Vertex’s decision to leave Cambridge Slingshots 30-year effort to redevelop Fan Pier

Building in Boston back on track

By Jerry Kronenberg  Article Courtesy of:

Vertext Pharmaceuticals Boston, MA

The Hub’s long chilly commercial real estate market began showing signs of warming up in 2011, with major projects from Eastie to Southie either publicly announced, under construction or completed.

“We’re in pretty good shape,” Boston Redevelopment Authority Director Peter Meade told the Herald.

“We broke ground on 1,000 units of housing (in 2011) — and the last time we did that was in 2006.”

Meade sees June’s groundbreaking of Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ new headquarters at South Boston’s Fan Pier as perhaps 2011’s biggest achievement.

Vertex’s decision to leave Cambridge and sign a $1.1 billion South Boston lease represents the climax of a 30-year effort to redevelop Fan Pier.

The groundbreaking also kick-starts Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s plan to turn South Boston’s waterfront into an “Innovation District” of tech firms, housing, restaurants and shops aimed at young workers.

“Once Vertex broke ground, people began to understand that the Innovation District is really happening,” said Meade, who joined the BRA in May.

Still, other problems remain for Hub commercial real estate.

Suffolk Construction chief John Fish, who’s currently building the Theater District’s $220 million Hayward Place and the $170 million Kensington residential complexes, expects a “relatively flat” market for Boston office space throughout 2012.

“Class A space will continue to attract positive numbers, but the B+, B- space will continue to struggle,” he said.

That said, several major Hub projects either moved forward or opened for business in 2011, including:

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