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News release

BOSTON, MA

Related Beal Launches Congress Square, the reinvention of an entire city block in Boston’s Downtown

Arrowstreet, JLL and CBRE/GRA Tapped to Partner with Related Beal on the Creation and Leasing of the Contemporary, Dynamic Mixed-use Destination in the Financial District


BOSTON, MA – (September 8, 2014) – Related Beal announced today the launch of Congress Square, formerly known as “The Block on Congress.” Related Beal acquired the properties in 2013 and is repositioning and reinventing the entire city block in the heart of downtown Boston, creating dynamic office space and marquee, desirable retail. Related Beal has enlisted Arrowstreet to serve as the architect and to redesign the Congress Square buildings into a dynamic 24-hour mixed-use environment bringing bold vision to an iconic business address. Related Beal has also engaged CBRE/Grossman Retail Advisors to lead all retail leasing efforts, and JLL as the brokerage firm for Congress Square’s office space at 40 Water Street. The entirely re-imagined, modern office space will be available for occupancy in early 2016 and the retail opportunities are available for occupancy in Fall of 2015.

The Congress Square plans call for the creation and activation of Quaker Lane, which bisects the property and will connect Post Office Square to Faneuil Hall. Quaker Lane will offer an exceptional pedestrian experience lined with boutiques, indoor and outdoor cafes and restaurants, nightlife attractions and distinct retail venues. The smaller buildings on Congress and Devonshire are anticipated to be converted to residential or boutique hotel uses, while the larger building at 40 Water Street is being re-imagined as a modern office location with efficient and versatile floor plates, a grand entrance, double-height lobby and ground floor retail.  Combining classic architecture with upscale amenities, including outdoor spaces throughout the buildings and inviting public spaces, and new systems including six new traction elevators, Congress Square will transform a historic building into modern, efficient and dynamic offices. Related Beal will spearhead the repositioning and the leasing efforts and serve as property manager of the project.

Rich in culture, these properties were known as Congress Square when they were first built between 1899 and 1921. Related Beal is rebranding this special grouping of buildings in Boston’s downtown to reflect its original identity. By returning all the ground floor spaces to retail use, they will enliven the streetscape while providing highly desirable shops and services.

“This block of buildings, to be known again as Congress Square, is ideally located in the heart of the infrastructure-rich downtown submarket and was the home to one of Boston’s most successful financial institutions for the last 40 years,” said Stephen Faber, Executive Vice President of Related Beal. “Our plan is to rejuvenate the entire block through a mixed-use redevelopment strategy. The market is looking for efficient, modern space, rich with amenities and energy. These buildings and this location present us with the opportunity to deliver a variety of uses, bring activity and retail to Post Office Square, and create a real destination in Quaker Lane, which we are all very excited about.” 

“Congress Square will revitalize the block between State, Devonshire, Water, and Congress Streets back to the lively, retail streetscape it once was, and re-establish a pedestrian-friendly connection between Quincy Market, City Hall, and Post Office Square,” said Scott Pollack , Principal of Arrowstreet.  “The heart of the project will be integrating Quaker Lane with the surrounding buildings and turning it into an urban oasis of outdoor seating, food and entertainment – a surprising transformation given it is just an alley today.  Architecturally, our team will enhance the impressive historic details of the buildings and the original two-story bank lobby and use them as a backdrop for new, modern design elements. That combination of classical and contemporary will also play a major role in updating the office building to meet the look, feel and technical requirements of today’s innovation economy.”

Congress Square is located at the top of Post Office Square reaching back towards the Washington / State Street retail corridor, at the epicenter of Boston’s downtown just steps from Faneuil Hall and Boston’s historic Freedom Trail. This ideal location provides outstanding commuter access and the ability to integrate a variety of uses into the property, activating a long-dormant street level and bringing new businesses to the area that would not have previously considered it a viable location.
 
“The offices at Congress Square will undergo a total and complete repositioning,” said Ben Heller, Managing Director of JLL. “With unparalleled branding and high profile signage opportunities, Congress Square transforms an iconic business address into modern, efficient and dynamic offices with wide appeal.  Through careful restoration and reconfiguration, Congress Square infuses the grandeur of classic architecture with the efficiency of modern systems, dynamic aesthetics, upscale amenities and inviting public spaces.”

“Newly transformed streetscapes in the heart of Boston will provide for incredible retail and restaurant leasing opportunities at Congress Square delivering in fall 2015,” said Jeremy Grossman, Senior Vice President/Principal of CBRE/Grossman Retail Advisors. “As Boston’s Central Business District and Downtown Crossing continues to transform, Congress Square will be a unique and vibrant retail and dining destination and serve as an anchor in the district.”

Related Beal will be communicating with city officials through the entitlement process prior to implementing the planned renovations and mix of uses and looks forward to making its public filing with the City of Boston in the coming weeks.  

Related Fund Management acquired Congress Square from a Fidelity entity in December 2013. This five-building portfolio consists of nearly 343,000 square feet of office and retail space and sits on more than one acre of land. The properties include: 40 Water Street, 68 Devonshire Street, 19 Congress Street, 15 Congress Street and 54 Devonshire Street.  While Related Beal will execute the entitlement process and overall development plan for the property, it is anticipated that the boutique buildings including 68 Devonshire Street, 19 and 15 Congress will be marketed to specialized developers for conversion to their highest and best use.  For more information on Congress Square, please visit www.congress-square.com.

About Related Beal
Related Beal is a fully-integrated real estate firm focused on development and investment opportunities in Boston and the surrounding region. Related Beal leverages Related Companies’ international real estate platform with expertise across all assets classes and The Beal Companies’ storied local experience in life sciences, commercial and residential development, property management and investment. Related Beal has developed, and is undertaking the development, of some of the most recognized buildings in the area including The Clarendon and One Back Bay, Lovejoy Wharf and Converse’s U.S. headquarters. For more information on Related Beal, please visit www.relatedbeal.com.

About Arrowstreet
Arrowstreet is an integrated design studio that provides architecture, planning, interior design, and environmental graphics services. The firm is located at 10 Post Office Square, with site lines across Congress Street to the Congress Square project.

About CBRE/Grossman Retail Advisors, LLC
CBRE/Grossman Retail Advisors, LLC (CBRE/GRA) is a joint-venture between CB Richard Ellis – N.E. Partners, LP and Grossman Commercial Real Estate Group, Inc. CBRE/GRA was formed in 2009 to create the premier retail service provider for its clients. CBRE/GRA combines the network and resources of the largest commercial real estate service company in the United States with the focus of local knowledge and expertise. In today's challenging market, CBRE/GRA provides a one-stop source for its retail clients, creating innovative solutions to complex problems facing property owners and developers. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com/gra.

About JLL
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. With annual fee revenue of $4.0 billion and gross revenue of $4.5 billion, JLL has more than 200 corporate offices, operates in 75 countries and has a global workforce of approximately 53,000.  On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 3.0 billion square feet, or 280.0 million square meters, and completed $99.0 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2013. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $50.0 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit www.jll.com.