WS Development Vice President Amy Prange: Creating Boston’s Newest Neighborhood

Amy Prange

BOSTON–On behalf of Massachusetts-based WS Development, Amy Prange has spent the last 8 years overseeing the Seaport Project: 7.6 million square feet of mixed-use development across 20 city blocks, creating Boston’s newest neighborhood.

“I enjoy turning an idea into lines on paper and then into the built environment,” says Ms. Prange, Vice President of Development, Seaport WS Development. “There is nothing more rewarding than walking past a completed project and seeing how the public interacts with the space.”

To date, Ms. Prange and her team have delivered 1.1 MSF of commercial office/lab space to Amazon and Foundation Medicine, Inc collectively, along with leading her team on the design and construction of Harbor Way, Boston’s newest public linear park.

Ms. Prange will be honored as the Outstanding Women of Commercial Real Estate 2024 by the Boston Real Estate Times on Feb. 22, 2024 at its Annual Awards gala at the Burlington Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA. To register for the gala, please click here.

Currently under construction, Ms. Prange is managing the development of Amazon’s second tower, One Boston Wharf Road, a 700,000 SF project that will feature ground floor retail and a new performing arts center. One Boston Wharf Road will be the largest net-zero carbon office building in Boston, with completion targeted in mid-2024.

111 Harbor Way
Boston Seaport by WS, Photographer Eric Levin

Ms. Prange hods a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Before transitioning to Development, she worked as a licensed civil engineer for Nitsch Engineering providing civil site design, site permitting and stormwater master planning services for the firm’s clients.

Ms. Prange also worked at Colliers International as part of their Development and Consulting Services group, providing OPM services for high-profile new construction and redevelopment projects including Boston Public Market, Envoy Hotel, Godfrey Hotel and the North Bennet Street School.

One Boston Wharf Road

in 1990, WS Development is one of few vertically integrated real estate companies that conceptualizes, owns, operates and leases more than 100 properties that range from cutting-edge urban spaces to lifestyle and community centers. With over 22 million square feet of existing space and an additional nine million square feet under development, it is one of the largest privately-owned development firms in the country.

WS Development is currently embarking on the largest private development project in Boston’s history, the Boston Seaport project, a 20 city block mixed use neighborhood that is defining the future of Boston. Culture, industry, and community converge in Boston’s Seaport district, creating one of the most dynamic and vibrant neighborhoods in the country.

Unlocked after a decade of development and $22 billion of public investment, Seaport is now home to an ecosystem of more than 350 companies, from global leaders in technology and biotech, to groundbreaking startups. In the heart of the district, WS development is transforming 33 acres of land, composed of 7.6 million square feet of residential, hotel, office, retail, entertainment, civic and cultural uses, as well as signature public open spaces.

Here is a Q/A with Ms. Prange:

Boston Real Estate Times:  What do you enjoy most about your work?

Amy Prange: I enjoy turning an idea into lines on paper and then into the built environment. There is nothing more rewarding than walking past a completed project and seeing how the public interacts with the space. It is even better when I know that my team completed that project on time and on budget.

I also really enjoy working through complex challenges that others may choose to walk away from. I have a high frustration tolerance and a very strong will and where there’s a will, there’s a way!

BRET: What do success and failure mean to you?

AP: To me, failure is feedback, an opportunity for change, or an obstacle that you must negotiate to move forward. There are many lessons that can be learned when things go wrong, and they frequently do in development and construction.

Success is having done whatever it takes to meet project milestones while navigating around the setbacks that are inevitable in this industry. A 500,000-sf tower can take up to 5 years to develop from permitting through occupancy in a good economy. It is a long road with many milestones to track and many team members to manage and motivate. At the end of successful projects, everyone involved feels good about what they accomplished and looks forward to working together again on a future project.

BRET: What is the one thing you attribute your success to?

AP: I am a people person. I like getting to know the people that I work with and for me, that includes knowing them at a personal level. We spend so much time at work! I like to bring things back to the human level, especially after conflict. I think I have been so successful in overcoming difficult challenges because people like to work with me, and they know that I value them and their time.

BRET: To which charitable, community and professional groups do you belong and why?

AP: I have been a member of CREW Boston since 2011 and really value the community and support from that extraordinary group of women. I have made lifelong friends and have had incredible experiences including winning the 2023 CREW National Member-to-Member Impact Award for the 111 Harbor Way Development, a project boasting 25 women on the team at last year’s annual convention.

I am also in my second year of teaching religious education at Good Shepherd Parish in Wayland. I volunteered when I signed my daughter up last year and genuinely enjoy the conversations that we have in class about how to treat people with respect and kindness. The children are so curious and ask amazing questions.

BRET:  In what way do you feel you have most positively influenced or served the local community, your company/organization or professional field?

AP: It is still unusual to find women in development in leadership positions. I hope that by existing here, I can help inspire other women to pursue a path in commercial real estate to further support the advancement and parity of women in this field.

BRET:  Is there any aptitude, gift or talent that not many people know about you?

AP: I grew up in a very diverse community in Brockton, Massachusetts. As a result, I am quick to rationalize and empathize with people from different backgrounds to better understand their distinct points of view. I think this makes me an effective leader, synthesizer, and a better creator of public space.

BRET: What are your hobbies and interests?

AP: I have two daughters, Lucy (7) and Natalie (5). Most of my free time is spent with them and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Beyond my family, I have started to prioritize self-care in the last couple of years inclusive of regular acupuncture appointments, which is excellent for stress relief and mental wellbeing. I also enjoy a monthly facial as a treat to myself and of course, I am an avid Real Housewives fan. Watching grown women argue on television brings me peace at the end of a long day.

BRET:  Your favorite books?

AP: I enjoy reading biographies of people in pop culture, thrillers and historical fiction. My favorite historical fiction series is “Outlander” written by Diana Gabaldon. I finished Book 9 recently, “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone” and I can’t wait for the 10th and final book!

BRET: Your favorite quotes? 

AP: Judy Nitsch, the founder of Nitsch Engineering, has been my mentor since college, and I had the privilege to work for her at the start of my career. She has two meaningful quotes that I still reference regularly. The first is “They can’t say ‘yes’ if you don’t ask,” which helps me remember to advocate for myself. The second is “This would be good for you,” which encourages me to step outside of my comfort zone. These are words to live by for every woman in this industry.

BRET: The one person you would like to meet and why?

AP: I would love to have met Queen Elizabeth but will gladly settle for HRH Kate Middleton. I would be thrilled to hear what a typical day is like for her and to tour her closet and hat collection!

BRET: Your core values you try to live by?

AP: Be kind to others and yourself.

Never tell a lie.

BRET: What inspires you?

AP: My children love to describe me as a “builder” to anyone that will listen. I think it’s the perfect way to describe what I do on a day-to-day basis, even though most days my role is to encourage other project managers, architects, engineers, and construction workers to deliver the plans and tools that will result in the “building”. However, I am inspired by their awe in me and my accomplishments, and by knowing that I’m part of an industry that is doing the best we can now to create energy efficient and sustainable places that will become the places we love for generations to come.