Two of Boston's most popular neighborhoods continue to draw major developments.
The proposed Exchange South End project would add 1.6 million square feet of commercial, technology and life science research space, according to Curbed Boston. Pending approval, the project's four buildings would be delivered in phases. Developer Abbey Group said construction should begin next fall.
Meanwhile, the growing Seaport District is home to the newly-opened $600 million One Seaport development, which is the city's largest residential mixed-use project in more than three decades, Multi-Housing News reported. Its two mixed-use towers offer 1.5 million square feet residential, office and commercial space.
Located in South Boston, the Seaport District has seen the addition or planning of more than 7.6 million square feet of residential and commercial space through a core master plan from developer WS. That's driving additional development nearby.
GE has embarked on a high-profile, $200 million relocation of its headquarters to the Seaport District from its current home in Connecticut. The company is renovating two, existing historic buildings but announced last month that it would hold off on building its planned new 12-story tower until 2019, reportedly part of a cost-cutting strategy by the company's new CEO, John Flannery.
All that development has the potential to create a logjam of commuters who travel to and from work or their homes in South Boston. Supporters say a rail link between the city's North and South stations — the latter of which is located across the Fort Point Channel from South Boston near — could provide easier access to the Seaport and other growing business districts.
A recent Harvard Kennedy School study projected the line could cost $4 billion to $6 billion. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, meanwhile, is awaiting the results of a study of the project that it commissioned from Arup. That report is due in 2018 and will present another perspective of projected costs and benefits.
Developer Millennium Partners has offered up an out-of-the box solution to the congestion in the form of a gondola that would ferry travelers between the city's South Station and the Seaport District. Millennium said it would contribute $100 million to develop the project on a 12-acre patch it owns in the Seaport area, and that the system could handle 15,000 passengers a day. A similar, 3,300-foot-long system in Portland, OR, cost $57 million to build.