Despite the COVID-19 shutdowns in construction and life in general, progress on the Hood Park campus has motored on after about a two-month shutdown – with many exciting developments now in store for the campus.
Chris Kaneb of Hood Park announced that the new parking garage and office/lab space is progressing quickly, and the garage section has a temporary occupancy permit while they also now begin to market some 55,000 sq. ft. of office and lab space on the second floor of the striking structure.
As parking garages go, there usually isn’t too much to it, but the new garage on the Hood Park campus has a very unique design, and it is integrated into a large plan with outstanding open spaces and office and retail included.
“We do have a temporary occupancy permit for the garage,” he said. “There will be a lot more use of the garage as a primary parking location for the campus and long-term as the primary parking location for the campus. We’re a few weeks away from completion. It’s five levels of parking. There was a little bit of disruption for COVID-19. We had to put construction activity on hold for close to two months.”
One of the interesting visions on the garage is that it has flat plates so that, in the future if parking is not as necessary, it can be converted into an indoor space.
“In 20 or 30 years from now, if the parking demand is drastically lower in Boston, we have the ability to convert these floorplates,” he said.
The second floor of the garage is actually a very high-end office and lab space that currently is being worked on and doesn’t yet have a tenant. Kaneb said they are just now marketing it.
“It’s being marketed now and we’ve had a fair amount of interest from potential lab and office uses,” he said. “It has some pretty amazing views.”
There are also some very nice retail opportunities on the ground floor, as well as an office location on the western end of the garage. The retail opportunities would be a great location in the future as they would face out on what is going to be a vertically-planned green space with access from the neighborhood. As part of the licensing process, Hood Park will create a dedicated and safe crossing from the neighborhood over to the new open space.
“We don’t have anything planned now for the retail, but we’re open to a lot of different uses,” he said. “The open space is going to be very exciting. We’re hoping to program it with community events. It could be a concert or kids games or a Food Truck Festival. We want it to be an active space…We want a two-way interaction with the neighborhood.”
At the moment, heavy construction is going on to create the what will be a hidden bike shop and bike storage building – a structure that will be tucked under a slope of the new green space. That will be followed by a year-round water structure and other open space elements with landscaping and hardscape.
That structure and the accompanying open space will serve as the centerpiece on the eastern side of the campus prior to the larger plans for Hood Green on the west side of the campus in the future.
The new Harvey apartment building has been open about one year and leasing is going very well, and Kaneb announced two new and exciting retail tenants for the ground-floor spaces.
They have about 80 percent occupancy right now of their apartment units, which opened in August 2019. They are continuing to get new leases he said, but they are also now adding two new retail tenants.
The first tenant is a restaurant called Tradesman, which will be a coffee shop, and restaurant/bar concept. The company has an existing location downtown, and this will be an expansion of that location. Kaneb said he expects they will be ready to open for business sometime in early 2021.
Meanwhile, Element Salon – now on Main Street – has signed a lease in The Harvey to re-locate on Hood Park campus, opening later this summer. They currently occupy 81 Main St.
Indigo Headquarters Tower Not in the Cards Right Now
The rush was on prior to COVID-19 to get a new tower built to house the headquarters of the Indigo Agricultural company that currently occupies a good deal of the space in Hood Park for its labs and operations.
That was one of the main thrusts of the plan to expand Hood Park in the early phases, introducing the new building behind the Hood stack and next to the bike shop/storage facility. A building permit was planned to be pulled this summer.
However, Chris Kaneb of Hood Park said those plans have changed for the time being.
“That’s not really necessary at this time,” he said. “The market demand is in such a way it isn’t possible now.”
An Indigo spokesperson said they had no comment on the matter now.