News

May 9, 2008

Documentary Highlights Jason Burrell ’98 and $74 Million ‘Green’ Building

Senior project manager is featured in The Greening of Southie – by Danielle Ward ’08

As senior project manager for Bovis Lend Lease, Jason Burrell ’98 has been overseeing construction of the $74 million Macallen Building, a 140-unit condo in South Boston. For the past three-and-a-half years, Burrell has been instrumental in the development of the revolutionary “green” building. It was even given a Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating, the second highest that a green building can receive. Just don’t ask him to break the 4th wall.

As a key member of the project, Burrell was asked to participate in a documentary about it. “They followed me and a couple of other people around through the whole process,” Burrell says, “I was asked to have my work life highlighted.” The footage, Burrell’s included, was complied into The Greening of Southie, co-produced by Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis.

The film asks the question, “What happens when you’re asked to build the city of tomorrow today?” Named for the transformation that the environmentally friendly building will have on the working class Boston neighborhood, the documentary capitalizes on the tension between the change for the future and the traditional ideas of today. Burrell says the movie highlights the building itself as well as the challenges faced during construction. It opens at orientation for the building construction crew, where the workers discover that this building is different from every other job they have worked on.

The film, an official selection for the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Mo., and the Independent Film Festival of Boston, made its television premiere, fittingly enough, on Earth Day on the Sundance Channel.

Film crews taped Burrell during meetings and throughout his regular work day. Equipped with a portable microphone, Burrell says that he eventually got used to having the cameras following him around. He also participated in several on-camera interviews during the course of filming. “[They interviewed me] on different challenges we were having,” Burrell says. “Also on my perspectives on going green and how those perspectives changed through the construction process.”

“It’s nice to be able to get your face out there and be recognized for what you do on a day-to-day basis,” he says. Although Burrell was “pleased” with how the film came out, he doesn’t believe he has a future on the silver screen. “I think this is my 15 minutes [of fame] right here,” he says.

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