How do you turn unused basement space in a commercial building into an asset? That was the question facing Oxford Properties, owners of 225 Franklin Street, a 33-story office tower in downtown Boston.
Working with Gensler, the team decided to convert the basement to useable amenity space featuring meeting and event space, a bar and catering service area, formal and informal seating, men’s and women’s locker rooms, bike storage and even two professional golf simulators. All of these features are complemented by high-end finishes including solid wood and polished concrete floors, Venetian plaster walls, millwork panels and striking light fixtures, antique bronze mirrors, operable glass partitions and a new monumental staircase.
Transforming a basement into such a beautiful yet practical space did pose some challenges. Primarily, basement design typically pays little attention to the look of the building infrastructure running through it, meaning the construction team had to reconfigure much of the MEP infrastructure to avoid interfering with design. To achieve the desired look, we worked with the design teams to creatively reroute the MEP infrastructure and with the building owner to identify alternative tie-in points in places where the 50-year-old drawings weren’t always accurate.
Another challenge was ordering and installing the specialty features of the space, including the large millwork panel walls, specialty entry doors and PK-30 folding glass partition system. With a hard deadline for completion, we had to ensure certain phases of the work were ready for installation when those elements arrived. Where we could, we built temporary doors or enclosures to allow work in a different area to continue on pace while we awaited the next phase to begin in other areas.
As a result, The Foundation now offers building tenants a stunning space to host informal gatherings, formal meetings and company events. The locker rooms and golf simulators are a perk for employees, and the owners can rent out the space for external functions. The project truly made something from nothing and turned what was considered unusable space into a marketing and sales tool.