Bulfinch Triangle Infill & Small Projects

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
5,935
Reaction score
5,020
B&T article on the above new proposal (somehow this is public access for me, a non-subscriber):

I'm noticing that they're available on publication day for free. Either that, or a Twitter link gets you in.

Some facts from the article:

- It's RMR (the Newton real estate group) that's behind this. While they own lots of stuff (including the Royal Sonesta and the Vertex HQ buldings), I see no experience there with building high-rises.
- Would contain both office and apartments (interestingly not a hotel, which seems to be a big part of RMR's portfolio).

I'm guessing this isn't serious and gets sized down to the point that it's more economical to renovate what's there. RMR seems out-of-depth, and Mayor Wu explicitly campaigned against these sorts of back room surprises.
 

stellarfun

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2006
Messages
5,404
Reaction score
922
No new shadows on the Prince St. Park and the Elliott School playground will whittle the height down.

The three lots total about 30,000 sq ft., not all of which is buildable, given the triangular shape, and narrow sidewalks. RMR owns about 20,000 of the 30,000 sq ft. For comparison, the lot for One Dalton is 22,200 square feet.
 

sm89

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
1,034
Reaction score
202
Mayor Wu explicitly campaigned against these sorts of back room surprises.
Isn't every announcement a "surprise" to someone though? This doesn't appear to have been formally proposed to the City yet and it seems like they're in the preliminary outreach phase to see what can work. Honestly, they're doing it right, even if their proposal is dead on arrival for being unrealistic. No LOI, no official abutters meetings. All we have is rumors (maybe leaked?) by someone to the neighborhood association itself. The immediate abutters are actually the first members of the public to find out about this. This is like the definition of ensuring that there are no surprises to local residents.

It reminds me about those times when people show up to meetings saying they didn't know about a project, when by being there it means they know about it.
 

bigpicture7

Senior Member
Joined
May 5, 2016
Messages
2,765
Reaction score
4,178
Isn't every announcement a "surprise" to someone though?
Not really, doing this sort of thing well (meaning, proposing something unexpected, whatever it may be) usually involves starting with a whole bunch of stakeholder and community meetings before you even propose a single thing. The only surprise should be that some activity might happen, and even then, it might be as basic as "we're going to run a trade study about what to do with the property, including basic sustainment as one option." Either someone leaked the "700 feet" aspect of this, or these people aren't pros at this process, or the community has in fact been in-the-know about the potential for site activity for a long time.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
5,935
Reaction score
5,020
Isn't every announcement a "surprise" to someone though? This doesn't appear to have been formally proposed to the City yet and it seems like they're in the preliminary outreach phase to see what can work. Honestly, they're doing it right, even if their proposal is dead on arrival for being unrealistic. No LOI, no official abutters meetings. All we have is rumors (maybe leaked?) by someone to the neighborhood association itself. The immediate abutters are actually the first members of the public to find out about this. This is like the definition of ensuring that there are no surprises to local residents.

It reminds me about those times when people show up to meetings saying they didn't know about a project, when by being there it means they know about it.
It was leaked to - and then by - a local State legislator. That means it's been discussed among powerful people somehow.
 

sm89

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
1,034
Reaction score
202
It sounds more like he's meddling in the preliminary outreach phase. Imagine I say to a colleague "what's the max height we can build here, 700ft?" and then someone immediately tells the neighbors as a heads up? Everything we've heard so far is so painfully alarmist when there's literally no plan yet.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
5,935
Reaction score
5,020
It sounds more like he's meddling in the preliminary outreach phase. Imagine I say to a colleague "what's the max height we can build here, 700ft?" and then someone immediately tells the neighbors as a heads up? Everything we've heard so far is so painfully alarmist when there's literally no plan yet.
Once you say it (unless it's to your lawyer or someone contract-bound to secrecy), it's fair game to publicize it. That's how politics works.
 

stellarfun

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2006
Messages
5,404
Reaction score
922
What role does the MA state legislature have with respect to this project, with respect to review and approval? Why would state representative(s) be briefed first, ---unless the developers contemplate doing an end-run around the city?
 

DZH22

Superstar
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
10,372
Reaction score
22,843
.....unless the developers contemplate doing an end-run around the city?
This last part doesn't make any sense. The approval process takes like 3-5 years for a building such as this. There's no way to successfully do what you are insinuating here.
 

stellarfun

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2006
Messages
5,404
Reaction score
922
This last part doesn't make any sense. The approval process takes like 3-5 years for a building such as this. There's no way to successfully do what you are insinuating here.
The mega-talls in Manhattan were built as a matter of right. There was limited review and approval authority, and apparently little or no planning. That can't be replicated in Boston. My thought was if a developer anticipated not getting approval from the city for this project, why not go to the Massachusetts State Legislature, and limit/end 'home rule' with respect to city review of this proposed project? See for example, the Boston Shadow Law from 1990, which constrained building heights.

https://apnews.com/article/b91b5907820bf00b0e77e2ff8915500c
 

BeyondRevenue

Active Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2020
Messages
412
Reaction score
788
The mega-talls in Manhattan were built as a matter of right. There was limited review and approval authority, and apparently little or no planning. That can't be replicated in Boston. My thought was if a developer anticipated not getting approval from the city for this project, why not go to the Massachusetts State Legislature, and limit/end 'home rule' with respect to city review of this proposed project? See for example, the Boston Shadow Law from 1990, which constrained building heights.

https://apnews.com/article/b91b5907820bf00b0e77e2ff8915500c
Yep, my great grandfather spun tall tales of when he grossly exceeded F.A.R. then got away without a shadow study when he built his occupancy exceeding tenement. He planned on having 25 people living on a 1000sq. ft parcel. Planned it! From the beginning! He would brag about not going for neighborhood approval or even hiring a lawyer. Didn't hire an engineer or an architect. In fact he never filed plans with the City, he just up and did it! Hired some cheap labor and started throwing bricks down... environmental impact study be damned!
What an absolute legend.

Wait...Everybody, did that back then? Because there were no rules? So my Great-Grandpappy was just doing what was normal?
So I suppose I shouldn't be impressed that he came to this country without applying for a Visa?

I have to rethink everything now.
 

Java King

Active Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2007
Messages
424
Reaction score
619
My first architecture job out of college was at Steffian Bradley Associates (100 Washington Street) in 1987. I don't believe the 100 Washington Street building is part of this current proposal. I certainly think the handsome warehouse brick base building on the corner of Washington & Causeway should be incorporated into any future tower. The Davis Square Lab Building thread made me very nostalgic. I moved to an apartment in Somerville midway between Porter and Davis Square in 1987, and I used to commute to 100 Washington Street every day on either the Red Line from Porter, Bus & Green Line to Lechmere, or the Commuter Rail from Porter. Wow! Things have certainly changed in BOTH neighborhoods in 35 years! (...........not to mention the commute! Waiting for the trolleys at the Lechmere wooden shed, an actual Lechmere Department Store next door, the overhead tracks at North Station, BUD Diesel Railcars on the commute from Porter.........the list goes on............
 

NoShJFK

New member
Joined
Apr 18, 2021
Messages
99
Reaction score
90
A 700ft in that spot would be AMAZING. As unlikely as it is to happen
 

Top