The new lab space at Hood Park is leasing at a brisk pace, and another lab space company has just signed a lease this week to occupy most of the DHL building on the campus – marking what appears to be success for moving forward on several pieces of the project through the pandemic.
Mark Rosenshein, of Trademark Partners, appeared at the Charlestown Neighborhood Council (CNC) on Tuesday night to deliver a report on Hood, which is currently pushing ahead on construction of several of the amenities to their campus plan – after having finished The Harvey residential building in late 2019 and the Office/Parking Garage last summer.
Most important was the fact that much of the lab space – a new venture for Hood – has been leased at 100 Hood Park Drive, 500 West and 500 South. Most importantly, that includes 60,000 sq. ft. of lab space in the new parking garage that is now completely leased and full only months after completion.
Additionally, the DHL building at 500 West just signed a lease for more lab space, he said.
“The DHL building at 500 West will have a new façade and new windows cut in it,” he said. “We just contracted with a lab company to lease two-thirds of that space.”
Rosenshein said they are a new entity in the lab space world, and because of that they can offer lower prices than Kendall Square and Cambridge lab spaces. That is drawing tenants to the property, he said, but they do tend to be pioneers due to the unproven location.
“We’re getting good response to the market from lab companies and other folks that don’t want to pay the prices that are in Kendall Square now,” he said. “We are a half-mile away from MIT and some say why not pay less and still be that close…With the new leases in place, we want to start the new (office) building (at 10 Stack Street) by the end of the year. We wanted to be 100 percent fully leased by the fall.”
He said it has taken some work, but the Kaneb Family has been patient and believes the market for lab and office space on Rutherford Avenue will only take off. That is why, despite the pandemic, they have moved forward and are looking to continue forward with 10 Stack Street and other parts of the campus.
“I don’t want to make it sound like this was easy,” he said. “We are brand new. We’re just at the beginning of the curve to convince people that Hood Park is a place you want to grow your company. There is a price point difference, but there is some hesitation out there because there is a reason for the price point difference. There is some convincing that has to be done.”
Rosenshein said later this year they would begin engaging the community on the next part of the development puzzle, and that is a 154,000 sq. ft. addition to the top of the recently-completed parking garage. That would turn the garage into a much larger building and would offer more lab and office space. It wouldn’t hit construction until after the 10 Stack St. office tower is completed and occupied – meaning it will be several years off before that starts.
“That will be the next piece in the development plans,” he said.
Meanwhile, through the summer and fall, construction crews have kept busy working on the amenities at the eastern end of the site. Those upcoming completions include:
•The 6 Stack Street bicycle parking garage/public bathroom – the first of its kind in the city – is slated to be completed by May.
•The 500 Rutherford South Plaza is under construction and would also be completed in May. That contains vast amounts of open space, a pond feature and a water/spray deck. That is all open to the public.
•The new signalized crossing of Rutherford Avenue from mainland Charlestown is also going to be installed and completed in the spring. He said they have the permits and the go-ahead from the City. They will be able to start construction when the freeze on street opening permits is lifted. The crossing will allow pedestrians to stop traffic on Rutherford in order to cross in either direction.
•A new retail offering in the summer of 2021 will be a 4,000 sq. ft. bicycle shop from an established and experienced owner in the Greater Boston area. It could even be open by spring, he said.