BU Development Thread

bdurden

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This purchase offers BU an opportunity to create a major statement at BU central, which I think they’ll take advantage of down the line.
Hopefully it’ll still include a retail component (ala a Holyoke center).
 

whighlander

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AB exclusive: I think I'm the first to report (having just randomly stumbled across it in Norfolk registry records) BU's $50m purchase of 730-766 Commonwealth Ave. from an entity controlled by Druker. The sale was recorded last Thursday; link to deed here. ..... The cluster of buildings includes a CVS, Pavement coffee and Nud Pob (Thai food), and formerly housed Radio Shack and Guitar Center.
This was the first expansion location of Radio Shack -- you could almost think of it as the babyhood home of Radio Shack*1,2

*1
from the wiki article
The first 40 years[edit]
The company was started as Radio Shack in 1921 by two brothers, Theodore and Milton Deutschmann, who wanted to provide equipment for the then-nascent field of amateur, or ham radio. The brothers opened a one-store retail and mail-order operation in the heart of downtown Boston at 46 Brattle Street. They chose the name "Radio Shack", which was the term for a small, wooden structure that housed a ship's radio equipment. .....

The company issued its first catalog in 1939[12] as it entered the high fidelity music market. In 1954, Radio Shack began selling its own private-label products under the brand name Realist, changing the brand name to Realistic after being sued by Stereo Realist. After expanding to nine stores plus an extensive mail-order business,[13] the company fell on hard times in the 1960s. Radio Shack was essentially bankrupt, but Charles D. Tandy saw the potential of Radio Shack and retail consumer electronics, purchasing the company for US $300,000.[14]

*2
From 1959 until incorporation with Tandy, Radio Shack ran its flagship store and mail order business at 730 Commonwealth Ave.
 

Rover

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This purchase offers BU an opportunity to create a major statement at BU central, which I think they’ll take advantage of down the line.
Hopefully it’ll still include a retail component (ala a Holyoke center).
I'm still trying to think of a large building that the school needs or intends to build. Now that the computer/data science center is a go, what's next? Law school got renovated so no new building there. They need another dorm but that's going in the student village on west campus.

They definitely need a new School of Communications. Might be a good place for it.
 

TomOfBoston

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I'm still trying to think of a large building that the school needs or intends to build. Now that the computer/data science center is a go, what's next? Law school got renovated so no new building there. They need another dorm but that's going in the student village on west campus.

They definitely need a new School of Communications. Might be a good place for it.
COM definitely!!! I imagine that BU would wait until the Data Science building is completed so that they could relocate the programs currently located in this block before any redevelopment is undertaken.
 

bdurden

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I'm still trying to think of a large building that the school needs or intends to build. Now that the computer/data science center is a go, what's next? Law school got renovated so no new building there. They need another dorm but that's going in the student village on west campus.

They definitely need a new School of Communications. Might be a good place for it.
I am imagining COM would be relocated as the current building is insufficient (to put it gently) for the needs of the school. That would also free up that current parcel for the further needs of the engineering programs.

Other than that, I'd guess that it would be designed to further consolidate programs centrally and continue to sell off some existing properties outside the campus that they currently own. With the acquisition of Wheelock, I believe the addition of another dormitory is not a priority.
 

whighlander

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Oh cool! Do Toy R' Us next!

:rolleyes:
Statler -- sorry to disappoint -- don't know anything about Toys R You Tube or whatever

But Radio Shack [not the Comm Ave "Mother Church"] but just a "Country Parish" played an important role in my upbringing -- its where I purchased my first very own transistor [CK722 manufactured by Raytheon] and my second after I managed to destroy the first -- so in a personal way that resonates with me -- it was like where someone went on their first date, etc.
 

stevemus

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I believe the building was an auto dealership, as were several along Comm Ave. The building's been blocked up at least since I was there in 1970. It was, at the time, the obvious solution to creating office space on a road that was truly ugly, noisy (with T trains) and lacked any appeal except to rush up and down Comm Ave to classes. It was almost at the tail end of the campus since little was developed west of it until the west campus dorms were built, the sports field improved and the hockey rink built. The armory was still owned by the state and the area behind was undeveloped. West campus was considered back then "jock haven" and rather isolated from the rest of the campus.
This Peter Fuller building, built 1927 as a showroom for the luxury Cadillac line, was the last stop on a tour I took of Cottage Farm with an architectural historian. It was nicknamed "Fuller's Folly" because it was so far out in the country for such an opulent building (one of only a few Boston buildings designed by Albert Kahn). Alvan Fuller, Peters' father, had become so successful with his original Packard complex 20 years earlier that many automobile businesses followed to this stretch of Commonwealth, and by 1929 there were 117 car dealerships and auto-related businesses here.
Diagonally across the street in the BU Academy building was the Shell headquarters with a giant neon sign (now across the river in Cambridge). A close inspection reveals shells carved into the building facade.
The College of Fine Arts, also across the street, was originally the Noyes Buick building. Inside in the Stone Gallery, instead of traditional gargoyles atop the columns, you'll see mechanics with wrenches and motorists in caps and goggles.
My office for the past decade is in the Ford assembly building on the other side of the BU bridge, opened in 1913 as the first vertical assembly line in the world. I've walked this stretch hundreds of times contemplating the possible pedestrian improvements. How great it is to see the recent sidewalk beautification, cycle lanes and bike share stations; all of which might in fact be appreciated by Alvan Tufts Fuller, who began his career selling bicycles.
 
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Bananarama

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It's really nice to see that stretch get a facelift and proper pedestrian + bike infrastructure. Even in the 3 years I've lived here, biking by it daily, it's been a big change and finally pleasant for bikers (except for all the people who don't look before crossing the lane to a crosswalk...). The glass along the street level is really inviting and BU did a great job furnishing the interiors with bright colorful furniture.

I've always felt pretty uneasy about the Booth theater nextdoor though. It's aggressively different without picking up many contextual cues. And while the entrance plaza is visually nice, the forward tilt of the facade has a pretty fatal flaw. A huge amount of the sound from the pike bounces right off and is deflected down at the plaza, so it's super noisy. And it's north facing so little to no direct sunlight. Pretty unwelcoming place to sit.
 

#bancars

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It's really nice to see that stretch get a facelift and proper pedestrian + bike infrastructure. Even in the 3 years I've lived here, biking by it daily, it's been a big change and finally pleasant for bikers (except for all the people who don't look before crossing the lane to a crosswalk...). The glass along the street level is really inviting and BU did a great job furnishing the interiors with bright colorful furniture.

I've always felt pretty uneasy about the Booth theater nextdoor though. It's aggressively different without picking up many contextual cues. And while the entrance plaza is visually nice, the forward tilt of the facade has a pretty fatal flaw. A huge amount of the sound from the pike bounces right off and is deflected down at the plaza, so it's super noisy. And it's north facing so little to no direct sunlight. Pretty unwelcoming place to sit.
I've always wondered why it is so loud when I run by Booth but for some reason never thought hard about it. But now that you mention it, that makes sense and it is very noticeable.
 

chrisbrat

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what an improvement! the window AC units look pretty shabby, but i guess it's difficult to install a central AC system into a building that old(?)
 

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