Boston Properties Aims to Build Mixed-Use ‘Urban Campus’ to Central SoMa

Boston Properties, SoMa, Office, Retail

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By Nancy Amdur

Boston Properties is adding itself to the list of developers seeking to stir more office and retail space into the city’s Central South of Market district. The Boston-based real estate investment trust recently submitted an application to the city looking to add an approximately 1-million-square-foot mixed-use project at Fourth and Harrison streets.

[contextly_sidebar id=”dZ51JzjN1Za7ZO04GB3gpCdgDobRUyye”]Plans call for the 2.3-acre site to feature an office-and-retail complex with three building components accented by a 240-foot tower. The property would comprise 907,300 square feet of office, 9,900 square feet of retail and 54,000 square feet of “flex” space on the ground floor, which could be used for light industrial or neighborhood retail space, said Michael Tymoff, senior project manager at Boston Properties. A 135,000-square-foot parking garage also is included.

“We think of this as an urban campus that would be attractive to the technology tenant that more traditionally has larger spread-out campus environments in the South Bay,” Tymoff said.

Boston Properties, which also is developing what will be the city’s tallest building — the 61-story Salesforce Tower at 415 Mission St., expects that the Fourth and Harrison property’s location and design by architecture firm HOK will help the project stand apart from a growing array of other area project proposals, Tymoff said.

The site is one block from a future Central Subway stop and just off Highway 101, providing high visibility from the freeway. Also, the property was designed to reflect the character of the SoMa district and its industrial history, he said.

Technology companies likely would be drawn to the space as plans include a five-story podium building with large 90,000-square-foot floor plates, a feature desired by many tech companies, but which is difficult to find in the city, Tymoff said.

The project can be broken into three parts: a 65-foot podium building; an approximately 130-foot building on the end of the site near Third Street; and the 240-foot tower featuring roughly 22,000-square-foot floor plates.
“We think it’s going to provide a nice visual identity from the branding perspective for tenants,” he said.

Amenities include public open space carved out of the podium building and indoor privately owned, publicly accessible open space at the corner of Fourth and Harrison that would be accented by retail. A private rooftop terrace on top of the podium would be for tenants’ use.

The city will prepare an environmental impact report for the project, and the company looks to begin construction in summer 2016.

Proposition M limits the amount of new office space that can be built in the city, and Tymoff said the company is watching “closely” as the city evaluates the plan’s objectives and criteria used for projects to be approved.

Expected land use and building height and density changes in the city’s soon-to-be updated Central SoMa Plan have helped spur much development activity in the district. Other projects proposed in the neighborhood include Alexandria Real Estate Equities and TMG’s plan for a mixed-use property with about 370,000 square feet of office space at the Bay Club San Francisco Tennis facility at 645 Fifth St. Kitty-corner from that location, Kilroy Realty Corp. outlined a plan to transform the Flower Mart into a mixed-use property with 1.5 million square feet of office space.

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