On Morrissey Boulevard, Globe sale waits and car dealer Chambers explains his delay

View from the Boston Globe's roof: Sale to potential buyer fell through in February.View from the Boston Globe's roof: Sale to potential buyer fell through in February.
The Boston Globe’s property on Morrissey Boulevard is still for sale— but is not being aggressively marketed at the moment as the newspaper focuses first on relocating its printing operations to a newly-acquired building in Taunton, MA.

Globe CEO Mike Sheehan also told the Reporter this week that the Globe has not yet identified a new headquarters for its news division. Last year, the Globe entered into an agreement to sell its 16.5 acre Dorchester property to Winstanley Enterprises, a Concord-based development firm. However, the deal fell through in February due to Winstanley’s difficulty in financing the purchase.

“There’s a little less time pressure now,” said Sheehan. “We’re still limiting our options, but we’ll take our time.”

Sheehan said that plans to use Columbia Point as the potential site of an Olympics Athletes Village would not be factored into the Morrissey site’s sale.

“Its not factored in for us at all. We’re going to market it independent of the Olympics. It’s a terrific spot for mixed-use development,” said Sheehan.

Pre-owned BMW dealership plan for old Ch. 56 lot.: Herb Chambers Co. says project has been stalled by engineering problems.Pre-owned BMW dealership plan for old Ch. 56 lot.: Herb Chambers Co. says project has been stalled by engineering problems.Meanwhile, a plan by car magnate Herb Chambers to re-use the old Channel 56 building right next door to the Globe site has been in a state of suspended animation for over a year.

Chambers, a Dorchester native who won community support and BRA approval to convert the old TV station at 75 Morrissey into a pre-owned car dealership in 2013, went radio silent on his plans over the last year. In a story on Boston.com that was published in February 2014, a lawyer for Chambers claimed that construction would begin on the site in the spring of 2014.

After numerous inquiries from the Reporter seeking an update over the last year, a public relations firm that represents Chambers offered a statement on Wednesday afternoon that blames the delay on "certain unanticipated complications in regard to engineering issues at this site."

"The Herb Chambers companies have expended considerable time and money designing and permitting an automobile dealership at the 75 Morrissey Blvd. location," reads the statement issued through Regan Communications."The Herb Chambers companies fully intend to utilize the property for automotive use.

"We have encountered certain unanticipated complications in regard to engineering issues at this site. These issues generally are related to excessive groundwater and some utility easement issues. We are confident we can overcome and work around these impediments. However, they have delayed our intended start date for construction of this project.

The statement concludes: "We apologize to our neighbors for any inconvenience this may have caused them."

In pitching his plan to elected officials and neighbors back in 2012, Chambers said that the Dorchester site would be his 51st dealership.

The renovated building would be “a heck of a lot better looking situation that what’s existing there now,” Chambers said. The construction project was expected to bring in 80 temporary jobs and 40 full time positions at the dealership.

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