Building Boston: A Chat with Alexander Shing of Cottonwood Management

He's working on one of the largest developments under construction in Boston.

Welcome to Building Boston, where we chat with local developers, builders, architects, and change-makers about our city.

Photo via Cottonwood Management, LLC

Meet Alexander Shing. He’s chairman and CEO at Cottonwood Management, a California-based real estate development company working on one of the Seaport’s newest residential towers, EchelonSeaport.

My favorite building in Boston’s skyline is…the MacLaurin Building on the MIT campus. Every time I see it, it reminds me of my time at school and how I started my career here in Boston. But by next year, my new favorite will of course be EchelonSeaport.

If there’s one thing I could change about Boston, it would be…the winter weather. After those back-to-back Nor’easters the city recently experienced, it reminded me of my dislike for the days of having to dig my car out of the snowbanks on the street and the struggle to scrape my windshield clean after winter storms.

I’m working on…EchelonSeaport, one of the largest development projects currently under construction in Boston. Designed by world-renowned architects Kohn Pedersen Fox, we are introducing three 21-story residential towers showcasing a stepped-tower design that will be unique to the Seaport District. Our goal wasn’t to just deliver a place to live, but to offer a new way of life and to bring a greater sense of community to the neighborhood. Beyond EchelonSeaport, we are working on several other milestone projects including an Echelon property in New York as well as additional projects in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other gateway cities in the US.

In 15 years, I hope Boston will…continue to establish its place as a leading global city in innovation even more than it is today. Boston is undergoing a historic development boom, attracting leading corporations across all industries. Companies like Amazon, GE, and Reebok are seeing the value in relocating here or expanding their footprint—especially in the Seaport District. It’s a city rich with innovation, academic energy, and international flair.

To help ease the housing crisis, I’m…focused on delivering much-needed housing options to Boston. The city’s population is continuing to grow and with that comes an increased demand for living options. We are eager to help meet that demand with EchelonSeaport by delivering a wide range of condominium and rental options—including affordable housing opportunities—over the next few years.

Honestly, I hate it when…I don’t have enough time in the day. Something that I have learned over the years is that no matter the success level of a person, the one thing we all share in common is that we never have enough time. Whether that’s time for work, time for family, time for health and wellness, or just time for yourself, it never seems to be enough. So I try to make a conscious effort to find the time for the things that really matter in my life. The true essence of luxury is time.

Rising sea levels are…a global issue and something that cannot be ignored. Locally, as a matter of policy, the city of Boston has required all projects that are being built within the Seaport Square master plan area (where EchelonSeaport is located) to comply with resiliency design practices. It’s about being proactive and forward thinking for what will come instead of being reactionary to what happens. As a community, we are making strides but we still need to come together and map out the future for Boston’s waterfront.

EchelonSeaport / Rendering via Cottonwood Management, LLC