Auto magnate Herb Chambers, who hopes to build a 216,000-square-foot dealership on Morrissey Boulevard, told the Reporter this week that he has “no knowledge” of what the potential buyers of the Boston Globe property building next door intend to do with the 16-acre sire.
As first outlined in stories by the Reporter last month, Chambers plans to construct a massive Land Rover-Jaguar showroom and repair shop on the property next to the Globe that he has owned since 2012. He had said earlier that he wanted to transform the old WB56 TV building into a pre-owned BMW dealer under his name, a plan that won community and BRA approvals. But he has shifted gears to focus on the luxury British auto brands instead.
“It’s been very difficult to design a dealership on this site,” Chambers said in an interview on Tuesday. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with the Globe property. I don’t even know if it’s been sold yet.”
“This thing has been going on for a long, long time and we’re under the gun,” he added. “If we can’t build it [at 75 Morrissey] we will have to build it somewhere else.”
Chambers told the Reporter he has had outreach from Center Court, the New York-based real estate firm that has reportedly entered into an agreement to buy the Globe property. He said that he would prefer to build the car dealership and not sell the property, saying, “They don’t need my property to do whatever their going to do at the Globe.” Then he added, “I would be open to offers. Everything I have is for sale. I have 55 locations and any one of them could be for sale. But I’ve really had my heart set on doing this building.
Chambers, who grew up in Dot, called the neighborhood “a great area, it’s going through a transition. It’s across from JFK Library and UMass and the proximity to Boston, you couldn’t beat it.”
He acknowledged feeling “stymied” by the concerns about how the Globe sale and redevelopment could impact his project— as well as by uncertainty about how the city of Boston would like to proceed with an eventual build-out along the Morrissey corridor. He said he plans to return to the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association next month with his latest plans for the dealership project.