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BOSTON-The Postal Service has revealed plans for the 21-acre site it owns in South Boston near A Street. The plan is part of a master plan for the Fort Point Channel area, which the city asked the major developers in the area to create.

“We asked the major property owners with vacant land in the area to come together and work as a team,” Linda Haar, the city’s director of planning and development, tells GlobeSt.com. “This is somewhat unprecedented for property owners but we knew it was the only way it could work.” James Travers, of CB Richard Ellis/Whittier Partners, which is advising the Postal Service, tells GlobeSt.com that the property owners in this district “realized that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The master plan will allow for the orderly development of the land.” For the city, notes Haar, the important piece of the plan was that the area should function as a neighborhood.

As part of the plan for the Postal Service’s property, 7.7 acres will remain open space and will connect to Beacon’s Midway Development’s open space and to Gillette’s open space. Another important aspect is the connection to Hull Road where much of the industry’s truck traffic occurs. “We don’t want to hinder industry,” notes Haar. The plan also includes a residential component that would be 40% of the space, or 1.5 million sf, according to Travers, with the remaining 2.2 million a mix of retail, office and cultural space.

The Postal Service’s site currently functions as a parking facility for the Post Office’s main facility in South Station. Travers notes that the Post Office plans on selling this site and its 15-acre site in South Station once it finds an alternate location. “The Post Office plan is contingent upon their moving from South Station,” he tells GlobeSt.com, and adds that it would like to go to the Reserve Channel site in South Boston, which is 65% owned by the Massachusetts Port Authority. “They are currently in conversations with Massport,” Travers says.

The city’s master plan covers the 100 acres owned collectively by the Postal Service, Gillette, Beacon Capital Partners and the Boston Wharf Company. Haar points out that because the majority of the vacant land is in the Postal Service’s parcel, the focus of the plan was on its land.

Haar says that the public reaction to the plan “was positive” and that the plan will be the basis for future project approval. Other issues–such as height issues, setbacks and open space–still need to be addressed. “Now we need to get into the details,” says Haar.

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