Makeover Plans in the Works for Historic Downtown Marketplace
Faneuil Hall has been a meeting place and center of commerce for the city of Boston for centuries. Unfortunately, this historic area of the city has fallen by the wayside in the minds of residents in recent years. While still a popular destination for tourists who wish to learn more about Boston’s history, Faneuil Hall is often ignored by locals in favor of trendier areas. However, two local development companies, the Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation and Related Beal, are looking to change that. Together, the companies plan to update and modernize the Faneuil Hall marketplace and Quaker Lane to create a local shopping haven as well as a corridor that connects Faneuil Hall with Downtown Crossing via Post Office Square.
Ashkenazy is spearheading the plans to revitalize the Faneuil Hall area. The corporation bought a ground lease for the area in 2011 and has been working on the development plans since, many of which may be completed within 12 months if approved. The plans include transforming the crowded Quincy Market food court into an open-concept area filled with restaurants and various types of seating, from larger tables to smaller countertops. The current setup of Quincy Market consists of a long hallway with vendors on either side, which leads to much crowding and congestion. The newly proposed layout will allow visitors ample walking space as well dining space, creating a more welcoming area to stay and dine. The South Market and North Market buildings in the area, which presently contain chain retail shops and a few restaurants, will be getting a similar makeover.
Ashkenazy is also paying special attention to the plethora of local retailers that currently operate in the Faneuil Hall space. The development company intends to keep these local businesses and will encourage new local companies to open up in the renovated space. The developer believes local shops and restaurants, as opposed to retail chains, will provide unique value to the area and hopefully encourage Bostonians to visit the marketplace more often not only to explore, but to support local businesses as well.
On top of renovating and modernizing the three market buildings, Ashkenazy will also be making use of the abundant outdoor space in the Faneuil Hall area. The most notable change will be the additions of glass pavilions beside and behind the Quincy Market building. Not wanting to detract from the grandeur of the historical buildings on site, these pavilions will be comprised of non-tinted glass that will allow visitors to look straight through them. These structures will allow more retailers and restaurants to move into the space, creating more interest for consumers and growth opportunity for local vendors.
Just down the block from Faneuil Hall, developer Related Beal is embarking on a revitalization project of their own. The company has purchased the ground floors of office buildings that line Quaker Lane, a small and oft-forgotten alleyway in Congress Square that runs from Post Office Square to Downtown Crossing. Related intends to create a small shopping and dining, and office complex in Quaker Lane, creating a connection between the revitalized Downtown Crossing and the soon-to-be new and improved Faneuil Hall. This project, dubbed Congress Square, will not only add new retailers to the area; it will also restore life to a hidden piece of Boston’s history. The plan is for the retail portion to be open by autumn of 2015.
The renovation plans for both Faneuil Hall and Congress Square are awaiting approval from the Boston Redevelopment Authority. If Ashkenazy and Related Beal receive the go-ahead, these companies can continue to transform the landscape of downtown Boston into the vibrant, bustling city hub it was always meant to be.