Tuesday, November 17, 2015

$281M Seaport Office Tower Will Redefine Skyline

Skanska has broken ground for construction of 121 Seaport Boulevard, a building unlike any of its neighbors — a sleek oval-shaped tower set at a diagonal to the street. The Swedish construction giant broke ground last week at Parcel L2 in Boston's Seaport Square, for a 17-story, elliptical office tower designed by CBT Architects. The 425,000 square foot structure is designed to pop out from the bland and homogenous, rectangular buildings surrounding it. 

The building's design is a response to a call by Mayor Martin Walsh for developers to come up with new and innovative looks for their buildings.

121 Seaport is curved on its sides, with a flat face above its angled entrance, and is set on a more traditional block-shaped base that will have stores and other retail. The top of the base flares out from the tower above it and will host an elevated outdoor deck and landscaping.

The curved shape of the new tower will create work spaces that are better suited for collaboration because there will no corner offices, according to CBT Architects in Boston, which designed the building.

That could help attract a wider range of tenants. It’s also set up to maximize views of Boston Harbor, allow natural light deeper into the interior, and minimize shadows on a new park below.

The building’s design is also practical: The MBTA Silver Line tunnel runs under the northeast corner of the property, limiting how much Skanska could build over it. Also, the Seaport District has a height limit of 250 feet because of flight paths for Logan Airport.

121 Seaport Boulevard is unusual by another measure: Skanska is building it “on spec,” or without having a tenant before beginning construction, and the construction giant is financing the $281 million project itself.

It’s also launching the project as prices for top-end space in the Seaport are not rising as fast as just a year ago; rents average $59 per square foot for Class A space.

Meanwhile, the Seaport is expected to have an additional 1 million square feet of new construction coming onto the market in just the next year, and even more soon after that.

The developer was confident the distinctive building won’t have trouble filling up long before its scheduled opening in January 2018.