Seaport by Foot: Walking Tour Recap

Every year, NAIOP takes its members on a walking tour that explores the latest real estate development projects in a specific neighborhood. This year, NAIOP members toured the Seaport, where they had the chance to see recently opened buildings and get an invaluable sneak peek of what’s to come. A still evolving neighborhood, the Seaport has seen incredible investment in everything from office and lab space, to residences along the water, and innovative retail. The district is 23-acres of mixed-use zoning, including 10 acres of open space, and has become a new hub of commerce, culture, and innovation in the City of Boston.

Icon Theater

The sold-out walking tour kicked off at the Icon Theater. The group got a lesson on the history of the neighborhood from David Martel of Newmark Knight Frank, and an important reminder that what is happening in the Seaport now is the result of over 30 years of work from visionaries, investors, and developers who came together to transform the Seaport into what it is today. Yanni Tsipis of WS Development discussed the billions of dollars of public investment, including the Harbor cleanup and Big Dig, that catalyzed the growth of the Seaport. He also discussed his firm’s massive, transformative development, Seaport Square, including the forthcoming 88 Seaport, a mixed-use retail and office project, and 111 Harbor Way, future home to Amazon.    

121 Seaport Boulevard

The group then headed to 121 Seaport, home to PTC’s global headquarters and Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Developed by Skanska, the project officially opened earlier this year. Carolyn Desmond of Skanska discussed the development of this 17-story, 450,000 square foot elliptical tower, which included the discovery of a long-buried ship during construction! Marc Margulies of MPA then covered the cutting-edge design of the PTC headquarters.  The building’s unique shape provided increased opportunities to build out a truly unique space for the offices, providing optimal light and functionality.  Attendees then toured the PTC office, including its incredible rooftop terrace.

Photo of 121 Seaport
Bruce T. Martin Photography 508-655-7557 154 East Central St Natick MA 01760

Harbor Way

Outside of 121 Seaport, Martin Zogran from Sasaki discussed his firm’s work to create an expansive public realm program, which weaves together a unique fabric of residences, offices, shops, restaurants, civic uses, and hotels.The master plan is designed to encourage walkability and alternative mobility options with 39% of the total project area being exclusively devoted to pedestrian-only open space. As an example, a tree-lined pedestrian path, Harbor Way, punctuated by plazas and amenity spaces serves as the district’s cultural corridor and north-south connector between the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC). Their work will bring a diverse mix of uses, pedestrian-oriented public space, and greater coherence and connectivity to the Seaport.

Photo of Harbor Way


A quick walk across the street brought attendees to EchelonSeaport. Developer Michael Schumacher of The Cottonwood Group and Phil Casey of CBT gave an overview of this 1.33 million square foot community, featuring two condominium towers and one multifamily tower with 60,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor residential amenity spaces. The design, focused on the intersection of art and commerce through the lens of luxury hospitality, will include significant public space and promises to be a striking addition to the Boston skyline. With amenities for both towers ranging from pools to private dining rooms, EchelonSeaport promises to provide residents with much more than just a place to live.

Rendering of EchelonSeaport

The St. Regis Residences, Boston

Attendees then went to the former Whiskey Priest location, which will soon be the St. Regis Residences, Boston. Sean O’Grady of Cronin Development and Rebecca Eriksen of Elkus Manfredi Architects discussed the project, which broke ground in Fall 2018. The project faced a unique caveat in initial design – the property borders the Harbor on two sides. Rising to the challenge, the latest residential waterfront development in the Seaport promises to evoke nautical themes in every aspect of its architecture and décor. Currently slated to open in early 2021, the 114 residences will provide a highly curated experience, featuring signature design, dramatic views, an 8,000+ square foot bistro with additional terrace space, on-site spa, and other luxury amenities.

Rendering of The St. Regis Residences, Boston

Thomson Place

From there attendees went to the Seaport’s Fort Point Channel, where Jamie Carlin and Paul Connolly of Crosspoint Associates discussed the future of Thomson Place – a renovation and reinvigoration of one of the area’s historic warehouses. Scheduled to open in Fall 2019, the project will include office, retail and mixed-use space. Currently home to Trillium Brewing, Bartaco, and a new public plaza, the project brings new energy to the neighborhood, while preserving its historic character.

Rendering of Thomson Place


The group wrapped up the day at The Grand for a networking cocktail hour sponsored by WS Development. Attendees had the opportunity to chat with brokers, project teams and each other to wrap up a successful tour with a well-deserved cocktail in hand. Plans are already underway for next year’s tour. We look forward to seeing you then!  

The Seaport’s Time Has Come

P1090057For many years, the transformation of the Boston Seaport District into a vibrant mixed-use market seemed to always be decades away. For those of us who participated in the NAIOP Seaport Walking Tour, we know that this massive area across Fort Point Channel is finally living up to the hype.

David Manfredi, Principal at Elkus Manfredi, began the program by describing the development over the last 10 years, which includes 2.3 mm sq. ft. of office, 750 new residences, 1,700 hotel rooms, 40 restaurants & cafes, 3 acres of parks, and the ICA and the convention center. This transformation was enabled, in part, by the massive public sector investment in infrastructure and the success of the pioneering development, including the Federal Court House and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

Anyone who has been down by the waterfront recently knows there is an enormous amount of construction currently underway, including another 1.8 mm sq. ft. of office, 1,100 apartments, 120 hotel rooms, 30k sq. ft. of retail and many more restaurants, and .5 acre of park space. Highlights include:

• Residences at 399 Congress
• Watermark Seaport apartments
• Boston Wharf Tower apartments
• 411 D Street apartments
• Pier 4 Apartments
• Waterside Place mixed use
• Marriott Residence Inn
• A Loft & Element Hotels
• Tavern Rd, Blue Dragon restaurants
• Bee’s Knees store
• One Channel Center (State Street Bank)
• Block L1 Seaport Sq. (Price Waterhouse)
• 49, 51 and 63 Melcher Street offices
• Vertex at Fan Pier
• Channel Center park
• Q park
• District Hall Innovation Center

Upcoming construction includes yet another 1.1 mm sq. ft. of office, 700 residences, 750 hotel rooms, 300k sq. ft. of retail and many more restaurants, as well as an expansion of the BCEC.

Thousands of new employees will be working in this district, with a likely significant number choosing to live in the area, and all of them spending at least some time in the many restaurants and shops along the waterfront. The need for diversity, options and vitality in this mixed-use area is clear. There is probably more happening in the Seaport District right now than in any other area in Massachusetts (or in any other major metropolitan area across the country, for that matter), and it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon.

View photos from the event.