By Seth Daniel
Activity blossomed out of the FBI Building on Everett Avenue Monday morning as the Boston Headquarters officially opened for its first day of work in Chelsea.
Cars pulled into the lot, shuttles operated from South Station and some of the 500 newly relocated employees strolled the sidewalks and grabbed lunch at local businesses.
After nearly three years of construction on the highly specialized building, the FBI announced Monday it had moved in to the Chelsea building and had vacated the building at Center Plaza in downtown Boston.
“This new facility will give our employees and law enforcement partners better security, upgraded technologies, and provide more room for our growing task forces,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Division. “We look forward to continuing to build upon the relationships we’ve established here in Chelsea while maintaining the critical partnerships we’ve developed over the years in Boston. We hope our presence in the neighborhood will have a positive impact.”
The new 275,000 square foot facility is situated on 5.1 acres of land and is eight stories high. The state-of-the-art law enforcement facility was designed to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification, and it is being leased for the FBI by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) for a period of 20 years.
This marks the first time the FBI Boston Division will be located in a stand-alone building. The Division spent 23 years at its previous location, One Center Plaza. The new facility was developed and is owned by ACS Development. The Government Services Administration (GSA) leases the property on behalf of the federal government. Construction began in August 2014.
Patricia Simboli of ACS Development said they were busy all weekend helping the move, and on site Monday to make sure things went smoothly.
“Monday was a highly, highly exciting day,” she said. “Obviously there was a tremendous amount of planning that went into it. We were on the site Sunday helping to facilitate the move. We were on site at 5 a.m. Monday to make sure shuttle buses were running without a hitch. We went to South Station and North Station to make sure there was coverage. It’s wonderful to see the parking lot full of cars and people walking on the sidewalk. It feels like something really big was accomplished – a Herculean effort to get here is complete. We now have a tremendous responsibility now going forward to maintain the building and make sure it’s operational.”
To that end, Simboli said they have hired 10 new people to maintain and operate the new FBI building.
However, Simboli said there was a lot more to this story than just building a building. She said her main lesson was watching her father, Anthony C. Simboli, persevere through the nearly 10-year process.
“The big lessons for me is my father having had a vision,” she said. “It was a demonstration in perseverance and someone absolutely no wanting to give up. That kind of determination and focus is rare and something we talk about as important for young people…He says I should be proud. I say he should be proud. The truth is we couldn’t have done it one without the other.”
Now Simboli said she hopes the experience of the FBI in Chelsea spreads to other Boston businesses as they investigate the area for relocation. She said on Monday, FBI employees did go out to lunch at area businesses and felt “warmly welcomed and wanted” in Chelsea.
That message is one that could make this historic day repeated many times over.
“Monday was an historic day as a group of civilians and agents relocated from Center Plaza Boston to Chelsea,” she said. “It is time for other Boston businesses to do the same. Hotels, healthcare, housing, shopping, restaurants and new public transportation make this the next great opportunity. ACS Development Corporation, the company Anthony C. Simboli built, is ready willing and eager for its next project in the city. It is a transformed environment from 30 years ago. Flags are flying. Signs have been unveiled. Employees are arriving and a new day is dawning in the city of Chelsea.”
A formal dedication ceremony, for invited guests and news media, will be scheduled for early 2017.
Now located at 201 Maple Street, Chelsea, MA 02150, the main telephone number has been changed to: (857) 386-2000. The Division will continue to serve Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, as well as oversee ten satellite offices across those states.