National Development Brands its 2 Million-SF property in South Boston as Iron Works

Iron Works

NEWTON, MA–National Development, and its partner in the project AEW Capital Management, announced that its current and future real estate development project in South Boston will be called Iron Works.

Iron Works will initially be rooted in two full city blocks in South Boston, which are the former home of Cole Hersee’s office, manufacturing and distribution facilities. The buildings, located from 10 to 80 Old Colony Ave., have been re-envisioned as creative office, maker space, restaurant, fitness, retail and outdoor amenity areas, all while preserving the buildings distinctive industrial character.

The repositioning, which is still ongoing, includes new storefronts, bold exterior graphic accents and historic character cut outs that accentuate the buildings’ industrial context while creating contemporary, visually appealing architecture (team includes Hacin + Associates and Groundswell). Tenants include Tatte Bakery (bakery production kitchen and future café opening 10/20), Castle Island Brewing (which will open next Thursday 9/23), Rock Spot Climbing, a spin studio pop up by b/spoke, and Freight Farms headquarters and showroom. Future tenants include PKL, who will operate a 21,000 SF pickleball/restaurant/entertainment concept, and a dumpling factory and café by Mei Mei — both are currently scheduled to open in the spring of 2022.

The first large-scale, ground-up development phase will be located on Dorchester Avenue, just west of the Cole Hersee amenities, and will consist of four buildings on 5.4 acres. The mixed-use plan, which will include two life science buildings totaling 650,000 SF and two residential buildings, is currently in permitting, and is likely to begin construction in early 2022. At the heart of these new buildings will be a dynamic network of new open spaces, streets and sidewalks surrounded by 55,000 SF of new restaurant and retail destinations.

The project is within PLAN: Dot Ave study area and has been the subject of over two years of conversation with the City of Boston, surrounding neighborhoods and local officials. This filing supports the vision and goals laid out in that study, including:

  • A diversity of housing types in two residential buildings, with 17% affordability, above the city’s IDP standards;
  • Situated between the Broadway & Andrew Station on the MBTA Red Line, new commercial spaces will support job growth, and diversify and expand job opportunities;
  • Expansive streetscape improvements that will significantly enhance pedestrian safety within the project areas, working with Boston Transportation Department & BPDA to ensure this neighborhood is safe, walkable and connected.

The cohesive project design has been crafted by a world-class team of architects, landscape architects, and engineers. The team includes Elkus Manfredi, ZGF Architects, COOKFOX, Future Green and ARUP among other well-respected local consultants. Characteristics include:

  • Buildings with a mix of heights, sizes, and uses, creating an effectual urban fabric;
  • Diverse architecture that allows differentiated but complementary design character, language, and materials;
  • A vision for post-COVID urban living, with numerous outdoor spaces designed to provide flexible community spaces and accentuate retailers throughout the seasons;
  • Robust public realm and network of green spaces, providing much-needed open space and foliage along Dorchester Avenue and on the new network of streets;
  • High performance buildings supporting extensive sustainability and resiliency goals.

The name Iron Works is a nod to the history of the site, its industrial nature and legacy of activity, innovation and ingenuity. During the mid-to-late 1800s, South Boston began to morph into one of the strongest industrial areas in New England. With its abundance of resources and ease of access, factories began to pop up, servicing the growing population of Boston and contributing to the materials and supplies needed for the Civil War. The South Boston Iron Works, incorporated in 1827 and located on Iron Street, was one of the major operators located on what is now National Development’s property on Dorchester Avenue.

The South Boston Iron Works was founded by Cyrus Alger who played a key role in the development of this area of South Boston (later to be known as Andrew Square) when he moved there in 1809. After the annex of South Boston from Dorchester to Boston, he bought most of the land west of the Dorchester Turnpike (Dorchester Avenue). This is where he built his foundry and made a name for himself as one of the leading metallurgists of his time. Iron and steel were the peak industries in the advancement of this particular facet of chemical engineering, allowing the world to move forward with more advanced materials. National Development worked with Boston firm KHJ Brand Activation on the branding of the project.

Together, these integrated projects celebrate South Boston’s history, and set the bar for the corridor’s exciting future with modern amenities, discoveries and places to work, live and gather. .