This story ran on page D3 of the Boston Globe on 11/20/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.

Postal Service offers plan for development
Outlines concept for potential reuse of S. Boston land

By Michael Rosenwald, Globe Staff, 11/20/2001

Postal Service representatives in Boston last week detailed plans to city officials for a mixed-use development along Fort Point Channel that would be nearly 1 million square feet bigger than Fan Pier, the largest private development in city history.

The plans, part of the city's effort to create a master design for the Fort Point Channel area, cover 21 acres the Postal Service owns near A Street in South Boston. Some 1.5 million square feet would be residential housing; 2.2 million square feet would be used for commercial and civic uses.

The Fort Point Channel area is a key development zone, given its proximity to the new convention center, which is under construction.

James Travers, of CB Richard Ellis/Whittier Partners, which is advising the Postal Service, cautioned that the agency had no interest in actually developing the land, but needed to create a vision of its ''potential reuse'' for the day it comes up for sale.

The Postal Service's land is used as parking for its main facility, the South Boston Postal Annex near South Station, on the other side of the channel. Postal Service officials have expressed their desire to one day move out of that facility and build a new site a mile away.

When that happens, Travers said, the Postal Service would no longer need the 21 acres and would offer it up for sale.

City officials said the Postal Service needed to get a vision for the land on record and into the master plan for the area. Whoever purchases the land - be it one developer or five - would have to build according to the general outline on record.

About 40 percent of the 3.8 million-square-foot development would be residential, said Linda Haar, the city's director of planning and development. It is not clear how the housing would be broken down between rental and condominiums, she said.

The rest of space would be used for a variety of commercial, retail, and civic uses.

Seven of the 21 acres would be open space.

''This is a basic concept,'' Haar said. ''This is not something that is going to happen overnight.''

Another significant part of the master plan is Beacon Capital's effort to rehabilitate warehouses along Midway and A streets. Beacon's mixed-use plan of residences, offices, retail, and artist space comes up for city approval on Dec. 6.

Michael Rosenwald can be reached by e-mail at mrosenwald@globe.com.

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