The Kensington Investment Company (KIC) is pleased to announce that the extensive repositioning of its property at 361 Newbury Street in Boston has been completed.
Built in 1910, this 82,000 SF, 5-story mixed-use office and retail building is located at the corner of Newbury Street and Massachusetts Avenue at the western edge of Boston’s Back Bay. In 2013, KIC recognized the opportunity to add substantial value to the building by taking better advantage of the location — specifically, by leveraging the upper-floor office spaces and combining the ground-floor retail façades into one retail space with a prestigious Newbury Street address.
Putting a contemporary spin on a historic property
The $11.5M project had four phases: 1) improving the infrastructure and mechanical systems, 2) upscaling the lobby area, 3) opening up the upper floors to appeal to larger professional tenants, and 4) renovating all common areas, including bathrooms, hallways, and elevators.
The transformation begins at the building entrance at 100 Massachusetts Avenue, which was widened with a new frameless glass wall opening onto an enlarged lobby, renovated elevator, and open stairway. The lobby itself was redesigned with clean lines in granite, marble, wood, glass, and stainless steel, providing a contemporary counterpoint to the historic structure and effectively opening the lobby up to the street. The resulting ambiance is bright and generous.
The upper floors also received a facelift. A new layout maximizes the opportunity for open office layouts, while a new exposed HVAC system provides local climate control while allowing full exposure of the building’s heavy timber and masonry structure. Relocating the restrooms and central mechanical room also provides maximum flexibility around the building perimeter.
That open-space feeling prevails throughout the building, with direct and indirect lighting and ductwork carefully integrated into the structure — all done while providing small-zone HVAC controls. In addition, large, raised, north-facing skylights on the top floor have been replaced with thermally insulated skylights, and historic, operable sash windows have been replaced so that the character of the building is maintained and local user control is maximized.
Making energy efficiency a priority
Given KIC’s mission of being the leading socially and environmentally responsible family real estate development and investment company, energy-efficiency was an important goal of the project. Toward this goal, a new BMS (Building Management System) was installed to allow for greater control over all components of the HVAC system. Heating and cooling systems were replaced on the upper three floors, a new heavily-insulated roofing system was installed, and the old roof monitors were replaced with new insulated clear windows. The rain water/storm drain system was rerouted to the interior of the building and is ready to tie into the City’s new storm water system. And lastly, the passenger elevator was modernized and enhanced esthetically.
The result of the mechanical enhancements is expected to produce improved efficiency of approximately 5% in cooling-season and 20% in heating-season utility costs. They will also ensure that we are running the most energy-efficient building possible.
Turning over a new lease
Regus, a high end flexible work space provider, has already signed up to relocate to 361 Newbury Street. The building is also home to other well-known tenants, including Urban Outfitters and Boston Sports Club.
The renovated property is scheduled to open in spring 2016.