Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blog Post No. 2011-14: Shedding light on the boiler room...

...has to be one of the keys to making it at least potentially rentable in today's economy

1 - Looking down Federal to Franklin Street.

2 - Looking from the corner of Franklin and Federal.

3 - Looking up from Federal Street.

Year of Urban Fabric Restoration: 2011.

The Story: As the economy continues its slow recovery, we have another of those small, incremental changes here, and one that doesn't even rate a RTUF sketch because there is no hole being filled in this time. What we do have, however, is a rather helpful daylighting of what used to be the "boiler room" space at One Federal Street. This 39-story skyscraper was built in 1975 as the headquarters for Shawmut Bank. Back in the day, a headquarters bank building like this filled its lower floors with back office services and gave the upper floors to the executive ranks. When it was built, One Federal didn't even bother giving the first three floors above the lobby atrium windows. Instead, those floors were a solid slab of concrete curtain wall all the way around the block. Working in there must have been a fairly grim existence. Fast forward 36 years, and the back office space is now long gone, as is Shawmut Bank (having been gobbled up by Fleet Bank in the mid-1990s, and FleetBoston (resulting from the merger of Fleet with the First National Bank of Boston) was itself gobbled up by Bank of America in 2004). The kinds of functions that used to occupy floors 5-7 migrated out into the region's suburbs long ago. So, Tishman Speyer, the building's owners, have apparently decided that they aren't going to find anyone willing to take the space unless they give it at least daylight, even if they can't give it soaring views. It's hard to picture this space occupied even in boom times, and we are definitely not in boom times. Hence, in the last several months, up went the scaffolding and out came the concrete, replaced now by three stories of windows. I'm somewhat intrigued by the fact that Tishman doesn't seem to have a tenant signed up for the space they've suddenly greatly improved (landlords don't typically make money by making improvements to space that isn't occupied or about to be occupied by a tenant who will flow some cash). But I thank them anyway for opening up the lower floors of the building. Even though it's not at the street level, replacing the blank walls with windows is a step in the right direction and adds to the streetscape on all four sides of the building. 

1 comment:

  1. The neighborhood looks lovely. I wouldn't be surprised if it's got no spaces for new tenants anymore. Commercial Property for Rent