Portman Holdings recently purchased the Shook Kelley building, a 2.2-acre site next to Sycamore Brewing in South End, for $12.7 million.
Portman doesn’t have concrete plans yet; however, preliminary designs show 260,000 square feet of office space and 20,000 square feet of retail.
I spoke to Travis Garland, the director of leasing at Portman and he agreed with me that the potential of the Rail Trail hasn’t even scratched the surface – the trail is going to be a major piece of the project’s design.
That 20,000 square feet of retail will certainly be focused on the Rail Trail since the only two frontages will be Hawkins and the Trail.
Travis also told me this is going to be a “special project” architecturally for South End and that Portman is sensitive to the visibility of parking, and it’s assuring to hear we won’t be seeing another monstrosity of a parking deck, a la Atherton Mill or Ashton.
There is no timeline set in stone, but the goal is to start construction next summer with a wrap up late 2020 or into 2021.
The project will need City Council’s approval to build beyond the 120-foot height restriction allowed by current zoning regulations.
This is another fantastic use of land and the retail will only grow the viability of the area (including Tremont) as a fully developed district to live, work and play. With Atherton across the tracks, Asana building up their properties and other developments in the works, this is really the heart beat of South End.