The Seville Boston Harbor – Global Property Developers Corporation
East Boston, beloved as “Eastie” by Bostonians, is separated from the city by Boston Harbor and has long been home to many diverse cultural groups. Recently the area has played host to a wave of young professionals and after the 2008 market crash, the gentrification of East Boston has made it one of the most desirable neighborhoods due to proximity to the harbor, marinas, Piers Park and the East Boston Greenway, Central Square, Constitution Beach and other scenic spots.
What was once home to the Seville Theater, circa-1910, is now a historical redevelopment on the East Boston waterfront known as Seville Boston Harbor. Located at 248 Meridian Street, the new mixed-use development includes 66 residential condominiums as well as 15,000 square feet of commercial-retail urban infill space, 44 parking spaces and many site improvements.
Located just minutes from downtown, Seville Boston Harbor is accessible by the MBTA Blue Line, car or water taxi, serving as a hub for young professionals desiring a live-work-play lifestyle in one of Boston’s hottest new neighborhoods.
“As this area continues to gentrify, due to the scenic location with parks and public spaces and convenience to downtown Boston, more and more people are realizing this is a great place to live.”
– Carl Pearson, vice president and project manager for Global Property Developers Corporation
A forgotten neighborhood makes a comeback
Carl Pearson, vice president and project manager for Global Property Developers Corporation, the firm spearheading the project, says Seville Boston Harbor has been a long time coming. “The proposal went out to the city in 2006, right before the market crash so the project was put on hold because there just wasn’t enough demand in the condo market,” he recounts.
The neighborhood fell into the economic slump, but developers and then Mayor Thomas M. Menino refused to give up on the historic piece of real estate. “There was a large push to bring the East End neighborhood back,” says Pearson, who has been with Global Property Developers for 11 years.
“The project had been on hold for what seemed like forever,” continues Pearson. “In 2012, we sensed that the market was picking back up and we wanted to complete our commitment to the neighborhood, our venture partners and the community, so we turned the project back on. Boston has really caught on as an international city and destination for global real estate partnerships. After the bottom fell out it wasn’t a buy low, sell high kind of market. People were looking for gemstones.”
Global Property Developers saw Seville Boston Harbor as that diamond in the rough. “Through 2014 and 2015 we went through an update process and finished the hard business of project approval,” says Pearson. “Once we had approval we had to get permits — that’s the difficult part.”
Fortunately, experience is on Global Property Developers’ side. The company has a long history of addressing complex projects and how they affect individuals and the community as a whole. The firm has extensive experience adept with the coordination of the technical needs of real estate development including planning, development, finance, design, construction and management.
Early decisions on critical path items
Ground-breaking began on the $14 million project in February 2015 and Global Property Developers and its equity partner, 6M Development, are currently under construction with occupancy expected for the fourth quarter of 2016. “The urban infill process is quite a challenge,” admits Pearson. “We had to safely take down the 100-plus year old building with a building on our left and ou right. We had to modify the foundation in place. All of these unknowns were of course anticipated in our project plan.”
Pearson says the biggest risk and challenge the project team faced early on was modifying the 1900s foundation. “The true measurements don’t always work out, so decisions need to be made in terms of steel, angle and connection points; these are the biggest hurdles to get the building to be able to support a steel and concrete frame versus an old-style masonry construction foundation,” he explains.
Steel and wood construction, roof windows and barriers have gone up through the early winter months and now the building is fully enclosed. “The building has been designed to meet LEED-Silver minimum compliance and we are exceeding that,” adds Pearson. “We’re not seeking true certification, but we are hitting this target as well as Boston Stretch Energy Code. Since this is the first major condo project in the area in 20 to 30 years, we designed the programs to keep everyone with individual systems super efficient from gas to A/C, an all-LED light package and Energy Star appliances. This is more than just shooting for LEED design — it’s about meeting what buyers want in the market.”
An inside look
Seville Boston Harbor stands as one of East Boston’s tallest residential structures, offering units scenic views of the harbor, the Boston skyline and some of Boston’s best-known landmarks. Units will be available in one- and two-bedroom floor plans and include many high-end features such as: wide plank hardwood flooring, European style kitchen cabinetry, LED lighting packages, a gas slide-in range, French door refrigerator, panel front dishwasher, quartz countertops, glass shower enclosures and designer bath fixtures.
Beyond individual units, Seville Boston Harbor includes designated garage parking for select units, an expansive roof deck, state-of-the-art fitness center, large-capacity laundry, bike storage, electric car charging stations and even a pet washing area.
Finding the right team of sub trades to bring the project to fruition has been an ongoing task for Pearson and his team at Global Property Developers. “First and foremost our vendor qualification requires our vendor provide a competitive bid,” says Pearson. “Then there are quality issues that have to be met. We use an analysis of their insurance and safety programs to see if they have proper risk-management protocols in place. When we build condos, we use an advanced insurance product called a CCIP to make sure the vendors are onboard with a managed general liability policy that can be shared. This is a major review and award milestone piece for us.”
“Vendor familiarity is also important,” says Pearson. “People that have worked with in us the past that we’re comfortable with their management and field teams, that’s another big qualifying factor. Typically new vendors have to supply financial criteria to us describing workload and financial stability through balance sheets and year-end statements so we can match the level of work and contract to their level of previous work and back it with references.”
Building for future economic growth
Assembling the right team to pull Seville Boston Harbor off was crucial in not only bringing the best value to the project, but also positioning it reputation-wise as a leader, the first of many residential projects to come in the urban renewal of East Boston. “The project represents an investment in the future growth of the Meridian Street Business District,” explains Pearson. “The new retail-commercial spaces should encourage the community to modernize and help promote and sustain the area’s economic vitality.”
Pearson says Global Property Developers took advantage of this opportunity at the right place and the right time. “We’re one of the few firms to get out in front of the soon-to-be glut in apartment development and we project these types of homes are needed,” he says. “As this area continues to gentrify, due to the scenic location with parks and public spaces and convenience to downtown Boston, more and more people are realizing this is a great place to live.”
Ahead of this demand curve, Global Property Developers Corporation looks to finalize the landmark Seville Boston Harbor development by fall 2016 for occupancy, when the mixed-used residential property will stand as the chief development in a string of promising new ventures.
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