First of all, happy 2014. I can say that since it’s still January, right?
Last few months have been busy. Really busy. But we are working on some great projects and starting to feel out some new territory outside of Boston/Cambridge. 2014 will bring gigs in Somerville, NYC, Philly and Raleigh. Yeah, Raleigh. 2014 is also bringing our core team of full-timers from 2 to 3 and I expect our part-timer/consultant roster to double. New hire, Gustavo, comes on board Feb 5th and it’s reason for a separate and proper intro post. Stay tuned for that ramble. For now though, I want to close out 2013 by sharing some pics and brief notes from 5 of the projects we completed last year that I find myself talking about most often so far in 2014. In no particular order, here they are:
1) Midway Studios (Boston – Fort Point Channel)
We took on a 25,000 SF assignment at Midway Studios in 2012 on behalf of a great ownership team with a lot of different stake-holders and unique challenges. It took a year to get our bearings (and get a feel for what the n’hood and City wanted) but in 2013 we got three proper deals done. The pic above is of The Club by George Foreman III, which opened its doors on Jan 2nd. It’s a great use of a challenging but beautiful two-story brick-and-beam space that sat vacant for too many years. We also leased a few thousand SF to our architect/designer pals Studio Troika and to the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston. This combo of arts, boxing/fitness and non-profit uses at the building is exciting and is reflective of both the evolution and roots of the neighborhood.
2) Commonwealth (Cambridge – Kendall Sq)
Kendall Square finally got its market and along with it a special restaurant run by Chef Steve “Nookie” Postal. I’ve talked a lot about this project with many of you and there has certainly been a lot of press of late on the opening. Nookie has quickly become one of Kendall Square’s best booster and he is the exact sort of driven, talented and boisterous chef every emerging neighborhood needs. Get to Commonwealth if you haven’t been yet. Food is killer. And make sure to get dessert. Client on this one was Principal Real Estate Investors, who with Twining Properties own all 35,000 SF of retail along Broad Canal Way. Of all this space we only have 2,000 SF left. Call Dave for details. It’s right between Cambridge Spirits and Kika.
3) Tatte 3 (Cambridge – Kendall Square)
This project started as a consulting gig for Deutsche Asset & Wealth / RREEF in which GSP was tasked with figuring out what on earth to do with a sub-par corporate cafe in a tough location at 101 Main Street in Cambridge. The outcome of our study was the realization that we needed to keep the premises as a food service use and that we would have to be extremely creative in finding a tenant that could use all 3,000+ SF but not all as a cafe (the conditions just didn’t exist for a 3,600 SF restaurant here). It just so happened that Tatte Bakery & Cafe, who we brought to Kendall Square a few years ago, had the need for a commercial kitchen and Tzurit also had an cool idea for a show-kitchen where she could run classes… We were willing to give her this if she was willing to keep part of the space as a cafe, which would serve as an amenity to RREEF’s tenants in 101 and One Main… Tatte opened it’s doors here in December. Tenants love it. It’s a beautiful looking cafe. And classes start in March!!
4) MIT Kendall Square Zoning Petition (Cambridge – Kendall Sq)
In April MIT finally got City Council approval on its zoning petition for the (re)development of some 26 acres in Kendall Square. For the few years prior I worked with MIT and its team of consultants on the concepting, imagining and strategy for the retail and ground floor elements of the project. This involved many dozens of community meetings, City hearings and strategy sessions. The outcome of this very involved process was a plan and vision that combined a lot of really smart stuff from a range of interested parties in the community, from MIT and the City of Cambridge. I learned more from this project than any other over the past few years and the experience will fuel lots of GSP’s work in 2014 and beyond.
5) District Hall aka Boston Innovation Center (Boston – Seaport / “Innovation District”)
When the Cambridge Innovation Center team asked Dave and I to help with the strategy, recruiting and leasing of the food and beverage piece of what was then being called the Boston Innovation Center we knew it was a big lift — we needed a well-capitalized group with vision, flexibility and experience to come into a brand new n’hood in a building with a lot of complex issues and some unique programming requirements. We settled on what I believe is the best run restaurant group in Boston: The Briar Group. They embraced the overall vision and challenges in a way that impressed all and opened Gather (resto/bar) and Brew (cafe) in the Fall, which not only makes District Hall a better place but makes the proposition that this n’hood is indeed the “Innovation District” way more believable.
So that’s it. Our version of a top 5 from 2013. Next stop, 2014.