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Tech complex eyed for Flower Exchange site

The Abbey Group has emerged as the prospective buyer of the Boston Flower Exchange, with plans to build a “dynamic” commercial office building complex targeting new technology businesses that otherwise would seek space in Cambridge’s Kendall Square.

The Boston developer has an agreement to buy the 5.6-acre site between the South End and Southeast Expressway. Its proposed development would include accessory parking, retail and public space, and perhaps a residential component, according to co-founder David Epstein.

“The zoning that’s in place offers the opportunity to create a real dynamic commercial campus for, we hope, new technology businesses — a viable alternative to particularly Kendall Square,” Epstein told city councilors at a hearing yesterday.

At its full zoning potential, the development could bring 5,000 to 10,000 jobs to the site, Epstein said.

The Abbey Group’s purchase is contingent on winning minor modifications of the city’s South End urban renewal plan that would change the parcel’s use from light industrial to commercial and possibly residential uses. It’s also contingent on the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s approval of the sale.

Yesterday’s hearing on the proposed urban renewal plan changes was the first since the City Council approved a controversial six-year extension to the BRA’s urban renewal powers through 2022 for 14 city zones, which now awaits state approval.

Epstein did not disclose details of the project’s size, saying it would be “presumptuous” before meetings to solicit community feedback. Its other Hub projects include Landmark Center in the Fenway and Lafayette City Center in Downtown Crossing.

The Flower Exchange was put up for sale last year, and its 13 wholesalers were notified they must move from the warehouse building by year’s end.

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