Parcel JK | Cambridge Crossing | Cambridge

34f34f

Active Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
Messages
197
Reaction score
0
Re: Parcel JK | NorthPoint | Cambridge

Of course the original zoning changes for this development go back a decade to when things weren't quite the way they are around here. Minds have changed a lot in the intervening years, but to make any major mods to the accepted zoning would most likely have delayed much of what is going on over there.

It's easy to look at this with 2018 glasses on, but one must recall the climate 10 years ago. Or 12 plus years in the case of this site.
And if any of the residential plans change (at all), they would be subject to the most recently enacted affordable housing rate instead of what existed at approval—so an increase to 20% from the approved 11.5%. Big change.

http://www.cambridgeday.com/2017/03/03/northpoint-affordable-housing-rate-locked-as-council-progresses-toward-20-citywide/
 

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,407
Reaction score
43
Sigh. Glass is better, but this is just another squat blob like the prison next door. I don’t know why they couldn’t have had taller heights and smaller plots.
 

ivyhedge

Active Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2013
Messages
337
Reaction score
10
Sigh. Glass is better, but this is just another squat blob like the prison next door. I don’t know why they couldn’t have had taller heights and smaller plots.
JK was consolidated from Lots J & K for Philips. It was originally to have been two lots, like G & H, with spec buildings.

What we now know, but what wasn’t public then, was that the current form was guided by the ultimate tenant...something like what happened at Causeway. So while you might have wanted smaller parcels with taller buildings, Philips didn’t. What we heard is that Sanofi Aventis wants large floorplates, but not tall buildings, too. As I wrote many moons ago, while the FAA has limited height restrictions here, the parcels are not, and never were, zoned for more than 260-ish.
 

stellarfun

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2006
Messages
4,723
Reaction score
20
JK was consolidated from Lots J & K for Philips. It was originally to have been two lots, like G & H, with spec buildings.

What we now know, but what wasn’t public then, was that the current form was guided by the ultimate tenant...something like what happened at Causeway. So while you might have wanted smaller parcels with taller buildings, Philips didn’t. What we heard is that Sanofi Aventis wants large floorplates, but not tall buildings, too. As I wrote many moons ago, while the FAA has limited height restrictions here, the parcels are not, and never were, zoned for more than 260-ish.
^^^^
This.

Its like if you're buying a new house, and you tell the builder you want three bathrooms, and he tells you I am only giving you 1.5 bathrooms. Do you buy the house?
 

DZH22

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
5,335
Reaction score
503
The residential towers are the ones that should be substantially taller. The demand is there and so is the opportunity.
 

Gameguy326

Active Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2015
Messages
254
Reaction score
3
The residential towers are the ones that should be substantially taller. The demand is there and so is the opportunity.
This. I seriously don't understand why we don't increase zoning here, especially since we're already poised to break 400 feet in Kendall.
 

Brad Plaid

Active Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
Messages
947
Reaction score
7
Activist dogma and weak politicians who don't challenge their extremism have a strong impact on development in Cambridge, sense and logic are rejected and replaced by "feelings". Wasn't there a 1 or 2 year activist-led development moratorium imposed city-wide stopping all new construction not that long ago? (surely a brilliant response to a severe housing shortage!)
There is no logic-based reasoning preventing taller, denser housing here there is only the loud ignorance of ideology. Things are getting better, but it's glacial.
 

Gameguy326

Active Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2015
Messages
254
Reaction score
3
Activist dogma and weak politicians who don't challenge their extremism have a strong impact on development in Cambridge, sense and logic are rejected and replaced by "feelings". Wasn't there a 1 or 2 year activist-led development moratorium imposed city-wide stopping all new construction not that long ago? (surely a brilliant response to a severe housing shortage!)
There is no logic-based reasoning preventing taller, denser housing here there is only the loud ignorance of ideology. Things are getting better, but it's glacial.
Complete development moratorium?? I've been living here for 6 years and there has been no moratorium in that time.
 

Ruairi

Active Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2014
Messages
280
Reaction score
16
Activist dogma and weak politicians who don't challenge their extremism have a strong impact on development in Cambridge, sense and logic are rejected and replaced by "feelings". Wasn't there a 1 or 2 year activist-led development moratorium imposed city-wide stopping all new construction not that long ago? (surely a brilliant response to a severe housing shortage!)
There is no logic-based reasoning preventing taller, denser housing here there is only the loud ignorance of ideology. Things are getting better, but it's glacial.
I would imagine the types of buildings that get built here is dictated mostly by the private sector. It's probably cheaper to build lower fatter buildings. It's probably more practical from a usability point of view to have larger lower floors. The height might also be affected by the workings of the lab space. All in all, the main reason to build tall here is aesthetic, and that's not what makes them money.
 

Brad Plaid

Active Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
Messages
947
Reaction score
7
Complete development moratorium?? I've been living here for 6 years and there has been no moratorium in that time.
Doing a quick search I came up with this reference and will have to backtrack:

"Relative to the Jack Prescott Loose, et al Petition to amend the Zoning Ordinance by implementing an 18 month building moratorium for the area bordered by Memorial Drive, DeWolfe Street, Mount Auburn Street, Putnam Avenue and River Street. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after September 25, 2000." (page 2, http://www.rwinters.com/council/101600.pdf)

It was 2000 and the city council approved an 18 month moratorium for a stretch of the Charles between River St and Mt Auburn St. So it wasn't anything close to city-wide but it was activist-driven and agreed to by the council. A moratorium is the nuclear option for dealing with development issues and a sad case of kicking the can down the road by the council.
 

Brad Plaid

Active Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
Messages
947
Reaction score
7
I would imagine the types of buildings that get built here is dictated mostly by the private sector. It's probably cheaper to build lower fatter buildings. It's probably more practical from a usability point of view to have larger lower floors. The height might also be affected by the workings of the lab space. All in all, the main reason to build tall here is aesthetic, and that's not what makes them money.
Wasn't necessarily referring to the labs/offices. The residential certainly could have been taller but there wasn't enough political courage to push back against activists and do a reasonable upzoning. If maximum heights are restricted by zoning why not also zoning for height minimums, say 300' or 350" here for residential?
 

JumboBuc

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2013
Messages
2,018
Reaction score
71
I would imagine the types of buildings that get built here is dictated mostly by the private sector. It's probably cheaper to build lower fatter buildings. It's probably more practical from a usability point of view to have larger lower floors. The height might also be affected by the workings of the lab space. All in all, the main reason to build tall here is aesthetic, and that's not what makes them money.
We've been over this like 500 times, but height here is capped by regulation, full stop. Especially for office and residential, developers in this market are clamoring to build as tall and dense as they can. It is pretty much a 100% certainty that profit seeking developers would build significantly taller here if allowed by the powers-that-be.
 

SeamusMcFly

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2008
Messages
2,018
Reaction score
0
^^^^
This.

Its like if you're buying a new house, and you tell the builder you want three bathrooms, and he tells you I am only giving you 1.5 bathrooms. Do you buy the house?
Except it's not true here at all.
J/K was combined from two lots, but that had nothing to do with Philips. The larger building was designed as a lab building, and was being built as such before Philips was even on board. It got changed after the fact to be an office building. They probably could have squeezed in another floor for office with lower F2F. Or just built it shorter for lab (like H is shorter than G). The penthouse would be much smaller if built for office which would have saved Divco big bucks as well.

Similarly with Sanofi. Sanofi had nothing to do with the original design of the buildings it's taking. That's why their changes to the base buildings (outside of their fit-out scope) will be forthcoming as well.

The designs have these types of companies in mind, but they are not guaranteed. They build to land those fish, but they also design them to allow for multiple smaller tenants. The zoning was in place before Divco bought the site, though it has been massaged since. However, the fact still remains like the top of this page reminds us, this development was zoned during a very different time. This was during the biggest downturn of our lives when prospects were not what they are now.

If zoned 5 or 7 years later, I think the zoning would allow for higher and greater density. We've seen that the climate and even the residents have become more accepting of this. Mostly because we're seeing success with upzoning and higher density, and the sky hasn't fallen.

But, if this was approved as a site 5 or 7 years later, it might have missed this development cycle. So, it will be much better to get what we're getting vs. possibly nothing or waiting another decade for a cycle with even higher construction costs.
 

DZH22

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
5,335
Reaction score
503
If zoned 5 or 7 years later, I think the zoning would allow for higher and greater density. We've seen that the climate and even the residents have become more accepting of this. Mostly because we're seeing success with upzoning and higher density, and the sky hasn't fallen.

But, if this was approved as a site 5 or 7 years later, it might have missed this development cycle. So, it will be much better to get what we're getting vs. possibly nothing or waiting another decade for a cycle with even higher construction costs.
So why not rezone the rest of it now and revise (upwards) the remaining residentials? There are plenty of parcels remaining and the demand to go bigger, especially with the ongoing housing crunch.
 

Top