Port of Entry Reimagined for a Changing Economy
John E. Drew
Founder and chairman, The Drew Co.
Industry experience: 39 years
South Boston’s massive Commonwealth Pier cargo building weathered waves of historical and economic forces throughout the 20th century. Completed in 1914 on a 1,200-foot-long pier, the 9-acre edifice was a port of entry for immigrants, a hub for wool imports and a frozen seafood storage facility. In the 1980s, after the marine cargo industry declined, developers refashioned it as a showcase for Massachusetts’ technology sector.
Fidelity Investments and The Drew Co. converted the property into offices, an exhibition hall and meeting space collectively known as the World Trade Center Boston. The project served as a springboard for the early stages of the Seaport District’s transformation. The Drew Co. subsequently completed the 428-room Seaport Hotel Boston and the Seaport East and Seaport West office towers. Today Fidelity’s Pembroke Real Estate arm, which is the current leaseholder, is updating the property by replacing the former exhibition hall with 134,000 square feet of office space and upgrading the complex’s waterfront public plazas and retail storefronts.