The Future of Boston’s Historic Neighborhood: A Recap of NAIOP’s Panel

This week’s NAIOP panel, The New Shape of Boston’s Historic Neighborhood, gave attendees an exclusive look at the revitalization of one of Boston’s oldest districts. What started in the 1600s as Mill Pond and was later known as the sports hub of Boston with the Garden, is transforming into a vibrant, live work play destination. Moderated by Solomon McCown Senior Vice President Dan Cence, the panel’s dynamic group of speakers included CBT Architects Principal Phil Casey, Related Beal President Kim Sherman Stamler, The HYM Investment Group Founding Partner and Managing Director Thomas O’Brien, and Senior Vice President of Development at Boston Properties Mike Cantalupa.

The event’s biggest takeaway was the remarkable growth this area has seen just in the past 10 years. Since 2008, more than 2,000 residential units have been completed, 200,000 square feet of office space has been built and 300 hotel keys completed. By 2022, those numbers will increase to more than 3,000 residential units, 2M+ square feet of office, and over 1,000 hotel keys. The combination of recently completed projects like Lovejoy Wharf and The Beverly, and transformative developments underway including Hub on Causeway, and Bulfinch Crossing, are delivering an influx of residents, retail and new dining and cocktail spots that will breathe life into this nexus between some of Boston’s most distinct neighborhoods.

What is making this area such a hotspot for developers? As pointed out by Casey, a myriad of factors contributes to the attraction, including proximity to downtown and greenspace such as the Rose Kennedy Greenway, historic character, infrastructure investment and a diverse mix of uses, spanning from entertainment to retail and dining. The completion of the Big Dig unlocked entirely new opportunities, paving the way for Boston’s historic past to meet its burgeoning future, with great opportunity for mixed-use developments and revitalized public spaces.

When asked what the reaction among residents and tenants has been so far, Sherman Stamler noted the appreciation for new residential offerings in a neighborhood that provides everything you need. Cantalupa remarked how this will be the place to draw innovative tech companies, as seen by the future arrival of Rapid7 to Hub on Causeway. Panelists also discussed how the success of the area could not have been possible without the strong collaboration between city and state officials. As noted by O’Brien, this downtown sector hasn’t just come back, it’s become a place to live, and exists because of the foresight and planning put forth by developers and elected officials working together.

All panelists agreed that over the next five to ten years, this neighborhood is the one to watch. There is an evolution unfolding for this critical piece of the city, and we can’t wait to see all the exciting things in store over the next decade.

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