BOSTON — It’s been a long time coming, but there’s finally a big private development happening on the South Boston waterfront.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals formally broke ground Wednesday on a two-building complex with more than a million feet of office space. The Fan Pier development on the waterfront will be the new headquarters of the drug company Vertex.
Hot on the heels of FDA approval for its first major commercial drug, Vertex will move out of almost a dozen smaller buildings it occupies in Cambridge into two prominent ones being built between Boston’s John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse and the Institute of Contemporary Art.
Backhoes started tearing up the parking lot on the site earlier this week. With 1.1 million square feet of office space under construction, and Vertex’s yearly rent of around $73 million, it’s a huge boost for the Seaport District.
The construction on Fan Pier also happens to be the largest private construction contract currently underway anywhere in the country.
Mayor Tom Menino was at the groundbreaking on Wednesday to celebrate the start of the much delayed project.
“This was a piece of property that everyone had dreams about. To those dreams that we had then, have been realized this morning,” Menino said.
City officials are calling the Seaport District and the area around South Station and Fort Point Channel the “Innovation District.” It’s home to a growing number of small tech firms and clean energy companies.
At the ground breaking on Wednesday, David Reilly, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers connected the past of Fan Pier to its innovative future.
“Although fan pier will no longer be a connector for shipping and railroads fanning out from the site will be innovative research, technological advances and cutting edge solutions,” Reilly said.