Volpe Transportation Center Development | Kendall Sq | Cambridge

Hubman

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2016
Messages
642
Reaction score
2
Thanks! This is very good news. A skyscraper in Kendall will really bring the cityscape into a new league and perhaps a couple other big buildings would follow
 

stellarfun

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2006
Messages
4,723
Reaction score
20
That double wide construction trailer, if its new, is not there to support the running of conduit pipe. I wonder if this is going to be a small scale district energy building.
 

whighlander

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
6,830
Reaction score
76
Note:

The only part of the overall Volpe project which is ready for construction is the New Volpe -- fully specified by the Feds -- MIT is just the Overall Developer of that

Once the Fed's move out of the existing Volpe then MIT can begin constructing the non-Fed part of the project

Long, Long way to go before you see a 500 footer in Kendall Sq.
 

George_Apley

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
3,826
Reaction score
134
Why are they using a render to show the existing building? Just to show what the surrounding land will look like when opened to the public?
 

fattony

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
1,882
Reaction score
3
No strong feelings about this building one way or the other, but MAN do I hate that “parking court.” I’m sure there is some bizarre combination of federal policies that makes it necessary to be right there, but having it front Bonney feels like a slap in the face. WHY couldn’t it have been hidden around the back or side?!?
 

Brookline-ish

New member
Joined
Sep 25, 2016
Messages
52
Reaction score
5
Why are they using a render to show the existing building? Just to show what the surrounding land will look like when opened to the public?
That building in the background? Pretty sure that's the proposed building going up on the north side of the Blue Garage. The current Volpe building is to the left of the render frame.
 

George_Apley

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
3,826
Reaction score
134
That building in the background? Pretty sure that's the proposed building going up on the north side of the Blue Garage. The current Volpe building is to the left of the render frame.
Oh I misread the image caption in the article. I didn't realize they were building a *new* Volpe building.

I also haven't been paying attention because I had no idea this was getting off the ground so quickly. So I assume Cambridge completely wasted this opportunity?
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
3,936
Reaction score
154
Oh I misread the image caption in the article. I didn't realize they were building a *new* Volpe building.

I also haven't been paying attention because I had no idea this was getting off the ground so quickly. So I assume Cambridge completely wasted this opportunity?
Cambridge had zero say here. Federal building on Federal land. Design was approved by the Feds - I don't think it was ever even seen by the Cambridge Planning Board. That's why we have so few renders to work with - MIT has posted a couple as a courtesy/promotion, but that's all.

This is an SOM building, btw. I don't think it's going to look bad. All the pavement around it is a security regulation.
 

George_Apley

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
3,826
Reaction score
134
Cambridge had zero say here. Federal building on Federal land. Design was approved by the Feds - I don't think it was ever even seen by the Cambridge Planning Board. That's why we have so few renders to work with - MIT has posted a couple as a courtesy/promotion, but that's all.

This is an SOM building, btw. I don't think it's going to look bad. All the pavement around it is a security regulation.
Another point of confusion that I haven't read up enough on. I thought the lot was being sold by the Feds and being redeveloped. Whoops!
 

chmeeee

Active Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Messages
269
Reaction score
7
Another point of confusion that I haven't read up enough on. I thought the lot was being sold by the Feds and being redeveloped. Whoops!
It is. The Condition is the the winning bidder (MIT) has to build a new Volpe center first. Once Volpe moves from the old to the new bldg (and MIT delivers a dump truck full of cash to the Feds), MIT takes control of the remaining 10 (of 14) acres for redevelopment.
 

George_Apley

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
3,826
Reaction score
134
It is. The Condition is the the winning bidder (MIT) has to build a new Volpe center first. Once Volpe moves from the old to the new bldg (and MIT delivers a dump truck full of cash to the Feds), MIT takes control of the remaining 10 (of 14) acres for redevelopment.
Ah, thanks!
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
3,936
Reaction score
154
Ah, thanks!
Yes, I didn't say that completely right. MIT will ultimately own this building and act as landlord to Volpe (for a 99 year term - one of the goals of this project was to free the GSA from day-to-day maintenance responsibility) but the design and "approval" process occurred while it is still under Federal ownership.
 

DZH22

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
5,335
Reaction score
503
The Volpe building itself is really the least important part of this development. I'm more worried they half-ass (mediocre designs, layout, and height) a once in a lifetime opportunity at the rest of the site.

To be blunt, with the overall FAA restriction map, we are cursed that Kendall is part of Cambridge. It would be like if the Seaport had unlimited height potential, but was still developing exactly the same as it looks today.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
3,936
Reaction score
154
The Volpe building itself is really the least important part of this development. I'm more worried they half-ass (mediocre designs, layout, and height) a once in a lifetime opportunity at the rest of the site.

To be blunt, with the overall FAA restriction map, we are cursed that Kendall is part of Cambridge. It would be like if the Seaport had unlimited height potential, but was still developing exactly the same as it looks today.
The buildings already in Kendall are taller than those in the Seaport.

The buildings zoned for Volpe and adjacent sites are twice the height of those in the Seaport.

MIT didn't half-ass the architecture on their SOMA parcels, so why would they do so here?
 

DZH22

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
5,335
Reaction score
503
MIT didn't half-ass the architecture on their SOMA parcels, so why would they do so here?
We have only seen 2 out of 5. 2 of them to come, including the Eastgate replacement, are weird cantilevered blobs. 0 out of 5 are well proportioned.

Also, existing Kendall is about 2 stories higher than the Seaport. Not exactly fiesta-worthy when one of them has the least restrictions in the metro area, while the other is building right up to the allowable FAA height!
 

Ruairi

Active Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2014
Messages
280
Reaction score
16
The buildings already in Kendall are taller than those in the Seaport.

The buildings zoned for Volpe and adjacent sites are twice the height of those in the Seaport.

MIT didn't half-ass the architecture on their SOMA parcels, so why would they do so here?
yup, I'm with you here. Not a fan of the new Volpe center designs but I think Kendall is being built out to a reasonable height. The city of Cambridge has managed the development of Kendall pretty well so far and seem to be working hard on making the area more livable.
 

whighlander

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
6,830
Reaction score
76
The Volpe building itself is really the least important part of this development. I'm more worried they half-ass (mediocre designs, layout, and height) a once in a lifetime opportunity at the rest of the site.

To be blunt, with the overall FAA restriction map, we are cursed that Kendall is part of Cambridge. It would be like if the Seaport had unlimited height potential, but was still developing exactly the same as it looks today.
DZH22 -- I don't think they [MIT plan on half assing or missing the opportunity

MIT is aware that its a once in .... opportunity and its right behind the campus with its newish focus on that side

Between what is being done along Mass Ave now, what will be done with the new Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing [to be located on Vassar almost at Mass Ave] and the Volpe land -- MIT is building its own version of the Seaport




Here's more on the Volpe site [specifically the Fed facility on 4 acres subject to the Feds specs]
The USDOT Volpe Exchange Project is a new 400,000 square foot office building located on a 4 acre parcel at the corner of Loughrey Way and Binney Street. The new facility consolidates six existing buildings and surface parking lots into an efficient structure with underground parking and over 100 bicycle parking spaces. The new facility will be approximately 217’ in height and incorporates an enclosed, architecturally-integrated mechanical penthouse to minimize visual and noise pollution. It is designed to meet LEED Gold v.4 standards, with a prioritization on sustainability, and oriented to maximize energy efficiency. The landscape will feature over 100 new diverse native species trees at grade with an increase in caliper inches of 40%, and incorporates an art piece designed by Maya Lin integrated into the landscape on the east side of the site, adjacent to Fifth Street.


here's the construction timeline
  1. OCTOBER 2018
    Commenced Utility Site Work
  2. JUNE 2019
    Mobilized for Site Prep Work
  3. SEPTEMBER 2019
    Target completion of Utility Site Work
  4. SEPTEMBER 2019
    Commence Construction of New Building
  5. DECEMBER 2022
    Target Completion of New Building
MIT aims to create a dynamic mixed-use center in Kendall Square through this historic opportunity to redevelop the Volpe parcel.
There are quite a few other renders and FAQ's on this website
https://volpe.mit.edu/updates/
 

George_Apley

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
3,826
Reaction score
134
yup, I'm with you here. Not a fan of the new Volpe center designs but I think Kendall is being built out to a reasonable height. The city of Cambridge has managed the development of Kendall pretty well so far and seem to be working hard on making the area more livable.
I'd argue that the City of Cambridge has botched the city's development for the last 20 years, but that's probably a discussion for a different thread.
 

Top