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New 2.4 Million Square Feet Development Project Proposed for Government Center Garage Site

A development group has submitted a new letter of intent for a mixed-use redevelopment of the Government Center Garage site.

Bulfinch Congress Holdings (BCH), represented by Thomas O’Brien’s HYM Investment Group, has submitted a new letter of intent for the redevelopment of the Government Center Garage. The June 21, 2011 letter cites replacing the 11-story garage in phases with a new mixed-use, multi-story project with residential, office, retail, transportation and hotel uses and 2.4 million square feet of space over a reconstructed parking facility. The property is a joint venture of the National Electrical Benefit Fund and Longdon based UKI Boston.

The project to be submitted for BRA review will “remove the unsightly barrier of the Government Center Garage from its current prominent position over Congress Street and close to the Rose Kennedy Greenway,” according to the letter. The ground floors will be retail and connect to the emerging “Market District” and “enliven the connections among the neighborhoods of the West End, North End, Beacon Hill and Government Center.” From an economic standpoint, the letter cites creating “several thousand construction jobs and millions of dollars of new tax revenue for the City.” View the full Letter of Intent dated June 21, 2011 (pdf).

The letter precedes a Project Notification Form (PNF) required under Article 80 and replaces a previously submitted PNF from 2008 for the garage site. In 2010, Thomas O’Brien’s HYM Investment Group took management control of the property from the Raymond Company after Raymond failed to gain support for a multi-tower office park that would replace the garage. (See IAG Throws Up Yellow Flag on the Government Center Garage Plan).

Last year, a Fitch Ratings report said a $190 million debt on the property was a “loan of concern” given reduced cash flow after the Environmental Protection Agency moved out without a significant replacement of tenants. At the time, the rating agency pegged the loan-to-value ratio at nearly 130 percent.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority issued guidelines for the site through the 2010 Greenway District Planning Study including series of podiums and towers up to 600’ high toward the JFK Federal Building scaling down toward the Greenway. (See related image).

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