Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Developer: National Development
Designers: Elkus Manfredi Architects; Copley Wolff Design Group; Landing Studio
Site Size: 6.92 acres (2.8 ha)
Located on the former site of the Boston Herald building, Ink Block is a mixed-use development connecting Boston’s South End to South Boston. The same site, before it hosted the Herald, was a residential neighborhood called the New York Streets, which was razed under the banner of urban renewal. Prior to the development of Ink Block, the area had been a dilapidated industrial zone, isolated from its surroundings. Now, Ink Block is a thriving mixed-use development with seven buildings, designed to feel as if they were built organically over time.
Each building has its own character and target audience, and the five residential buildings are all certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold. The last addition, 7INK, broke ground this summer and will formally introduce co-living to Boston. One of the most distinctive parts of the development is the eight-acre (3.2 ha) park constructed partially under the highway overpasses adjacent to the site. This park provides bike and pedestrian connections to South Boston and public transit. Ink Block was developed after the local community underwent a 30-month planning process in which they reached consensus on how to spur development in Boston’s South End while still honoring the neighborhood’s past.
Ink Block has certainly succeeded in encouraging development, since it is now surrounded by new developments following its success. The project also sought to honor both the site’s history as a residential neighborhood as well as its history in the newspaper business by maintaining the scale of the project and choosing Ink Block as the name. The development has successfully integrated affordable housing with its upscale market-rate housing and brought a much-needed grocery store as well as park space to the area. Ink Block has transformed its neighborhood, reconnected Boston’s South End to South Boston, and provided fantastic amenities for its residents on a site that, not many years ago, was considered blighted.