Boston Harbor Garage Redevelopment | Waterfront | Downtown

cca

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I would have to say at this point concerning this development.
The real people in charge of our city are telling the political puppets to not let Chiofaro build.

Looks like the political hacks and their masters hate anybody named Donald.
Cough (Fish) Cough
 

West

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There is without doubt a lot of maneuvering going on over this parcel. But I very seriously doubt that anyone, in either the public or private sector, is telling Chiofaro anything, or asking him anything. From everything that has slipped out, Prudential is very clearly in the driver's seat.

From the public's perspective, this is most likely good. They have radically more capital than Chiofaro, can be way more patient* (in waiting out parking easements, for just one example where patience could be a plus), and from my experience with Prudential RE folks in other departments, they're probably vastly more professional in working through the complexities than is Chiofaro (or hiring a replacement for him, if they go that route).

*I said they "can be" more patient. I have no way to know if they actually will be more patient. They might be getting ready to put it on the market for all I know. If so, even that would be good: some new energy on the owner side would be refreshing.
 

meddlepal

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I still feel like this is the perfect site for the city to land swap and then plunk down a new City Hall.
 

dshoost88

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I still feel like this is the perfect site for the city to land swap and then plunk down a new City Hall.
It is not wise for essential government services (such as City Hall) to be placed
near the Harbor in the event of a storm surge from a major hurricane. Even if you raise the structure by the water (much like the current City Hall rises above its neighbors at its current location), it is important that the institution remain accessible.

The City Hall where I grew up (Boca Raton, FL) recently flooded after a series of unexpected afternoon thunderstorms. City councilors there have prioritized building a new City Hall that is more thoughtfully constructed and accessible with regards to concerns about adapting to climate change. I normally like to knock on FL municipalities for bad policy choices, but in this case I'm proud that they're taking action to address this concern.

If Chiofaro wants to do a land swap with anybody, I'd suggest he let the State build a waterfront park where the garage is and negotiate the rights to an air rights parcel over the Pike after the state decks over it (maybe between Berkeley and Arlington streets).
 

TheRifleman

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There is without doubt a lot of maneuvering going on over this parcel. But I very seriously doubt that anyone, in either the public or private sector, is telling Chiofaro anything, or asking him anything. From everything that has slipped out, Prudential is very clearly in the driver's seat.

From the public's perspective, this is most likely good. They have radically more capital than Chiofaro, can be way more patient* (in waiting out parking easements, for just one example where patience could be a plus), and from my experience with Prudential RE folks in other departments, they're probably vastly more professional in working through the complexities than is Chiofaro (or hiring a replacement for him, if they go that route).

*I said they "can be" more patient. I have no way to know if they actually will be more patient. They might be getting ready to put it on the market for all I know. If so, even that would be good: some new energy on the owner side would be refreshing.
I want to see if Chiofaro could build another masterpiece for the Public.

Most of the developments in the city are being Flipped like Multi-Family houses. I think when people have their own skin in the game and build something with pride ---MONEY doesn't matter and that is why IP has flourished into the best located Boston Property in the city. Love it or hate it IP has become Boston Signature Post Card not Hancock or Pru.

What is best for the Public is having politics out of this development game.
This is why for the last 15Years with Menino. Ask yourself how much taxmoney was shifted to his goomba friends over at the Seaport over the last 10 years. Which only decreases money being spent and growing naturally in the DTX area.

These Billionaires who create these Non-profit groups are so full of shit.
They take and take but stand for nothing only to hide behind the people they hire in the non-profit groups. People that tell you they know whats good for you are your enemy.

Chiofaro has a vision for the entire Greenway and it seemed he had it alot long time ago by building IP against the GreenMonster highway.

Now they want to take this development away since the same group of morons built Harbor Towers and the garage in the first place.
 

stellarfun

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For the frigging clueless, those involved with the Harbor Garage are five steps ahead of you.
_________________________
As West notes, Chiofaro is involved in name only; Shirley L had a column months ago that basically said he was not working on the project, and the BRA was now dealing only with Prudential.

Here's my guess of what will happen..

The Barr Foundation grant will be used for design studies.

Once the studies are done, and the planning process concludes, the city, the BRA, and the Commonwealth will, in effect, then 'permit' a 900,000 gsf building (or thereabouts) with a capped maximum height.

Prudential will take the 'permitted' massing and height, and sell the property.

If Prudential can't get the original purchase price straight-out, the city will sweeten the pot with tax abatements for the new owner / developer to facilitate a sale.

The new owner / developer will be someone like Skanska who isn't afraid to build on spec.

The new owner is not likely to be so frigging stupid as to burrow down 100-120 feet into Boston blue clay, at the very edge of the harbor, engineer for hydrostatic and seismic forces, all to bury a parking garage.

The new owner will erect huge LED screens on two sides of the garage, streaming live views of the harbor 24/7.

If Chiofaro is lucky, Prudential gets the original purchase price back, makes him whole with regard to his limited financial stake in the original purchase. If Prudential doesn't get it all back, Chiofaro, not Prudential, is going to be left holding the bag. This likely would mean his already small ownership percentage in IP gets even smaller.
_____________________

I am not going to research effective date of amendments to Chapter 91, nor the changes made, over time, to the state's lengthy regulations carrying out Chapter 91. The Harbor Garage was developed in conjunction with Harbor Towers. Together, they appear to more than meet the open space requirements of Chapter 91. The above-ground garage, IMO, is grandfathered. For a new owner to now demolish the garage, and develop the site separately from HT, means all that grass around HT can't be used to meet open space requirements of Chapter 91.
 

TheRifleman

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^^^
Stellarfun now your telling me the Billion dollar Barr foundation will determine what is built here and their will be a tax abatement give to a company similar to Skansa if they gain control of the site but the reality if you have been saying is that the Garage cannot be knocked down due to CHAP 91.

So which is it? Can the garage be knocked down or not?

Your basically saying it's okay for another developer to do anything they want but not Chiofaro.

And I'm saying that your a hypocrite in your views. There is basically no process here.
In the end 20 years later something similar to what Chiofaro proposed will be built on this site.

These Non-profit foundations are nothing more than Tax shelters and really divert public policy. They do not pay their fair share of taxes and they only steal from the American Concept.
 

stellarfun

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^^^
Stellarfun now your telling me the Billion dollar Barr foundation will determine what is built here and their will be a tax abatement give to a company similar to Skansa if they gain control of the site but the reality if you have been saying is that the Garage cannot be knocked down due to CHAP 91.

So which is it? Can the garage be knocked down or not?

Your basically saying it's okay for another developer to do anything they want but not Chiofaro.

And I'm saying that your a hypocrite in your views. There is basically no process here.
I never said that the garage can't be knocked down. If a new owner, or even Chiofaro, wants to build a tower on the site, while keeping the garage, the developer (or Chiofaro) can do so. That's the meaning of 'grandfathered'.

However, if a new owner (or Chiofaro) demolishes the aboveground garage, and seeks to build something on top of the demolished garage, then the 'open space' provision of Chapter 91 come into play.

Chiofaro has struggled with this open space requirement from the beginning. Back in 2009, the Commonwealth wrote a 15 page letter objecting to his first proposal, and one of the points made by the Commonwealth was that he couldn't count as "open space", the glass atrium / lobby of a privately owned building, -- which he has persisted in trying to do.

IIRC, he also wanted to count as 'open space' property he didn't / doesn't own on Long Wharf that is owned by the city, and BRA-owned land on either the east side of the garage, or East india Row.
 

tangent

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Sorry if this has been covered, but has anyone done a massing of what the BRA would allow... single tower, 600 feet, at the BRA proposed square footage?
 

Downburst

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Sorry if this has been covered, but has anyone done a massing of what the BRA would allow... single tower, 600 feet, at the BRA proposed square footage?
I'm away from home and won't have my computer for a few days but I'll get to it once I'm able. I too am curious as to how it might look.
 

stellarfun

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Sorry if this has been covered, but has anyone done a massing of what the BRA would allow... single tower, 600 feet, at the BRA proposed square footage?
The BRA did, the BRA said it would be a slender tower, at the SW corner.

900,000 gsf at 13 feet a story = 45/46 floors at 20,000 gsf floorplate 20,000 gsf would be about twice the floorplate of one of the Harbor Towers.

I think the BRA perception was that the economics of such a building would dictate a wider base, and tapered tower, so lower floors would have a large floorplate, and the topmost floors, a much smaller one.
 

stellarfun

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Below is replying to a now-deleted post / rant against billionaires, Gates, Zuckerberg, et al.

You don't need renderings to determine whether you comply with Chapter 91. All you need is a site plan, and a basic building floorplate.

You don't get credit for good design, or penalized for a shitty design. Whether the facade is Carrera marble or cinder block matters not a wit.

Both the BRA and the Commonwealth have signaled some flexibility in applying Chapter 91 requirements to the Harbor Garage project, i.e., chiofaro need not provide all the open space set out in the law / regulations. The Commonwealth has some flexibility in this regard.

But, IIRC, Chiofaro provided zero open space on the re-developed garage site.

His glass enclosed atrium/lobby does not count as open space. His stairs to the sea, in essence built on Federal property (the navigable waters of the United States are owned by the United States), did not qualify. His use of BRA-owned or city-owned land elsewhere does not count.

His whole approach, from the beginning is 'all or nothing'. Even when he knows that environmental assessments for a project such as his require an examination of alternatives.

(4) (a) Description of the Project and Potential Impacts. The ENF shall include a concise but accurate description of the Project and its alternatives, identify any review thresholds the Project may meet or exceed and any Agency Action it may require, present the Proponent's initial assessment of potential environmental impacts, propose mitigation measures, and may include a proposed Scope.
[Emphasis added.]
 

odurandina

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I'd suggest he let the State build a waterfront park where the garage is and negotiate the rights to an air rights parcel over the Pike after the state decks over it (maybe between Berkeley and Arlington streets).
i can't wait to see Boston's first 400' tower built over i-90.

it's possible we could get as many as four in the next few years: if Copley Sq Tower rises, if Back Bay Station gets done.... and the city finds a way to bring back the if at first you don't succeed Columbus Square project.
 

TheRifleman

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This quote is priceless.

“Boston is well recognized for its historic waterfront and harbor; yet, this public treasure is in jeopardy,” Canales wrote.
Give me a break. The Harbor garage is now considered a public treasure according to a billion dollar Non-profit agency.

"Boston waterfront in jeopardy?"
Really the only project left is Chiofaro's Everything else pretty much got built.

I also did not like this comment.
"Let’s hope so because it’s pennies on the dollar for a foundation with $1.6 billion in assets "

Maybe Chiofaro/Pru should donate the garage to Mr Canoli.

This guy is nothing more than a PHONY. Do people actually believe what they say when they are being paid. I know people need jobs and apparently this guy is the CEO-- I would love to see his RESUME and how you got groomed for his position.

This is what I think. I think the powers to be are trying to swindle this PARCEL from Chiofaro/Pru at this point.

I do love chatting about this development.
 

SeamusMcFly

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Look, I gotta go pee, but I'd really like to continue talking about this conversation when I come back. - DZ
 

whighlander

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Below is replying to a now-deleted post / rant against billionaires, Gates, Zuckerberg, et al.

You don't need renderings to determine whether you comply with Chapter 91. All you need is a site plan, and a basic building floorplate.

You don't get credit for good design, or penalized for a shitty design. Whether the facade is Carrera marble or cinder block matters not a wit.

Both the BRA and the Commonwealth have signaled some flexibility in applying Chapter 91 requirements to the Harbor Garage project, i.e., chiofaro need not provide all the open space set out in the law / regulations. The Commonwealth has some flexibility in this regard.

But, IIRC, Chiofaro provided zero open space on the re-developed garage site.

His glass enclosed atrium/lobby does not count as open space. His stairs to the sea, in essence built on Federal property (the navigable waters of the United States are owned by the United States), did not qualify. His use of BRA-owned or city-owned land elsewhere does not count.

His whole approach, from the beginning is 'all or nothing'. Even when he knows that environmental assessments for a project such as his require an examination of alternatives.


[Emphasis added.]
Stellar a generally good review of the key issues

You did however misstate the ownership of Boston Harbor -- which might be relevant to the ultimate disposition of the project

The Federal Government has no ownership of Boston Harbor or any waterway within the borders of the US and out to the States Economic Zone boundary -- that's how Texas and Louisiana got rich drilling for oil in the Gulf

What the Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for is the maintenance of navigation within the navigable bodies of water within the jurisdiction of the US

After this FAA-like limitation of what can stick into the Harbor from the shore [e.g. adding to the length of a pier requires Army Corps of Engineers approval] -- the Feds then defer to the States -- such as in the case of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts -- Chapter 91 of the General Laws

Chapter 91 of Mass General Laws state [relevant excerpts]
Chapter 91, The Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act

Chapter 91: An Overview and Summary

The Commonwealth's primary tool for protection and promotion of public use of its tidelands and other waterways is Massachusetts General Law Chapter 91, the waterways licensing program. The Commonwealth formally established the program in 1866, but the philosophy behind Chapter 91 dates back to the earliest days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, most notably in the Colonial Ordinances of 1641-1647.

The Colonial Ordinances codified the "public trust doctrine," a legal principle that dates back nearly 2000 years, which holds that the air, the sea and the shore belong not to any one person, but rather to the public at large.

The oldest program of its kind in the nation, Chapter 91 regulates activities on both coastal and inland waterways, including construction, dredging and filling in tidelands, great ponds and certain rivers and streams......

Geographical Jurisdiction

Chapter 91 comprises four basic areas of geographical jurisdiction. Any activity that takes place in one of the hot link areas listed below requires Chapter 91 authorization. The areas are:

Flowed Tidelands - Any project located in, on, over or under tidal waters seaward of the present mean high water (MHW) shoreline. Jurisdiction in this case extends seaward three miles, to the state limit of territorial jurisdiction.

Filled Tidelands - The limit on filled tidelands is: A.) Outside Designated Port Areas, the first public way or 250 feet from mean high water, whichever is farther landward and B.) Inside Designated Port Areas, the historic MHW shoreline (i.e., all filled areas)......


Activities Requiring Authorization

There are five basic types of activities subject to Chapter 91 authorization. These include both new and existing unauthorized activities, and are as follows:

Structures - Placement or construction of any structure, regardless of size, whether permanent or seasonal. Examples of typical structures include, but are not limited to: piers, wharves, dams, seawalls, weirs, booms, breakwaters, bulkheads, ripraps, revetments, jetties, piles, lines, groins, roads, culverts, bridges, buildings, parking lots, cables, pipes, conduits, tunnels, wires, floats, etc.

Filling - Placement of any unconsolidated materials that is confined or expected to remain in place in a waterway, except for material placed by natural processes. Such placement includes material placed for the purposes of shoreline protection, beach nourishment, or subaqueous disposal of dredged spoils.

Dredging - Removal of materials, including but not limited to rocks, bottom sediments, debris, sand, refuse, plant or animal matter, in any excavating, cleaning, deepening, widening, or lengthening of any waters in the Commonwealth. The Department must also know the location where the removed material will be disposed.

Change in Use - Any use of the authorized premises or structures for a purpose unrelated to the authorized use, whether express or implied. An example of such a change in use would be the conversion of a commercial fishing establishment to an office building.
Structural Alteration - Any change in the dimensions of a structure or fill from the specifications contained in the existing authorization.

Demolition/Removal of Structures - Approval is required for removal of any unauthorized structure or fill that was previously not authorized or for which there is not a current and valid grant or license.
 

stellarfun

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whighlander, I didn't mistake ownership. I said that the Federal government 'owns' the 'water', not the seabed (or riverbed).

You can only displace the volume of water that exists within a space by dredge or fill through a Federal permit, or a State permit if the state has been delegated the authority to issue the permit. Ownership means jurisdiction over, and control of the water (not the land beneath, or the land aside the water).

Section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (the Clean Water Act)

F. 2. Any discharge of dredged or fill material into the navigable waters incidental to any activity having as its purpose bringing an area of the navigable waters into a use to which it was not previously subject, where the flow or circulation of navigable waters may be impaired or the reach of such waters be reduced, shall be required to have a permit under this section.

G. 1. The Governor of any State desiring to administer its own individual and general permit program for the discharge of dredged or fill material into the navigable waters (other than those waters which are presently used, or are susceptible to use in their natural condition or by reasonable improvement as a means to transport interstate or foreign commerce shoreward to their ordinary high water mark, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide shoreward to their mean high water mark, or mean higher high water mark on the west coast, including wetlands adjacent thereto), within its jurisdiction may submit to the Administrator [of EPA] a full and complete description of the program it proposes to establish and administer under State law or under an interstate compact. In addition, such State shall submit a statement from the attorney general (or the attorney for those State agencies which have independent legal counsel), or from the chief legal officer in the case of an interstate agency, that the laws of such State, or the interstate compact, as the case may be, provide adequate authority to carry out the described program.
Parenthetical bolded as it fits Boston Harbor to a 'T'.
 

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