CambridgeSide Galleria Reno/Redev | First Street | East Cambridge

ivyhedge

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I find the addition atop the Cheesecake Factory...appealing, in a stupendously faux crenelated fashion. It conjures Sedona.
 

Equilibria

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EDIT: Found the materials! Only works because this is a zoning amendment and not a special permit. Cambridge - fix what you broke!

https://www.cambridgema.gov/~/media...idgeSide/zngamend_petition_20190211.pdf?la=en

http://cambridgema.iqm2.com/Citizen...etingID=2400&MediaPosition=&ID=1207&CssClass=

Thanks for pulling the renders, Stick!

A couple things from the renders: the red building the first image seems to be the first phase (presumably after the upcoming third floor conversion), as it's pictured with the parking garage. In the second image, the garage is gone and replaced by another mixed-use building. The enormous mechanical penthouse on the red building also suggests lab use.

I have to assume, given the sequencing of the renders, that the last one is also the last phase - the office midrise on the other (Land Blvd) side above Cheesecake.

FWIW, here's the Globe article from last week:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/busines...ffice-space/426CxWCz1tVkjFvAtNaDiI/story.html

New England Development is set to unveil plans next week to add at least 600,000 square feet of new buildings at the mall, particularly along First Street at what’s now an above-ground parking garage and a shuttered Sears store.
And a rendering of the third floor:

 
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JumboBuc

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My understanding is that these various CambridgeSide proposals are multiple separate (and largely unrelated) projects. They are not, per se, "phases" of one project. For example:
  • The switch of the current mall third floor from retail to office (see the recent Globe article here) is a relatively small-scale interior renovation project. It can proceed with little structural or visible exterior changes to the mall.
  • The Sears building (and I believe maybe the above-ground garage as well) is owned by a separate entity from the mall. That can be rebuilt while affecting the mall itself only minimally.
  • Stacking floors on top of, for example, the Macy's building is a whole 'nother animal.
 

Equilibria

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My understanding is that these various CambridgeSide proposals are multiple separate (and largely unrelated) projects. They are not, per se, "phases" of one project. For example:
  • The switch of the current mall third floor from retail to office (see the recent Globe article here) is a relatively small-scale interior renovation project. It can proceed with little structural or visible exterior changes to the mall.
  • The Sears building (and I believe maybe the above-ground garage as well) is owned by a separate entity from the mall. That can be rebuilt while affecting the mall itself only minimally.
  • Stacking floors on top of, for example, the Macy's building is a whole 'nother animal.
I had thought so, but last night's presentation presents it as a single phased effort for the four buildings replacing the anchor stores and garage:

http://cambridgema.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=2400

I don't think they're stacking floors on the Macy's building. The site plans in the presentation look like they're tearing it down. I'm not sure I've ever seen a mall owner flat out plan to expel an anchor tenant like that. Maybe Macy's has told them they're out at lease end?

Also, from the story back in October:

Sears sold the 120,000-square-foot building last year to Northwood Investors, a Denver-based real estate firm, for $55 million. The store is owned separately from the mall, but Black said Northwood is working closely with New England Development on the redevelopment plans.
 

etik

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This project is going in front of the Ordinance Committee on May 30th at 5:30 PM in Cambridge City Hall.

The zoning amendments and documents can be found here and here.

The proposal is for 125,000 sq ft of residential, which translates to the low 100s of units. About 500k new sq ft will go to office/lab space.
 

Equilibria

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This project is going in front of the Ordinance Committee on May 30th at 5:30 PM in Cambridge City Hall.

The zoning amendments and documents can be found here and here.

The proposal is for 125,000 sq ft of residential, which translates to the low 100s of units. About 500k new sq ft will go to office/lab space.
To be revised and refiled later in the Summer. CambridgeDay reports that the issues are mostly around removing the office and lab in favor of residential, as well as adding public benefit to compensate for developer profit. Also some quotes in there from a Grade A NIMBY who wrote an opinion piece arguing that developers shouldn't make money if it means more people near his house.

http://www.cambridgeday.com/2019/05...-will-amend-refile-in-summer-councillor-says/
 

Jouhou

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To be revised and refiled later in the Summer. CambridgeDay reports that the issues are mostly around removing the office and lab in favor of residential, as well as adding public benefit to compensate for developer profit. Also some quotes in there from a Grade A NIMBY who wrote an opinion piece arguing that developers shouldn't make money if it means more people near his house.

http://www.cambridgeday.com/2019/05...-will-amend-refile-in-summer-councillor-says/
Good god he pulled out the cringiest NIMBY arguments too. Traffic and shadows? I agree with "more residential" but I think traffic and shadow arguments need to be retired for good.

At this point even valid traffic complaints automatically make me feel angry because traffic complaints now come off to me as code for "I don't think other people should be allowed to exist in my universe"
 

Equilibria

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This (refiled) project was up at the Ordinance Committee recently, there will be another committee meeting with no public comment on October 3rd (but public letters still welcome! cc @Massachoicetts).

Here is are the refiled plans:
Not much change. Cut 30' off of the building closest to the river, but it's still over 150'.

The buildings look nice. The slides, by contrast, set my retinas on fire. Not a strong PowerPoint game here.
 

stick n move

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The people arguing that removing part of the mall for offices and housing next to transit will increase traffic set my brain on fire... how sway? You aint got the answers man...
 

Equilibria

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The Cambridge City Council kicked this one down the road based on some technicalities - under the terms of the site, the developers have to prove that they need the development at the proposed size to keep the mall open.

I get that they're following the terms of the agreement, but come on. Saying that you need to prove you're saving a suburban-style mall to build mixed-use urban density is about as bass ackward as it gets.
 

JumboBuc

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The people arguing that removing part of the mall for offices and housing next to transit will increase traffic set my brain on fire... how sway? You aint got the answers man...
The thing is that these people aren't wrong, they just can't see (or don't care about) the bigger picture.

Removing part of the mall for offices and housing will probably increase traffic in this specific area of Cambridge. So if your scope of analysis is this specific area of Cambridge, it makes perfect sense to oppose this project on traffic grounds.

Of course the project will also likely decrease regional traffic relative to an alternative in which the people who would live and work in these buildings live and work somewhere else in Greater Boston instead. But that's more subtle and doesn't fit into your calculus if all you care about is this specific area of Cambridge.

This is why NIMBYism is so hard to overcome. If you care about your "back yard" more than anything else, it makes perfect rational sense to oppose projects that benefit the greater good but come with changes to your back yard that you don't like. There's no way to convince people with this view that they're wrong, because really, they're not wrong. They just have their sights set too much on the micro when broader societal improvement needs to happen on the macro.
 

stick n move

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I disagree completely that housing and office space on the red line will increase even local traffic over a mall. People are much more likely to use transit to a job they go to everyday than a spur of the moment mall trip from the suburbs. People also choose jobs and transit is a part of that decision, you dont choose where a mall is located or really care if its a one day thing. Same with transit that is located right next to your residence, these people are more likely to walk or take the T than someone coming into the city to a mall. We can agree to disagree no biggie.
 

etik

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The ordinance passed today according to the city council minutes. Looking forward to this project, though we know that these things usually have some extra hoops to jump through in Cambridge...
 

Equilibria

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The ordinance passed today according to the city council minutes. Looking forward to this project, though we know that these things usually have some extra hoops to jump through in Cambridge...
I believe each of these buildings will still need to pass design review, but good news nonetheless.
 

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