Skanska to Commemorate Boston’s Seaport History at Harbor Way

Press release 6/16/2017 12:00 AM EST

Skanska USA, the leading development and construction firm behind Boston’s most sustainable block, home to 101 and 121 Seaport, and Watermark Seaport, has announced plans to honor the Seaport’s history within Harbor Way.

Skanska USA unveils plans for interactive walking museum on public promenade between its 101 and 121 Seaport Office Developments

Harbor Way is a 70-foot-wide pedestrian promenade with 20,000-square-feet of tree-lined open space and retail between 101 and 121 Seaport, two office buildings Skanska developed and built targeting LEED® Platinum certification. Skanska’s vision is to create an amenity for the public, so that history buffs from near and far can learn about Seaport’s past. The interactive walking museum will highlight important milestones from past centuries through Skanska’s recent #SeaportShipwreck discovery.

“The buildings we create should positively impact the community beyond the confines of their own walls. Many of Boston’s neighborhoods preserve the city’s past in compelling ways. With Harbor Way, we are introducing the Seaport’s story in a way that marries Boston’s reverence for preserving history with the Innovation District’s spirit,” said Charley Leatherbee, leader of Skanska’s development operations in Boston.

When Skanska completes Harbor Way in 2018, the promenade’s walking museum will include several stops that recount the Seaport’s history, exploring the following themes:

  • How this area of Boston was once a tidal flat, and how the ship Skanska discovered in May 2016 came to rest a few blocks inland;
  • How city planners filled land over the former tidal flat in 1896, burying the ship;
  • The Seaport’s industrial past and evolution, and how a railroad was once present at the location;
  • The artifacts archeologists found within the ship; and
  • Facts about the ship’s last voyage, believed to be from Rockland Maine to the South Boston Flats A Once-in-a Lifetime Discovery
  • In late May 2016, a Skanska employee noticed an unexpected structure that resembled the outline of a boat hull at the construction site of 121 Seaport. Recognizing its potential historic significance, the company halted construction and contacted the City of Boston Archaeologist Joe Bagley, the Massachusetts Historic Commission, The Public Archaeology Laboratory, the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeology, and David S. Robinson and Associates, to investigate what is now known as the #SeaportShipwreck.
  • Reflecting the spirit of the Innovation District, the Harbor Way museum will also be linked to an augmented reality (AR) exhibit which will sync to a phone application available for download. Trivium Interactive, Copley Wolff and Amaze Design are currently developing the phone application. The app will provide a more detailed, virtually guided tour through the stops for those interested in additional information. For those who do not wish to download the app, the stops will provide a succinct overview of the area’s history and Skanska’s discovery.

"Boston has so many underground secrets and mysteries yet to be discovered. The shipwreck was both a surprise and an eye-opening experience and sheds new light on both the history of Boston's Seaport, and the historic connections between Boston and the rest of New England,” said Joe Bagley, the City of Boston Archaeologist.

Due to age and severe deterioration of the boat’s wood because of a fire that occurred on the vessel before it sunk, the team concluded the ship could not be reconstructed to its original form. Skanska is incorporating the salvaged remains directly into 121 Seaport. The company partnered with Timber Guy Founder John Dickey, an expert in repurposing reclaimed wood, to create unique pieces of furniture from the usable remnants. The furniture will accent the majestic building’s common areas as well as conference rooms throughout 121 Seaport when completed in early 2018.

More about 121 Seaport and Skanska

121 Seaport is a 17-story, 400,000-square-foot, Class-A office tower with a distinctive elliptical design that will round off Boston’s most sustainable block. The building is situated in the heart of Boston’s booming Seaport District, across from District Hall and Seaport Square Green. Its three-story lobby faces Boston Harbor and opens onto Harbor Way.

The building will feature virtually column-free floor plates, creating flexible workspaces that allow tenants to customize their space for business growth, and meet the specific needs of employees wanting private or open collaborative spaces. It will also boast elevated 10-foot ceilings that welcome breathtaking views of the waterfront and Financial District; outdoor terraces; a private, tenant-only fitness center; conference and event space; direct access to neighboring parks and amenities; a 24/7 hotel-style concierge; and two floors of prime retail.

The transit-oriented development is adjacent to the MBTA’s Silver Line, and walking distance from South Station. It will offer 270 indoor bicycle parking spaces, 275 underground parking spaces, and is a block away from I-93 and I-90 access ramps. The neighborhood has blossomed with retail, including SoulCycle, Starbucks, By Chloe, CVS, Blue Hills Bank, the ICA, Yo! Sushi, Equinox, Gather, and Ocean Prime.

Skanska has built and restored New England’s landmarks for more than 70 years—from Gillette Stadium and the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, to the Longfellow Bridge. Skanska self-finances the majority of its development projects and serves as the construction manager. The firm is responsible for developing and building “Boston’s most sustainable block” in the Seaport District, including 121 Seaport101 Seaport, the North American headquarters for PwC; and Watermark Seaport, a 300,000-square-foot, LEED Gold residential building with ground-floor retail, which is more than 95 percent leased. Skanska also developed 150 Second Street, a lab and office building in Cambridge, MA, and is currently developing a luxury residential tower at 1350 Boylston Street in The Fenway, where Tatte Bakery & Café and Oath Craft Pizza will be opening their doors this fall.