The Baker Polito Administration announced the designation of Leggat McCall Properties (LMP) as the Commonwealth’s partner to redevelop the Charles F. Hurley Building. The project will catalyze substantial economic development on the underutilized and uninviting site with a new life-sciences building, renovated state offices, ground-floor retail, improved public open space, and 200 units of mixed-income housing as part of a dynamic mixed-use development which will enliven and reactivate 5 acres in Downtown Boston.
Building on the Commonwealth’s world-class life sciences sector, the planned development will add good-paying jobs in research and development in state-of-the-art lab space, while contributing to the local ecosystem of innovation and technology. The site is positioned to be an economic driver for the city, state, and region, leveraging its location on Cambridge Street with direct access to the Kendall Square biotech corridor and the Mass General Hospital medical cluster.
“This transformative redevelopment partnership will not only revitalize the Hurley building site, but will also improve the surrounding neighborhood, add much-needed housing, and boost the Commonwealth’s world-class life sciences sector,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We look forward to working with LMP and local partners on this project which will add open public space and improve the pedestrian experience throughout the neighborhood.”
“With the selection of LMP, the Commonwealth is taking the next step in a redevelopment process that will enhance public space, create jobs, and better utilize state assets,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “In selecting Leggat McCall Properties, the Commonwealth has secured a partner that brings valuable expertise in complex urban projects to help us cost-effectively renovate the Hurley building site and better serve the needs of the public.”
LMP will deliver new state office space to the Commonwealth at no upfront cost to help meet the Baker-Polito Administration’s Future of Work standards. The Hurley building currently faces approximately $225 million in deferred maintenance needs, including major energy efficiency upgrades. This project will leverage the value of the proposed life sciences building to offset the Commonwealth’s costs, resulting in a space that is more energy efficient and better suited to modern work standards. The project will be LEED Gold certified and promote decarbonization through energy reduction and recovery.
“This redevelopment represents a substantial cost savings to the Commonwealth,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan. “Leveraging the value of state-owned real estate through a public-private partnership allows us to reduce capital expenditures, address deferred maintenance, improve our public realm, and plan for a more sustainable and prosperous future.”
LMP has proposed substantial restoration and preservation of the Hurley Building, including retaining and complementing large portions of the existing structure while transforming the interior to accommodate new state office space. Overseen by renowned historic preservation architects Beyer Blinder Belle, whose past work includes the revitalization of Grand Central Terminal and the Lincoln Center, the preservation approach honors the mid-century architectural elements of the site while improving its outdated public interfaces.
“This redevelopment offers inspired design solutions and thoughtful adaptations to modernize a site with significant flaws and unlock its full potential as a vibrant destination at the heart of our city, state, and region,” said DCAMM Commissioner Carol Gladstone. “We are excited to be partnering with Leggat McCall Properties to make the most of this generational opportunity to reimagine our urban environment for the benefit of the Commonwealth.”
LMP’s proposal includes a strong plan to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion at the site, and the project team includes women and people of color at all levels, including leadership. The project is expected to include the largest minority capital raise in Boston history at $59 million, led by Alinea Partners. Leggat McCall Properties will offer 14,000 square feet of retail space to Lab Central’s Ignite program which provides skill-building and training opportunities for populations that are underrepresented in the biotech industry. This contribution, valued at $6-$8 million, will take advantage of partnership opportunities with the adjacent life science uses at the redeveloped property and continue the site’s legacy of providing workforce training programs for Commonwealth residents.
“Alinea Capital Partners is pleased to participate in the redevelopment of this iconic real estate asset and establish an unprecedented level of diverse equity participation in the Project,” said Duane Jackson of Alinea Capital Partners, a creator and champion of the ‘Massport Model’ to promote diversity in state procurement. “The Hurley Project establishes a new standard of participation and performance for women and minority-owned firms doing business in the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
The improved site will include ground-floor retail along Staniford Street, significant upgrades to the central plaza, and a new mid-block portal allowing for pedestrians and the public to access and pass through the block more easily. The central plaza, designed by award-winning landscape architecture firm Mikyoung Kim Design, will be transformed into a 21st-century civic space that enhances the city’s walkability, promotes sustainability and environmental resilience, and encourages both passive and active use.
“We’re humbled to be chosen to work with the Commonwealth on this landmark project and look forward to continuing DCAMM’s work with the community to deliver a vital mix of commercial and cultural uses along with improvements and activation to the public realm,” said William Gause, Executive Vice President and Partner of Leggat McCall Properties. “The magnitude of positive impact this project will have on the Commonwealth, the City of Boston, and the surrounding neighborhoods underscores the importance of exceeding the City’s sustainability and resiliency goals for the benefit of future generations. Leggat McCall Properties is truly proud to be part of such a critical public-private endeavor.”
Situated at the crossroads of the West End, Beacon Hill, and Government Center, the 5.5-acre disposition site encompasses the Hurley building and much of the surrounding open space. The Hurley building was completed in 1971 to house labor and workforce development programs as part of the Boston Government Service Center and remains architecturally significant due to its unique mid-century design. The adjacent Lindemann building will not be part of the disposition, although the open spaces throughout the complex will be improved through this project, including Merrimac Plaza.
To inform this RFP process, DCAMM engaged in extensive community outreach, including conversations with local civic associations, public meetings, input from a community advisory group, engagement with historic preservation advocates, and collaboration with state and local officials. Public comment largely focused on the need for street-level activation, human-scale urban design, improved open spaces, sustainability, and a balanced approach to historic preservation. While this proposal addresses each of these elements, it is anticipated that the development will continue to be shaped by public comments and engagement through the City of Boston’s Article 80 review, as well as further state permitting through the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act.
The proposal will now go through regulatory review and permitting and is expected to break ground in 2025.