Construction Process Begins On Charles Square Complex

Construction has begun on a complex that will incorporate a luxury hotels condominiums and office and retail space on a four acre site on Memorial Drive near the Kennedy School.

The $75 million 800,000 square foot project known as Charles Square is expected to open in February of 1985 developers announced at a press conference yesterday.

"We're only on the third of 10 floors but the digging part of the work in essentially finished," said Richard I. Friedman President of Carpenter and Co. the firm in charge of the development.

The construction is proceeding only after a six year struggle between developers and neighborhood residents. When Carpenter and Co. submitted its first plan for the site in 1977 community activists protested that the proposed project stressed retail use, which would generated additional traffic on the already congested streets in the area.

In the mid 1970s a similar protest arose over the proposed John F. Kennedy Memorial Library, which would have been built on the same site formerly known as Parcel ib. Because of community pressure the library site was moved to Columbia point in Boston.

The present plan for Charles Square is the result of cooperation between the developers the neighborhood and city officials Friedman said.

The complex will include a 300 room hotel 86 luxury condominiums with 40,000 square feet of shops about the size of the Galeria Mall on Kennedy St. and 115,000 square feet of office space clustered around a central courtyard.

In addition plans provide for an enclosed 700 car garage to alleviate the parking problems on surrounding streets.

The development has been designed to fit in anesthetically with the surrounding architecture, Friedman said. The buildings are red brick and the plan includes money to build a Kennedy Memorial Park along Memorial Drive in front of the development.

Friedman added that he still meets with the neighborhood about once a month to bring them up to date on the development.