Lab Space Proposal Recommended to BPDA Board for Building 108

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) will recommend to its Board on Thursday that Power House Partners be designated as the developer of Building 108 in the Navy Yard – the old Power Plant building.

Power Plant was one of two proposals submitted to the BPDA for re-development of the Power Plant, which is one of the last parcels to remain undeveloped in the old Yard. The other proposal came from the developers of the adjacent RopeWalk project, and they suggested more of a residential use to complement their work at the RopeWalk.

Power House Partners is calling for office and/or lab uses on the site.

“The selection committee determined that the proposal submitted by Power House Partners is the most advantageous proposal,” read a memo from the BPDA.

Power House Partners, LLC proposes a 67,000 sq. ft. building with approximately 44,000 RSF of Lab and Research and Development space; 6,100 RSF of retail space to include a restaurant, neighborhood convenience, or coffee shop; and associated building service uses including bicycle parking and trash room. The developer estimates that the project will create approximately 100-125 permanent jobs in addition to the 150 construction jobs over the two-year construction period.

The selection of Power House was based on their ability to execute the project, their exceptional design, their contribution to the public realm, their diversity plan and their strong financial plan.

“The proposed massing is within the volume of the original building, with smaller floor plates on the third and fourth floor to evoke the variety of heights on the original building as additions were constructed over time,” read the memo in favor of Power House Partners. “The design evokes the industrial nature of the Historic Monument Area through materials, massing, and fenestration, while still providing a somewhat contemporary approach…The proposed R&D use builds upon the burgeoning life sciences cluster in the Navy Yard, while the proposed retail meets the needs identified by neighborhood residents and is consistent with achieving a balanced mix of uses per the…Master Plan guidelines.”

The BPDA also credited the group’s experience in developing historic properties within the Navy Yard already. It was believed that the complicated project could most likely be pulled off by this group over the other.

“The development team is composed of members with extensive experience with historic preservation and the specific planning requirements of the CNY,” read the memo. “Geoff Lewis, the managing partner, brings deep knowledge of the Navy Yard planning context. Conroy Development is a development partner and has rehabilitated and converted five historic buildings in CNY.”

The BPDA Board will be expected to vote on the designation at Thursday’s meeting, Feb. 11.

The most difficult part of the development, the clean up of the very toxic former Power Plant, will not be on the shoulders of the developer. That makes the project much more palatable. In fact, the BPDA has already approved a contract in December with S&R Corp. for $5.1 million to clean up the contamination on the site and demolish the old Power Plant. That important work is expected to be completed in early 2022, then paving the way for new development – potentially by Power House Partners.

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