News

January 18, 2006

New Condo Developers Will Test Convention Wisdom

Boston Herald

Boston’s glitzy new convention center was built to wow trade show executives, but it is proving to be a big hit with another type of business player altogether — condo developers.

The real estate arm of New York-based Hypo bank has filed plans with City Hall to convert South Boston’s Fargo building — a former military complex just across the street from the new Boston Convention & Exhibition Center — into 263 mid-market condos, offices and retail shops.

The giant meeting hall, in turn, has become the centerpiece of a city drive to redevelop the South Boston waterfront.

“There is a coolness factor here,” said James Rooney, chief executive of the state authority that runs the new center. “It’s not traditional Boston. . . . It’s the new emerging place.”  Hypo isn’t alone.

A trio of other developers are also drawing up plans for condo projects that will come with generous views of the sleekly modern, $800 million-plus convention center.

Intercontinental Development, a real estate firm owned by Boston’s Palandjian real estate family, is drawing up plans for hundreds of condos in a high-rise complex near the hall on D Street.

Meanwhile, John Drew, Fidelity’s development partner in the World Trade Center complex, is pushing ahead with plans for Waterside Place — a mixed-use retail, condo and hotel complex that would take shape across the street from the convention center’s Summer Street front door.

And more competition is on the way, with a group of out-of-town housing developers eyeing yet another site on the convention center’s perimeter — also off D Street, executives said.