Following last year’s City of Boston approvals of a Planned Development Area (PDA) Master Plan for the Christian Science Plaza, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, has engaged HFF, LP to serve as its agent to market to qualified investors long-term leases of two development sites on Belvidere and Dalton Streets and of the existing 26-story office building located at 177 Huntington Avenue in Boston’s vibrant Back Bay. See graphic below for Plaza plan and site locations.
HFF is one of the nation’s leading commercial real estate firms, with an excellent track record and a unique capital markets approach to assignments of this nature.
“This is a thrilling assignment for our firm, and frankly one that is perfectly suited for today’s environment,” said John Fowler, executive managing director of HFF. “Given its 24/7 character, the Back Bay is one of the nation’s top performing submarkets in terms of office, hotel, retail and residential demand. Investors are extremely focused on gateway markets and particularly on those assets that will maintain their value over the long-term.”
While the Church and HFF have not yet determined the exact timeline for seeking proposals from third-party real estate investors and developers, it will likely be several weeks before a formal process is begun.
A long-term ground or master lease structure is well suited for the Church. By putting selective real estate assets to more productive use and reducing its involvement with their day-to-day operation, the Church will be better able to focus its resources on its mission and have its real estate holdings be more self-sustaining over the long-term.
Plaza Revitalization Project. The Christian Science Plaza will remain the world headquarters for The First Church of Christ, Scientist.
In 2006, the Church announced plans to develop a long-term strategic plan for the Christian Science Plaza. Since that time, the Plaza Revitalization Project Plan was completed in cooperation with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and other City agencies and with input from the Citizens Advisory Committee appointed by Mayor Menino.
The Plaza Revitalization Project has three main objectives:
- Enhancing the open space,
- Improving the environmental sustainability of the Plaza, and
- Identifying opportunities for underutilized real estate.
The review process included over 20 public meetings leading to the approval of the PDA Master Plan by the BRA and Boston Zoning Commission in August and September 2011.
Belvidere/Dalton Development Sites. The PDA Master Plan approved the following building sizes for the Belvidere/Dalton development sites across from the Hilton and Sheraton Hotels:
- Belvidere/Dalton High-Rise: approximately 600,000 square feet with maximum height of 512 feet.
- Belvidere/Dalton Mid-Rise: approximately 200,000 square feet with maximum height of 251 feet.
Specific building designs for the Belvidere/Dalton sites will go through the City’s Article 80 public review process before construction would begin.
177 Huntington Avenue. In 2008 the Church announced that it would begin the interim leasing of 177 Huntington Avenue, after relocating employees to the newly refurbished (with LEED-Gold rating for Commercial Interiors) Publishing House building, the largest office building on the Plaza. The Church also indicated that long-term use of the building would be determined as part of the overall Plaza revitalization plans. 177 Huntington is now almost fully occupied by multiple tenants. Their leases will be transferred to the new building operator under the master building lease.
Other Components. Other components of the PDA Master Plan, including the Huntington development site and a retail pavilion at the intersection of Huntington and Belvidere, are not part of the HFF mandate. Also HFF will not be involved with plans for the open space and sustainability improvements.
Additional background information
Planned Development Area (PDA) Master Plan for CS Plaza
For more information, contact
Eric Bashor: firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-450-3309
Coleman Benedict: email@example.com or 617-338-0990