To read SAND's comment letter regarding Lincoln's Notice of Project Change, click here.
To read a thread regarding this project, click here.

Comment 4/15/08

Developer Lincoln Properties is proposing to build an 18,800 square foot rooftop addition on top of two historic industrial wharf buildings on the northeast side of Summer Street -- a street known as "Wool Row" during America's industrial age (actual historic buildings depicted in above cartoon).

The developer is electing to abandon a highly-publicized development proposal that had been approved by the BRA in 2006, which would allow for the rooftop addition while creating 87 residential units, 4 of which would be permanent artist live/work studio space. At that time, the BRA's rationale for approving a two-story rooftop addition on these historic buildings, was to ensure that a residential project at this site was economically viable.

The developer is instead opting to create office space, and has filed a Notice of Project Change with the Boston Redevelopment Authority which, if approved, would allow for the development of the two-story rooftop addition while abandoning the residential and artist live/work goals of the former project.

This week, the developer offered a treasured Fort Point cultural institution 3,500 square feet on a 5-year lease, with two 5-year extensions, at $1 psf, plus buildout costs.

That's terrific news. Thank you. We love Studio Soto and congratulate them on finding a new home.

We remain focused on major, permanent improvements to project in a trajectory with the long-term planning effort we have engaged in with the BRA.

In summary, SAND has asked that the BRA either allow the developer to move forward with the prior-approved residential condominium and live/work studio project, or deny the Notice of Project Change and allow the developer to move forward with "as of right" renovation of these grand historic buildings for Class A or Class B office space with no rooftop addition. This position is not unique to SAND. We believe it is consistent with comments made during the public NPC meeting on March 11, and with a majority of recently filed public comment letters.

To read SAND's public comment letter on this project, click here.


Banker and Tradesman

Lincoln Property Offers Artist Space, Not Housing, In Ft. Point Neighborhood
By Thomas Grillo, Reporter

A developer criticized for not providing housing in Boston's Fort Point Channel neighborhood is offering artists space instead.

Lincoln Property Co. is negotiating with Studio Soto, a gallery/workspace for artists, to take 3,500 square feet at their Summer Street property.

John Cappellano, Lincoln's senior vice president, said the group would occupy space on the lower level for $1 per square foot annually. Lincoln would also provide artists with $50,000 toward renovation of the space.

"We hope the community will be receptive to the idea," said Cappellano.

Valerie Burns, a longtime Fort Point resident, said she supports space for Studio Soto, but it will not solve the district's need for more housing.

"It would be great to have Studio Soto here, they've been a part of the arts community for many years," she said. "But providing gallery space fails to live up to the city's promise to create more housing in our neighborhood."

Lincoln is seeking Boston Redevelopment Authority approval to convert a pair of warehouses at 316-322 Summer St. into 140,000 square feet of office space with ground-floor retail and a rooftop addition. But neighbors protested that the BRA has abandoned the city's vision of a Fort Point district that would include a mixed-use neighborhood anchored by open space and 6 million square feet of development, with at least one-third as housing.

In response to the public outcry, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and BRA Director John F. Palmieri asked Lincoln to reconsider their proposal and add housing.

Palmieri declined comment. In an e-mailed statement, the BRA said they are working with Lincoln on the project.

Jed Speare, Studio Soto's director, also declined to be interviewed. Studio Soto is located on Melcher Street in the Fort Point neighborhood, but was not offered the opportunity to renew their lease with landlord Archon-Goldman, according to the group's Web site.

A statement posted Monday by Speare on the site said they were close to an agreement on a five-year lease in the Summer Street space. "This will be extremely good news for Studio Soto, its audiences and supporters, and the Fort Point community," the statement said.

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