This Week in Boston Real Estate: Traffic, team players and more

by Evi Arthur

Boston traffic: It’s the worst

It seems like residents in almost every major city make a point of complaining about local traffic congestion. But now Boston may be able to claim total, national authority over traffic tantrums: A new study from research firm INRIX ranked Boston as the most traffic-clogged city in the U.S. Perhaps more embarrassingly, Boston ranked eighth in the world in terms of total traffic impact, and first globally in terms of the cost per driver.

According to INRIX, which studied global traffic trends using various data points, Boston-area commuters spent a cumulative 164 hours stuck in traffic in 2018. That cost each driver an estimated $2,291 in lost productivity and fuel consumption. During peak hours, vehicles travel at an average speed of only 11 miles per hour through Boston’s central business district.

While that might seem bad, INRIX found it could be worse in a few ways. Boston’s total hours lost in traffic pale in comparison to Bogata, Colombia, or Rome, which each logged more than 250 hours of rush-hour slowdowns per year. And the city’s overall traffic situation was found to have improved by 10 percent compared to last year, with relatively more people opting for public transit or simply walking.

William Raveis relaunches relocation division for athletes, entertainers

William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance announced that they will be re-launching their sports and entertainment division having already relocated 40 athletes within the last month. The division will be led by former Major League Baseball pitcher and real estate agent in Naples, Chris Resop, who is the Managing Director and Vice President. The division hopes to help an increased number of athletes relocate over the next year. William Raveis also will begin a partnership this year marketing itself as the official Realtor of the Boston Red Sox, having worked with several members of the team in providing relocation services.

GE to repay state money for scaled-down Boston HQ

General Electric plans to sell its future Fort Point headquarters property and instead move into two brick buildings at Necco Court after renovations are completed. The Fort Point property is being jointly sold by GE and MassDevelopment, who owns part of the property, to reimburse the $87.4 million in state money that bought and prepared the piece of land. General Electric’s plan to build a 12-story tower next door to Fort Point is also off.

Instead of the original proposed 800 jobs from Fort Point, the company now expects they will be creating about 250 jobs in the 95,000 square foot Necco building. These project cancellations seem to be a result of the company’s falling stock price and past issues with their power turbines as well as the new chief executive’s attempts to save money.

State representatives and GE have decided that the best way to go about making back the state expenses put toward the project are to sell the two Necco buildings and then lease them back to GE. The new owner would then also receive the permit for GE’s proposed 12-story tower.

Developer Related Beal is said to be interested in the property alongside buying the 6.5 acres next door. GE has since announced that promised plans for a pedestrian bridge and $50 million in donations to local charities will still happen.

More Massport development

The Massachusetts Port Authority will soon be selling a 1.1-acre piece of land, now being used as a parking lot, for development. The land, known as Parcel H, sits on Congress street next to the Silver Line MBTA stop and, once it hits the market, will be available for a long term ground lease. The spot would be able to accommodate up to 400,000 square feet of mixed use development and up to 600,000 square feet if the developer obtains the air rights over the Silver Line right-of-way, a little over an acre. Massport would prefer a developer that would be interested in making improvements to the public spaces nearby the property as well, such as helping to upgrade the Silver Line station.

Fidelity revamps Seaport site

Fidelity Investments plans to renovate its World Trade Center complex in the Seaport by giving the building a more modern look and creating more public space on the waterfront. Their Commonwealth Hall exhibition space will be replaced with a 25,000 square foot waterfront courtyard for events and markets. The updated office space will be almost 640,000 square feet with 45,000 square feet set aside for shops and restaurants, a fivefold increase. Fidelity also plans to upgrade the surrounding Harborwalk by adding open spaces along the perimeter of the building and installing new lights, artwork and furniture. The renovations are expected to start in early 2020 and end in 2024.

Quincy gets mixed-use hospital project

A new medical office building is in the works for downtown Quincy from developer FoxRock Properties, part of the $1.6 downtown redevelopment surge begun in 2011, according to the Boston Business Journal. The building will house South Shore Health and Brigham Health and will be up to 200,000 square feet. The new development will also include a hotel with workforce housing as well as ground-floor retail and restaurant space. The proposed development will be the biggest downtown commercial/office project yet.

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