Cambridge Crossing (NorthPoint) | East Cambridge/Charlestown | Cambridge/Boston

awood91

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i take the north commuter rail service often and i pass this site almost every day. construction progresses very quickly.

some basic information:
-right now, there are 3 buildings under construction. two are for residential units and the other is office space.
-when complete in 2013-2014 the development will total 2.3 M feet of commercial space and have 2,700 residences.
-the developers claim that the 2,700 residences will make northpoint one of the most densely populated places in the immediate Boston area.
-the development will have a total of 20 individual buildings, most about 150 feet tall.
-the development features a 10 acre park with wireless Internet that promises to "connect the community to the Charles river park system."
-the project will have a relocated T station on the green line and is also very close to the community college orange line T station. The Lechmere station will be moved across the highway into this development.

discussion topics:
-the developers are targeting bio-tech companies as the most likely tenants for the new 2.3 M feet of space. is there that much demand for the new space, or will we end up with empty buildings like 33 arch street?
-will the 2,700 new condos saturate the market and not sell quickly? the pricing for the units start in the mid $300s, according to www.livingatnorthpoint.com.
-will the design of the development (intended to be a brand new urban neighborhood, complete with day-care, laundromat and gym) allow it to become the lively and cosmopolitan neighborhood its planners are hoping it will become?

let us know what you think!!
anyone want to take pictures of the progress?
 

Ron Newman

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Not really "its own new T station". The Lechmere station will be moved across the highway into this development. This is necessary if the Green Line is to be extended further west into Somerville, but it will be inconvenient for many of the station's current users in East Cambridge and the Galleria mall.
 

PerfectHandle

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Charlestown

Will North Point and its parks connect directly to Charlestown or will the best connection still be the Austin Street Bridge?
 

Ron Newman

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The park looks nearly finished, but was still fenced off when I last visited a week ago. (It is part of the Big Dig project, not part of this private development.)
 

BostonMike

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Actually, I think there are only two North Point buildings going up right now. The third building--the one right at the edge by the Gilmore bridge--is a separate residential development.

I rollerblade by this every day on the way to work. While it's fun watching the buildings go up, I have more fun reading the ever-growing amount of graffiti on the steel.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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Looking at these go up I realized how much Boston is changing and how different it will look in 5, 10 years. So good, some bad. 5 years ago there were all these lots and now there are towers. Interesting.
 

ckb

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When you look at the angle that this picture is taken from, it reinforces the fears that this development will just be the Cambridge version of the West End. At least we didn't demolish an established neighborhood to get it.

If the photograph were taken pointed 10 degrees more to the right, we would see the towers in the parks contrast with Beacon Hill on the Boston side and East Cambridge on the near side of the river.
 

awood91

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bostonmike, do you know what that building that's going up closest to the bridge is called or if it has a website?
 

quadratdackel

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ckb said:
When you look at the angle that this picture is taken from, it reinforces the fears that this development will just be the Cambridge version of the West End. At least we didn't demolish an established neighborhood to get it.
The big problem with the new West End is it's really bad from the sidewalk level: tall apartment towers isolated from the street by fences broken up by parking garage access ramps; wide, car-oriented streets, and a complete lack of ground-level retail or other public amenities. Basically, a good demonstration of how Radiant City is a misnomer. Assuming the old West End resembled the North End, that was a major step down.

It's hard to tell how North Point is going to feel. It is trapped between 93 (maybe we should bury it!) and 28 (McGrath/OBrien Hwy), so good connectivity to the surrounding areas will be difficult no matter how hard they try. I couldn't find anything regarding ground level retail on the website, but I can't imagine anyone would build a mixed-use project that big without plenty of it. On the other hand, they do have a long list of restaurants and shopping, including grocery stores, that are in the surrounding area, so who knows. But they are emphasizing transit and walking, so hopefully they'll incorporate what it takes to make it pleasant. Fingers crossed that this area will feel more like Longwood/Fenway than the West End.





 

ablarc

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Straddling the line between urban and suburban. Too much parkland, and space still surrounds buildings as much as buildings surround space.
 

jass

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I just hope they dont get lazy with the new Lechmere station. Alot of people use it to get to Galleria, and right now, you only need to cross one street. They need to make the highway crossing very easy, with a tunnel or an overhead passage.

Also, will the buses remain on the current site?
 

Charlie_mta

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I would have taken a different approach than the plan currently under construction. If the O'Brien Highway had been relocated to the north as a landscaped boulevard, as shown on the following plan I drew up, then the East Cambridge street grid could have been extended out as shown:



The resultant neighborhood could have been one of mixed height residential, with retail scattered around the new neighborhood on the ground level floors. There would have been a mix of low rise and high rise, with all buildings abutting sidewalks along narrow streets. There would have been vest-pocket parks, but no vast plazas sprouting isolated high-rises.

The extended Green Line would have dropped into a tunnel under the new neighborhood, linking to a ground-level right-of-way to the north towards Union Square. At the southeast end of the development, a relocated Lechmere Station would have been ground level, where the existing viaduct would drop down into the new tunnel. Access from East Cambridge to the new station would have required crossing only Cambridge Street, not the O'Brien Highway.

I know it would have required more infrastructure investment, but money well worth it, because it would have established a new dense, diverse, urban neighborhood tied integrally to the existing East Cambridge.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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Charlie_mta said:
I know it would have required more infrastructure investment, but money well worth it
For the city but not for the developer. The kind of neighborhoods we love so much arose because they weren't planned, they just sprung up, built by many different people. Your idea for this kind of plan is not new actually. I saw an interesting graphic a while ago which superimposed the Back Bay over NorthPoint, resulting in almost the same thing you have here. It's a great idea but not something that would ever happen in todays market. Sure, you could cut up NorthPoint and sell the land to many developers but they would probably try to then sell the land to other developers or if they did build it out it would end up looking like the South Boston Waterfront.

With that in mind I say we are lucky that NorthPoint is as nice as it's going to be.

Now thats a fucking sad thought.
 

ablarc

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Nice plan, Charlie. I would have also subdivided the block with the station.
 

FastLane

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North Point update:

Tabula rasa for Spaulding & Slye...


North Point Park (when is this opening? the cul-de-sac is completed :lol:)


Under the Green Line Viaduct...
 

Mike

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FastLane said:
North Point Park (when is this opening?


The latest photo update on bigdig.com says it will be opening in the fall.
 

DowntownDave

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North Point

Here are some views of the progress on North Point and those Apartments-Whose-Name-I-Forget-But-Isn't-Part-of-North-Point. The apartments are well along.













 

TC

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Re: North Point

DowntownDave said:
Here are some views of the progress on North Point and those Apartments-Whose-Name-I-Forget-But-Isn't-Part-of-North-Point. The apartments are well along.

Those apartments used to be called Museum Towers. Now that they are going condo they may have changed the name for marketing purposes. (and they have been completed for over six years)

Thanks for the pics.
 

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