The sea of concrete and masonry in Boston’s Post Office Square could soon see something a lot shinier. Anchor Line Partners and Jones Lang LaSalle have plans to transform the current pre-cast concrete facade of the 41-story One Post Office Square tower into an all-glass exterior, infilling space that ’s currently left empty beneath the tower’s jutting-out concrete corners to create straight building edges. The project would also add up to 300,000 square feet at the tower’s adjacent six-story parking garage, creating a combined 400,000 square feet of new Class A office space in downtown Boston. The project is made possible by Putnam Investment’s impending relocation to a 250,000-square-foot office at nearby 100 Federal St. That left Anchor Line and JLL, along with building owner One Post Office Square LLC, with a can’t-miss opportunity to modernize a 1980s-era concrete tower and compete with new offices going up in Boston’s Seaport District, representatives from the development team said in an interview with the Business Journal this week. “This is a tremendous opportunity to reposition this asset,” said David Brunelle, senior vice president with Jones Lang LaSalle. “The timing was perfect.” Putnam has been an anchor tenant at One Post Office Square since the 41-story tower was developed in 1981. The investment management giant will move its headquarters to nearby 100 Federal St. in April. That left the building ownership with a chance to re-invest in the property, said Andrew J. Maher, managing partner with Anchor Line Partners. “The ownership here wants to maintain the A-plus status of this building for the next 40 years to come, like it’s had for the previous 40 years,” Maher said. “It’s time to reinvest.” Suffolk County public records show that One Post Office Square LLC is an entity affiliated with Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing, an investment firm with a reported$32 billion in assets under management. The One Post Office Square overhaul will feature both recladding and overcladding design techniques. Recladding involves removing a building’s existing facade and putting up a new glass exterior. Overcladding, meanwhile, involves erecting a skeletal framing system that contractors will adhere glass to, rather than taking the existing facade off the building, said Brian R. Chasson, managing partner with Anchor Line Partners. That type of architecture style is used frequently in New York City but rarely, if ever, has been used in Boston, said Doug Gensler, co-managing director of architecture firm Gensler in Boston. The firm designed the new One Post Office Square project, reimagining the original Jung Brannen Associates design. “We thought about, ‘what are the things that the consumer of the future really cares about?’” Gensler said. “It became a transformation around trying to deliver a new type of Class A office product, and it really became about thinking about user experience at the street, at the office, at the amenities space.” Anchor Line and JLL plan three levels of amenities facing Post Office Square, including a full-service restaurant on the first floor, a fast-casual dining concept on the second floor and a third-floor gymnasium with a lounge, conference and deck area. The intention is to open and activate the ground plain at a tower that fronts Post Office Square and Norman B. Leventhal Park, some of the city’s most-visited public open spaces. Our goal here was to create what all these great companies are looking for within their space, which is the informal communication, and instead of doing it in your space we’re trying to do it in our building,” Maher said. “That’s what we’re trying to get out in front of, to make this the state of the art building for the next 40 years.” The project will also feature outdoor patio space reserved for building tenants on floors 4, 18 and 25-26, as well as a penthouse-level private club on floor 41. The recladding and overcladding design technique will allow Anchor Line and JLL to install floor-to-ceiling vision glass along the tower’s exterior. That feature is often used in newly constructed Seaport offices, and is intended to improve daylight into offices for tenants, those tenant’s views from within the building and the building’s energy performance. “The recladding and reskinning of this building with a glass component is going to be special for this location,” said Michael Connelly, senior vice president with Jones Lang LaSalle. “It’s really going to stand out.” The proposal to fill in space that’s currently left empty beneath the building’s concrete corners would spread floorplates out to about 40,000 square feet — an important factor for tenants seeking offices on one level, versus splitting up offices onto multiple floors — and about 100,000 square feet of space overall. For the adjacent six-level parking garage, the plan is to develop a 300,000-square-foot, 18-story facility. The development team is still determining whether to demolish the garage and build from the ground up, or develop space atop the existing structure. And what if a 250,000-square-foot tenant were to come along and request to lease Putnam’s former office after the investment firm moves out? Would the project be put on hold? The development team said no. “We could add 400,000 square feet, or we could do a 250,000-square-foot deal,” Maher said. “Our new envelope could allow us to do a 650,000-square-foot deal. The opportunity there would outweigh the 250,000-square-foot tenant.” All told, the project could cost upward of $250 million, an industry source estimated. Anchor Line and JLL — both of which occupy offices in the One Post Office Square tower — are working through design and permitting now. The firms aim to begin the garage addition in the third quarter of 2018 and start the One Post Office Square facade work in the first or second quarter of 2019.

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