Various designs and ideas circulated about what would happen to the 1950s Post Office that fills an entire city block. In November 2016 Musson Cattell Mackey submitted a rezoning that would have seen an office tower, some large format retail and two residential towers. Now it has been totally changed to have just two towers, both for office space (above, and right). This is the biggest shift from proposed residential to commercial use seen in many years – and it means that the project can probably proceed without a Public Hearing as it need not be a rezoning.
It’s a huge building – what you can see is massive – a Heritage ‘A’ structure designed by McCarter & Nairne (who also designed the Marine Building). What you can’t see is that the building is pretty much as big underground as above – and when it was built it was the world’s largest welded-steel structure, so we’re talking solid!
The heritage element would be converted into a seven-storey podium containing retail along all street frontages, office, and parking. Details of the floorspace for the revised project have yet to be announced, but Amazon will take 416,000 square feet (one of the largest single deals in the city’s history) and plan to add 3,000 more employees, on top of the 2,000 they had previously announced. They will occupy a third of the 1.13 million square feet project.
The initial response from the Urban Design Panel questioned the overall massing of the project and looked for some other changes including greater public space and a better link between Homer and Hamilton Streets. They should be happier with the new project, although that’s never a given!