Boston Landings’ Unique Mix of Uses
It’s not every day that GBPCA contractors and Local 12 plumbers get to build projects that will be used by Boston’s beloved sports teams. Valante Mechanical, however, recently completed not one, but two such projects. In the fall, the shop wrapped up the Celtics’ new practice and training facility. A couple of years before that, it was part of the crew that constructed the Warrior Ice Arena, which serves as the Bruins’ home base to train and hone their skills.
Both of the complexes are part of Boston Landing, an enormous mixed-use development on a 15-acre site in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood. As with most mixed-use projects, Boston Landing includes a combination of office, residential, and retail spaces. It also offers lab space and has plans for a hotel. The sports franchises’ facilities bring unique components to the mix.
In addition to the Bruins’ and the Celtics’ training facilities, Valante did the plumbing and mechanical work for New Balance’s world headquarters at Boston Landing. The 250,000-square-foot building has a distinctive, sneaker-inspired design. “The plumbing inspector said that it looks like a skyscraper tipped onto its side,” says Herb Whipple, Valante’s foreman for the three jobs. Located aside the Mass Pike, the long, squat building and the two sports teams’ buildings, with their prominent Celtics and Bruins logos, are eye-catching for motorists traveling along the highway.
Working on the project has been an adventure according to Whipple, who has been a plumber for 32 years and has worked for Valante for 13 years. It wasn’t uncommon to bump into Marcus Smart, Patrice Bergeron, or their famous teammates during construction. The Celtics’ and Bruins’ buildings had unusual specifications and posed unique challenges. “Both have therapy pools, steam saunas, lap pools, and exercise pools,” says Whipple. “These aren’t things we typically see on the job.”
Also, Valante had to work with a compressed and fairly rigid time schedule. On most jobs, owners and users can be forgiving about end dates when weather and other factors cause delays. With the Bruins and Celtics, however, Whipple says there wasn’t much wiggle room. “Their season is set in stone. They had to start their training camps. The schedule was the schedule.” At the height of construction, Valante had about 30 workers at the three buildings.
“This has truly been a team effort between the developers, The HYM Investment Group and NB Development Group, general contractor John Moriarty and Associates, Local 12, and us,” says Joseph R. Valante, Jr., president of Valante Mechanical. “We all had to do our part to make this complex project come to fruition.”
In addition to Valante, the multi-phase Boston Landing project has been keeping other GBPCA contractors and union plumbers busy over the past five years, says Barry Keady, Local 12 business agent. For example, P. J. Dionne has been working on The Residences at 125 Guest Street, a 295,000-square-foot, 17-story building with 295 apartment units along with retail and restaurants. And TG Gallagher did the work on the Boston Landing commuter rail station, which is now open. “The train station is key,” Keady says. “It provides public transportation to downtown and makes Boston Landing a true smart growth development.”
Among other pieces yet to be built are additional office spaces, a large fitness complex, and a boutique, 175-room hotel. In total, Boston Landing will span 1.9 million square feet.
Previously a long-vacant brownfield site, Boston Landing is part of a surge of development in the Allston-Brighton area. Harvard University, for example, is constructing a major science and engineering complex and has additional plans to expand its campus on the large tract of land it owns.