, who has spent years in the private sector in development and construction management.

Galvin, who recently acquired the Channel Center development project in Fort Point, said he has proposed building the FBI headquarters on two development lots previously approved by the city for a pair of office buildings.

He added that Walsh, who worked as a consultant for Beacon Capital, the site’s original developer, was a natural fit.

“As far as I am concerned, he brings a lot to the table beyond the government experience that is particularly relevant to what we want to do there,” Galvin said.

However, Galvin’s proposal is already running into some opposition. Concerns are being raised about the plan to place an FBI complex close to the residential community that is growing amid Fort Point’s historic, Victorian era warehouse buildings.

The FBI headquarters would take shape just down the street from a new luxury condo tower and an old warehouse building converted into artists‚ housing, both built during the first phase of the Channel Center plan.

“This isn’t about what they (the developers) want,” said City Councilor Michael Flaherty. “This is about proper planning and identifying the best use for the neighborhood.”

The proposal also drew pointed comments from Valerie Burns, a longtime Fort Point resident and activist.

“It’s hard for me to imagine the FBI headquarters fits in with the 24 hours, live-work, very active neighborhood that Fort Point has been envisioned and planned for,” Burns said. “I am kind of stumped.”

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