Developer plans to 'rejuvenate' block of office buildings near Faneuil Hall

IndustriesAssociated Press

A Boston real estate developer is proposing to transform a cluster of office buildings near Faneuil Hall into a vibrant commercial complex featuring restaurants, retail and hotel space.

Related Beal's proposal for Congress Square calls for adding 50,000-plus square feet of restaurant and retail space to the ground floors of five buildings.

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The plan calls for turning a little-used alley into a pedestrian zone lined with cafes and shops connecting with Faneuil Hall, Post Office Square and Downtown Crossing.

Related bought 343,000-square-feet of primarily office space from Fidelity Investments in December for $87.25 million. Fidelity will move out of three of the buildings by year's end and the others by the end of October 2015.

"Our plan is to rejuvenate the entire block through a mixed-use redevelopment strategy," said Stephen Faber, executive vice president of Related Beal. "These buildings and this location present us with the opportunity to .... create a real destination."

Transforming Quaker Lane is the centerpiece of the project.

"The heart of the project will be integrating Quaker Lane with the surrounding buildings and turning it into an urban oasis of outdoor seating, food, and entertainment — a surprising transformation given it is just an alley today," said Scott Pollack, principal of architect Arrowstreet.

The plan unveiled Monday needs the approval of the Boston Redevelopment Authority.