BOSTON-Fan Pier, the 21-acre mixed-use project that is considered the heart of the redevelopment of South Boston’s waterfront, officially has a new owner. A group led by Lennar Corp., a Miami-based residential developer, signed a contract with Chicago-based Nicholas J. Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Development Corp., to purchase the property.

Financial details of the deal were not released, but according to local reports, Lennar, LNR Property Corp. and Turnberry Associates are paying between $125 and $130 million. Locally, LNR is redeveloping the 1,400-acre South Weymouth Naval Air Station. Turnberry is a developer of luxury apartments and condos.

The transaction is expected to be completed by mid-October 2004. Lennar managed to beat out two local firms in its bid for the site. Both the real estate division of Fidelity Investments and locally based mall developer Stephen Karp attempted to acquire the property.

The nine-block Fan Pier is currently permitted for a hotel, office, and civic buildings, condominiums, retail shops, open public spaces and a new home for the Institute of Contemporary Art. It is located within the designated growth corridor of the city–the South Boston Waterfront District.

Stuart Miller, president and CEO of Lennar and chairman of the board of LNR, emphasized that this development team would keep faith with the agreements made among Hyatt, the city and the state. “We will honor the vision already in place,” says Miller.

Fan Pier is approved by state and city agencies for three million sf of mixed-use development, including residential, office, hotel, retail and civic and cultural uses. LNR is expected to develop the mixed-use project consistent with the plans and permits which Hyatt and their development manager, Spaulding & Slye Colliers, have assembled over the last six years. Members of the local Hyatt development team are expected to work in tandem with Lennar to in the development of Fan Pier.

The Fan Pier project is the largest development on the South Boston waterfront and its huge expanse currently sits nearly vacant and is used largely as parking lots. The city had great hopes for the development of this area, but hotel projects, which have never been easy to finance, became even trickier with the recent downturn in the economy. Pritzker never managed to secure the necessary financing to move the project forward and he announced a few months ago that he would be selling the property.

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