Big news for a Boston waterfront looking to shoe in some more action: Today Mayor Menino announced that iconic shoe company Converse, Inc. will be moving its world headquarters from North Andover to Boston’s Lovejoy Wharf as part of the $230 million redevelopment project for the rundown area across from the TD Garden.
The new location will reportedly house more than 400 Converse employees when it opens its doors in April 2015.
“They say that wearing Converse makes a statement about a person. Well I want to say that Converse moving its world headquarters to Boston makes a statement about our city,” Mayor Menino said. “Converse and Boston are a perfect marriage. Two venerable and classic brands that are also constantly evolving. The move to Lovejoy Wharf will revitalize this historic northern gateway, while giving Converse access to a young, talented and creative workforce.”
Lovejoy Wharf is located on the Boston Harbor between the Charlestown Bridge and the Zakim Bridge and currently features several large rundown buildings and a neglected pier situated on prime real estate.
In December 2012, according to press release from the mayor’s office, the Boston Redevelopment Authority Board approved plans by the Beal Companies and The Related Companies “to revitalize the site with new office and residential development.”
“Converse will be leasing office space at 160 North Washington Street, a 9-story building that will be rehabbed and will also include 45,000 square feet of ground floor retail with a 300-seat café-style restaurant. The adjacent dilapidated structure at 131 Beverly Street will be removed and replaced with a 14-story residential building with 100 housing units that will be connected by a 10-story link to 160 North Washington Street,” said the release.
Sounds swanky, and no word yet on what the price tag of those housing units will be. The redevelopment is said to include a large open public space, public waterfront access and transportation, floating docks, and a “beautiful new harborwalk.”
While the office and retail space at 160 North Washington Street will bring hundreds of new jobs to the area and an estimated $63.3 million in new revenue to the city during the next 25 years, it’s also interesting to note, as the Boston Herald reports, that “the deal for 186,525 square feet of offices includes a covenant that bans”–rather unusually–“a long list of shoe and clothing brands from setting up shop in the new Lovejoy Wharf’s retail spaces,” including more than 45 rival brands such as top sneaker competitors Reebok, Adidas, and New Balance as well as apparel giants Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Lululemon Athletica and Tommy Hilfiger.
We also understand that Mayor Menino received a special edition pair of Converse Chuck Taylors out of the deal:
— BRA (@BostonRedevelop) January 8, 2013
Rumor has it Mayor Menino has a custom pair of New Balance sneaks with his name on them as well.
Image via the Boston Redevelopment Authority