Communications support for permitting, construction

Client

The Mandarin Oriental, Boston

Challenge

A team of developers proposed a significant mixed-use building on one of the few remaining parcels of land in Boston’s Back Bay. While plans for housing, a five-star hotel and retail/restaurant space offered numerous benefits to the city, residents in neighboring towers, nearby business owners and competing real estate developers voiced a number of concerns about the height, density and cost of the project.

Approach

Denterlein mapped all of the major milestones in the permitting process and created a tightly scheduled communications campaign to support appearances before community groups, city officials and public agencies. At the outset of the project, we created several simple, one-page documents designed to clarify the nature of the project, highlight its positive elements, and promote the community benefits package offered by the development team. These documents formed the basis of a stump speech used by a wide range of project ambassadors during outreach meetings. To showcase support for the project to city officials, Denterlein marshaled more than 100 letters of support from local residents, business owners and officials. The Boston Redevelopment Authority noted that there had never been another project with such significant evidence of community support.

Results

Not only did the project receive all necessary approvals, but the typically negative permitting process was transformed into a positive opportunity to generate buzz about the project.  As a result, there was a strong baseline of community support when the project team announced that the Mandarin Oriental, an internationally renowned five-star hotel, would serve as the hotel operator.  In fact, all of the condominiums associated with the project were sold prior to construction.

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