Cambridge Crossing Parcel I | 151 N First Street | East Cambridge

jl326

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Based on the materials linked in post #1, three residential parcels have been built and occupied to date: parcels N (Twenty20), S, and T. Among them, the percentage of affordable units are 12%, 12%, and 11% respectively. Using the square footage measurement [ (affordable unit square footage) / (gross foot area) ] rather than # of units yields similar results.

For as liberal of a town as Cambridge is, aren't these figures very low?? Even if these %'s did meet the minimum requirements at the time they were built, shouldn't there have been more substantial pushes to get those figures WAY up from the bare bare minimum? I'm thinking 20%, 25%, hell even 30%. What a perfect opportunity and area to inject loads of mixed housing.

Where is/was the outrage?!?!

These renders for Parcel I look alright (without getting into the height argument), certainly better than some of its neighbors (hello Zinc). I hope this parcel incorporates a much higher % of affordable housing than the latest/current minimum of 20% of residential floor area (effective 2017) though.
 

ivyhedge

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In other CX threads we've discussed height in E Cambridge to death (and I've added what I could based on meetings). The City of Cambridge limits the height curtain here, and the developer chose to interpret that as a series of stepped ribbons (with the tallest buildings "fronting" the tracks and the lowest at Lot R, and at what will replace the Lechmere station proper.

Twenty|20, which is no longer part of Divco's CX plan (it was sold to Prudential), is the upper limit of what will be built in CX barring a major retooling of the master plan. Even the previous developer, when it had 100% control (HYM), had no intent to build higher than 220'-ish. They told us so in several meetings over the years.

We have met with Divco several times. They will uphold the Cambridge limit here so that the building on Lot I might end up as the tallest. Lots A, B, C, and D are in a lower band (remember that Zinc is also not included) and what we've seen for EF, G, and H are somewhat unique, but inline with the massing of EF's waterfall building.

Note: Some of us asked about going higher recently, and they remarked that there wasn't enough demand for anything higher than the current plan (and pointed us to Kendall Square as a reference). The counter argument is that they might be able to swing for a higher structure (build one on spec with the City's tacit approval), but Divco has made a name for itself by locking strong tenants before finishing their structures. Case in point: Lot JK was *going* to be built on spec ... before there was Philips. Yeah, right: a gleaming 350' "tower" in CX isn't really their shtick.

I like this proposal for Lot I ... it's a refined version of what we've seen over the last two years. Hardly revolutionary, but welcome.
 

JumboBuc

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In other CX threads we've discussed height in E Cambridge to death (and I've added what I could based on meetings). The City of Cambridge limits the height curtain here, and the developer chose to interpret that as a series of stepped ribbons (with the tallest buildings "fronting" the tracks and the lowest at Lot R, and at what will replace the Lechmere station proper.

Twenty|20, which is no longer part of Divco's CX plan (it was sold to Prudential), is the upper limit of what will be built in CX barring a major retooling of the master plan. Even the previous developer, when it had 100% control (HYM), had no intent to build higher than 220'-ish. They told us so in several meetings over the years.

We have met with Divco several times. They will uphold the Cambridge limit here so that the building on Lot I might end up as the tallest. Lots A, B, C, and D are in a lower band (remember that Zinc is also not included) and what we've seen for EF, G, and H are somewhat unique, but inline with the massing of EF's waterfall building.

Note: Some of us asked about going higher recently, and they remarked that there wasn't enough demand for anything higher than the current plan (and pointed us to Kendall Square as a reference). The counter argument is that they might be able to swing for a higher structure (build one on spec with the City's tacit approval), but Divco has made a name for itself by locking strong tenants before finishing their structures. Case in point: Lot JK was *going* to be built on spec ... before there was Philips. Yeah, right: a gleaming 350' "tower" in CX isn't really their shtick.

I like this proposal for Lot I ... it's a refined version of what we've seen over the last two years. Hardly revolutionary, but welcome.
If it is indeed true that there "[is]n't enough demand for anything higher than the current plan" then why does Cambridge feel the need to "limit[] the height curtain here" at all? If there's no demand than why bother with a cap? And the fact that Divco is building exactly as tall as maximally allowed--with a mechanical level peaking up above--reveals that they must think the demand is there. Otherwise it's just a pure coincidence that Cambridge's max height regulation happens to exactly match Divco's economic calculation to the inch; I find that incredibly hard to believe.

Developers say that they wouldn't ever want to build anything higher than allowed because they know it's a losing battle and they don't want to piss off their regulators. Their actions (building up to the very tippy-top of whatever height allowance they're given) tells a different story. It's a classic example of stated vs. revealed preferences.
 

odurandina

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How high? You could put a 38 story apartment tower there and it would fill in an hour. Probably 50 stories.

In 7-8 years, when the area is built, a 50 story tower would look 'good.'

The planned density for this area of Cambridge is already 'bold.'

i don't know who's pushing that everything everywhere has to be 'fat.' Planners' fear of approving high a/r design towers is unfounded.

There are a few places where it's highly appropriate and desirable. If this 1 location doesn't scream loudly, it unquestionably would support tall, bold, iconic architecture.

1. Close to Downtown Boston and Kendall.

2. Lots of transit.

3. The shadows fall on rail yards.

A few years out, it would just be normal, tall, 'wow,' combining with Volpe, and current planning to extend height on the metro skyline north a bit.
 

34f34f

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Based on the materials linked in post #1, three residential parcels have been built and occupied to date: parcels N (Twenty20), S, and T. Among them, the percentage of affordable units are 12%, 12%, and 11% respectively. Using the square footage measurement [ (affordable unit square footage) / (gross foot area) ] rather than # of units yields similar results.

For as liberal of a town as Cambridge is, aren't these figures very low?? Even if these %'s did meet the minimum requirements at the time they were built, shouldn't there have been more substantial pushes to get those figures WAY up from the bare bare minimum? I'm thinking 20%, 25%, hell even 30%. What a perfect opportunity and area to inject loads of mixed housing.

Where is/was the outrage?!?!

These renders for Parcel I look alright (without getting into the height argument), certainly better than some of its neighbors (hello Zinc). I hope this parcel incorporates a much higher % of affordable housing than the latest/current minimum of 20% of residential floor area (effective 2017) though.
I believe we talked about this in the main Cambridge Crossing (nee North Point) thread—there was plenty of outrage a year or so ago. Unfortunately, the plan was approved when the requirement was 11.5%, and the city can't enforce higher than what they've already agreed to. If individual projects get amended, they will be subject to the more recent 20% requirement.

See here for details from March 2017: http://www.cambridgeday.com/2017/03...ked-as-council-progresses-toward-20-citywide/
 

Jouhou

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It's been said here before that the big park is meant to act as a sponge for excess water, is it possible the smaller parks are for this purpose too?
 

datadyne007

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It's been said here before that the big park is meant to act as a sponge for excess water, is it possible the smaller parks are for this purpose too?
I doubt it; in various slides & presentations they keep referring to it as an "event lawn" even though you could never host an event on it. The small parks are just the result of everyone in Cambridge crowing for "open space."
 

DZH22

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Why are the zoning heights so low for this area? This ultra fat 252' residential should be a slightly slimmer, 400'-1000' residential. Seriously, it's right by the highway, so you'd think that the higher floors further removed from the traffic would be the desirable ones. Instead nothing is going high in one of the only places with an FAA allowable height up to 1000'.
 

Gameguy326

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Why are the zoning heights so low for this area? This ultra fat 252' residential should be a slightly slimmer, 400'-1000' residential. Seriously, it's right by the highway, so you'd think that the higher floors further removed from the traffic would be the desirable ones. Instead nothing is going high in one of the only places with an FAA allowable height up to 1000'.
I am wondering this as well. Some parts are like, what, 150'? There is no reason to not be building 300' at least.

The only thing I can imagine is that Cambridge sees this as a new central park for the area, like the Common, and doesn't want shadows on it. Does anyone know if this is true?
 

ivyhedge

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**SNIP** Instead nothing is going high in one of the only places with an FAA allowable height up to 1000'.
We've discussed height restrictions, using first hand information from CX, in the master thread, and the one for Lot JK. As an owner/resident of CX who is mostly very pleased with living here, let me summarize: "that's not how we operate". DivCo has a great reputation, and is working efficiently to build this area. But their MO in previous projects has not been to disrupt severely the local environment by constructing a mini city in CX.

Furthermore, our space might *lie* near the highway, but it's a PITA for folks with cars to easily access it. It's either Route 28 N/S to I-93 or the Gilmore Bridge into Charlestown. Talk about a kerfuffle during ... most of the time. I bike everywhere, but do drive occasionally and can sympathize with angry drivers who finally get dumped into the morass that is Rt-28/First, Third, and Cambridge ST after dealing with Gilmore or Leverett.
 

DZH22

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Furthermore, our space might *lie* near the highway, but it's a PITA for folks with cars to easily access it. It's either Route 28 N/S to I-93 or the Gilmore Bridge into Charlestown. Talk about a kerfuffle during ... most of the time. I bike everywhere, but do drive occasionally and can sympathize with angry drivers who finally get dumped into the morass that is Rt-28/First, Third, and Cambridge ST after dealing with Gilmore or Leverett.
The point of the highway comment is the noise and pollution. Who the hell would want to be directly level with the ramps, the cars, etc? By going higher, there would be more floors where this nuisance is mitigated. It's the same issue around the Ink Block, except that one has strict FAA limits (which are still higher than what's being built) and this area doesn't.
 

datadyne007

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curcuas

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Because it's Cambridge they have to turn useful building space into another, quite unnecessary park.
 

dshoost88

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Does anyone know the history of the 'multi-use shared path' through this property and the apparent bike lanes on the street immediately adjacent to it? I'm a huge proponent for safe bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in more places; however, it seems like a wasteful redundancy. Why not just narrow the street, widen the multi-use path, and/or enable more development?
 

Brad Plaid

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Because it's Cambridge they have to turn useful building space into another, quite unnecessary park.
In a less ideologically-driven town this park would have rightly been a building but the unicorns squawked for more open space and got it.
 

DZH22

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Too much open space becomes pretty lousy to walk through. The area in front of the EF building feels useless and is a chore to get across. It's like Cambridge decided they want to be more like Burlington. It's pretty pathetic really. Why does every new building need to come with its own bleeping park?
 

FitchburgLine

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Don’t worry, they’re making the exact same mistake at the Volpe site. And Alewife.
 

ryblogs

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I don't understand why everyone is against some open space sprinkled in
 

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