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    BLDUP Newsletter

Project Life Cycle - South Station 09/02/20

feldman south station

Few projects in Boston’s development and construction archives have the complexities of the South Station Air Rights project. Construction may have started earlier this year, but the project has been in the making since the 1980s. When the BRA sold South Station, it had the forethought to maintain the air rights for future development. It was also key that foundations were installed in the track area of the site with future development in mind. One firm has been operating behind the scenes on the project since 2006, Feldman Surveyors. Since being brought onto the project, Feldman has and will continue to provide a full suite of geospatial services that support this project for the entire lifespan, from due diligence and acquisition to as-built and long-term financing. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how the one call to Feldman has helped move the South Station project forward and will continue to ensure a successful development through completion.

Feasibility/Due Diligencefeldman life cycle

Hines began looking into the South Station air rights in the mid-2000s, and shortly thereafter Feldman became involved in the project. In the early stages, Feldman completed the existing conditions survey, locating utilities, boundaries, and other conditions along with reviewing site easements. This due diligence also covered Atlantic Ave and Summer Street plus as-builts of the tracks and train yard. The different phases of this process took almost a year to complete because of the complexity of the site but will ensure the project can be insured and qualify for long term financing when construction wraps up.


As if a site survey covering a major transit terminal was not intricate enough, here’s where things get even more complicated. Hines wasn’t looking to purchase all the air rights over South Station, just the portion into which their designed building would be built. Feldman worked to create 3-dimensional plans that matched the shape of the building. They also worked to create areas of emergency egress from the central artery tunnel that runs beneath Atlantic Avenue. With these in place, Hines closed on the $35.35 million dollar sale in late 2019.


With the Air Rights parcel officially secured, the project team moved into the permitting phase. Already very familiar with the site from their earlier work, Feldman worked with MassDOT for the right of way alteration, the FAA for structure height, zoning board, the public improvements commission, and of course, the MBTA and Amtrak.


Throughout the design phase and now through construction Feldman has provided Building Information Modeling — or BIM — 3D laser scanning and modeling plus all-important field coordination. The 3D laser scanning and modeling were utilized in several ways, including clash detection for utilities plus as-builts for steel coordination as the Phase 1 building will tie into the existing bus terminal. Also crucial is Feldman’s work on column line control as all subs and designers will be using these for their layout. Currently, on the project, the Feldman team is also performing real-time settlement monitoring on the roof of the Silver Line tunnel and railroad tracks 1 & 2, a key piece in ensuring safety. Being on-site, Feldman is providing field coordination, engineering, and management, guiding clients through the process.

Feldman South Station BIM
BIM & Utility Clash Detection

Laser Scanning Feldman South Station
Laser Scanning Point Cloud from Bus Terminal Vantage Point

silver line monitoring feldman
Real Time Structural Monitoring of Silver Line.

real time track monitoring feldman
Real Time Track Monitoring

As-Built/Long Term Financing

Once construction wraps up, Feldman will have all the necessary data on hand to provide the as-builts and additional documentation needed to secure long-term financing. Having worked on the project from the very beginning, there will be no searching for who has what documentation or tracking down a vendor that may have worked on a project many years ago. They can also complete the ALTA land title survey when that is required.


On complex projects, like the South Station Air Rights development, it is key to have continuity within your project team. This allows for seamless transitions across all stages of the project. That is why it is crucial to engage a firm that can offer smart surveying services that are designed to guide each client’s development vision until it becomes a built reality. In today’s digital world, surveying has developed into an all-encompassing discipline that includes processes for the entire Real Estate project lifecycle. This “survey intelligence” includes top-quality research, data collection combined with technology, and a high level of competence that goes into the survey process. Of course, most projects are not nearly as intricate as South Station; however, all real estate and development projects are a significant investment of time and resources. One call to Feldman is going to ensure consistency and accountability and enable you to Get it Right. From the Ground Up!

Contributor Bio

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At Feldman Surveyors, we guide our clients' development vision to become a built reality with smart solutions like Survey, BIM, and Construction Engineering. Our Boston and Worcester offices are staffed with over 70 professionals ready to meet your project's needs.

Right. From the Ground Up.

Feldman Geospatial >>