Development Map and Chart

bigpicture7

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This whole debate has gone off the rails, thanks to ideologues who have reframed it in an overly simplistic way that ultimately equates to "stop development"

Some basic concepts that should actually appeal to the progressive base are completely missed:
1) If a parcel gets developed with a tower on it, even if that tower is 25% occupied, the tax base increases and, therefore, resources become available for things like parks and schools
2) Who cares if the tower is 75% empty - what was the parcel being used for before?? If it was a parking garage or shorter building or parking lot, those spaces up in the air didn't even exist...so no one is taking anything away from anyone.
3) The Hyde park / roslindale / brighton / etc argument...these towers are not doing anything to change the affordability of these types of neighborhoods
4) I am trying to raise a family and I can't afford millennium tower: It does not offend me in the least, since I would not think to try to raise my family on the 50th floor of a downtown tower anyway! That simply never was the type of place where most families are raised. Who cares if empty nesters and foreign investors own property on the 50th floor there?
5) There are empty parcels available in key further-out areas where no one is able to build a skyscraper all around this city. For instance, all the new/proposed zoning along Dot Ave, among other places...if we had exhausted all the Dot/Rox/Roslindale/Hyde Park/Allston/Brighton parcels, THEN maybe we can whine about downtown parcels going for luxury uses, but until then so what?

The one area where I'll side with the complainers is that we simply need to make sure we're making good use of all the tax revenue from these luxe developments. That's about it!

The irony of all of this is that the only way we're going to get better parks/schools/etc is with $$ inflow from things like this.
 
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odurandina

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My request is in response to the hysteria right now online about how we're building luxury high-rises in downtown Boston so people can't afford to live in Hyde Park, or at least that's the claim.
Abject hysteria. i was stoned to death by an angry mob up there. The rhetoric and narrative has spiraled out of control–with much thanks to the Boston Globe stirring up trouble with outright lies. The roots of this madness seem at least to me, connected to our civic leaders' and loud Globe commenters' increasing cozening up to Marxist ideology.

With the departure of Bill Linehan (the voice of reason) we presently have a City Council that stands a good chance of destroying the economic progress previous Councils and the Walsh Administration have made–by effectively demonizing and slowing-to-a-crawl a process already functioning at the margins, already occurring far too slowly near transit, and potentially, stopping the risk takers from adding what are only modest increases to the density of the urban core.

Despite ferocious demand, we can't get even 1 signature 380~420' highrise built in Charlestown, East Boston, Mission Hill, or Roxbury. Back Bay and South Stations will be another decade; Therefore; we should already be building highrises along the Fairmount and Needham lines, in addition to Forest Hills and Ruggles. Boston is a great City. But your kids will never live here.
 
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bigpicture7

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^ the globe published someone else's piece. They should now publish a counterargument from someone offering the other perspective. BTW, please stop with your political labeling of things...it's usually BS (e.g., I bet half or more of this board and of the Globe's readers holds a progressive/pro-development hybrid view)
 

odurandina

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i DO believe it's a combination of flagrant Marxist bullshit, selfish nimbyism among wealthy small-scale apartment owners..... and a few grouchy, old people who think Boston should stay in its '1900 style,' – (w/ the latter 2 categories) who couldn't give a rats ass about the plight of young people/affordability etc.

The scale of building that i believe should happen in Boston is finite; bold in the Downtown, West End, Allston train yards – but not boundless. I think there's a 'correct approach,' followed by a scaled down approach..... and not attempting the urbanization of Roxbury, Dorchester, Rozzie, etc without some type of dramatic transit upgrades/tunnel boring, etc.
 
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JohnAKeith

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Abject hysteria. i was stoned to death by an angry mob up there. The rhetoric and narrative has spiraled out of control–with much thanks to the Boston Globe stirring up trouble with outright lies. The roots of this madness seem at least to me, connected to our civic leaders' and loud Globe commenters' increasing cozening up to Marxist ideology.
I mean, I'm usually against stonings but ..

Joking!

Mostly we agree on this subject, you and I.
 

odurandina

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The Boston Globe math;

After decades of building nil highrises, and very little squat infill,

It's a miracle: Boston has become unaffordable.... from... that's right; NOT BUILDING.

Of course, with the Globe posters it's all Marty's fault–even though he just took office and it takes nearly or better than a decade to get something approved.....

Chicago built dozens of luxury towers and infill and....

area apartments ARE 140% more affordable.

Now the 6th largest metro in America is finally building more infill and there's talk about some towers going up over area transit stations and such.

Really, we've built like 2 luxury skyscrapers so far to Chicago's 71. Ok, if you count the number actually completed the number is, (1). Their footprint comprises roughly 3 acres of land in a City of 49 square miles.

Of course, there's still no housing of any measurable quantity whatsoever getting built outside of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville (and honorable mention; Malden).

But of course, these tower builders deserve ALL the blame for the lack of supply of affordable housing – and we're here to make sure they get it.

We have at our defense after all–The Boston Globe math.
 
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12345

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The globe drops this treat today as well.

The Massachusetts economy, by many measures, is humming: low unemployment, a sizzling real estate market, incomes that are among the highest in the country.

But a broad and detailed survey to be released Thursday shows that the state trailed the rest of the nation in 2017 when it comes to middle-class income growth, poverty reduction, and the expansion of health insurance coverage.
Then you scroll down.

There was stronger growth among high earners, including a substantial increase in the number of households earning over $200,000.


https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2018/09/12/much-for-massachusetts-miracle/hknXpoKqsmL2ZyEyK1z45M/amp.html?__twitter_impression=true
 

Rover

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My take is a little different. NIMBY's who are generally in their 70's or 80's because who else has time to take out of their day to protest 50 different projects all at once, are used to being lionized and deified both in the Glob and by politicians. Unfortunately nobody reminded them that the 70's are over and the public has moved on to a much more pro-development stance for the very arguments that posters have been making (tax revenue, etc). Because these ancient loons are now being mocked instead of worshiped and they're losing major battles left and right, they're getting even more angry, vocal, and extreme. 20 years ago Winthrop Square never would have made it to the old BRA without being chopped down to 300 ft. CLF nutters would have shut down the Whiskey Priest redevelopment. MT would have risen 200 ft and that's it. They're on their last gasp, literally and figuratively hence some of the bleating we're all seeing now.
 

DAVE

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My take is a little different. NIMBY's who are generally in their 70's or 80's because who else has time to take out of their day to protest 50 different projects all at once, are used to being lionized and deified both in the Glob and by politicians. Unfortunately nobody reminded them that the 70's are over and the public has moved on to a much more pro-development stance for the very arguments that posters have been making (tax revenue, etc). Because these ancient loons are now being mocked instead of worshiped and they're losing major battles left and right, they're getting even more angry, vocal, and extreme. 20 years ago Winthrop Square never would have made it to the old BRA without being chopped down to 300 ft. CLF nutters would have shut down the Whiskey Priest redevelopment. MT would have risen 200 ft and that's it. They're on their last gasp, literally and figuratively hence some of the bleating we're all seeing now.
And there's data to back some of that up!
https://www.citylab.com/life/2018/09/nimbys-dominate-local-zoning-meetings/569440/
 

stevebikes

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This whole debate has gone off the rails, thanks to ideologues who have reframed it in an overly simplistic way that ultimately equates to "stop development"

Some basic concepts that should actually appeal to the progressive base are completely missed:
1) If a parcel gets developed with a tower on it, even if that tower is 25% occupied, the tax base increases and, therefore, resources become available for things like parks and schools
2) Who cares if the tower is 75% empty - what was the parcel being used for before?? If it was a parking garage or shorter building or parking lot, those spaces up in the air didn't even exist...so no one is taking anything away from anyone.
3) The Hyde park / roslindale / brighton / etc argument...these towers are not doing anything to change the affordability of these types of neighborhoods
4) I am trying to raise a family and I can't afford millennium tower: It does not offend me in the least, since I would not think to try to raise my family on the 50th floor of a downtown tower anyway! That simply never was the type of place where most families are raised. Who cares if empty nesters and foreign investors own property on the 50th floor there?
5) There are empty parcels available in key further-out areas where no one is able to build a skyscraper all around this city. For instance, all the new/proposed zoning along Dot Ave, among other places...if we had exhausted all the Dot/Rox/Roslindale/Hyde Park/Allston/Brighton parcels, THEN maybe we can whine about downtown parcels going for luxury uses, but until then so what?

The one area where I'll side with the complainers is that we simply need to make sure we're making good use of all the tax revenue from these luxe developments. That's about it!

The irony of all of this is that the only way we're going to get better parks/schools/etc is with $$ inflow from things like this.
These are good points, but don't address the main complaint that I see: that these towers don't contain any affordable (or Affordable) units themselves. Yes, they do generate money that pays for units in farther out neighborhoods, but that doesn't help the concentration of wealth. Same for the Seaport.
 

TheRifleman

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What the hell is going on in front of Harbor Garage? 7-11 just closed up shop. I can't believe it.
 

bigpicture7

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These are good points, but don't address the main complaint that I see: that these towers don't contain any affordable (or Affordable) units themselves. Yes, they do generate money that pays for units in farther out neighborhoods, but that doesn't help the concentration of wealth. Same for the Seaport.
I agree. I think the 13% should def be higher. Though I guess I have a slightly more flexible perspective: the important thing is that the units be in the neighborhood, but not necessarily the exact same building (e.g., the One Greenway project is an example of this). In-same-neighborhood helps with wealth distro / ensures access to same level of proximity to transit/schools/parks. I realize this doesn't sit well with some people because it symbolically isolates the types of residents...but, honestly, that happens in an even worse way with a "poor door" and separate elevators, and a firewall between lower and upper walls....developers might be able to produce even more units if the low inc. housing is in a separate building nearby, and can get creative with sprinkling these units into available spaces across a neighborhold real estate portfolio. Why deny developers such opportunities if they exist...in the end, isn't it all about unit count and neighborhood location?

The way I always flip this argument around in my head is:
The development boom in boston is an opportunity to fix a lot of broken things in the city because it represents a revenue and resources influx for the city. So the question becomes, how can we leverage that to make the city better? It bugs me that the same people who want to make the city better also want to shut off the most accessible public-benefiting cash spigot we have available to us right now. Let's leverage that toward the progressive agenda.
 
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TallIsGood

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Low income set asides increase the cost of building and therefore reduce the marginal buildings. Better to reduce regulatory restrictions and cost of building. Encourage denser, taller housing. Encourage more not less housing.
 

Suffolk 83

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^there would be zero cheap new housing anywhere then. I love the people that think a free market fixes everything. No it doesnt
 

bigpicture7

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Low income set asides increase the cost of building and therefore reduce the marginal buildings. Better to reduce regulatory restrictions and cost of building. Encourage denser, taller housing. Encourage more not less housing.
Umm, I said give them the option to build off site...not force them. (commentary about "poor doors" aside). Wouldn't giving that optionality actually be loosening restrictions so they can produce the x% units in a variety of ways depending on their situation? And what you are saying about marginal costs is not a universal truth. Sometimes developers own odd shaped pieces of land , own existing nearby structures that can be converted, etc, along with the prime parcel they are putting the tower on...or own a portfolio of small buildings already in a neighborhood...this isn't just an exercise of comparing straight up the marginal cost of more units in a tower versus more units outside the tower.

My argument is: up the % units affordable, and allow some flexibility as to where they can be located (so long as within-neighborhood).
 

TallIsGood

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^there would be zero cheap new housing anywhere then. I love the people that think a free market fixes everything. No it doesnt
Its not a free market. Zoning, design review, environmental review, low income set asides, union labor requirements, etc. all increase the cost of housing.

You can't build a three decker anymore in Boston. You can't build SRO housing any more. Low income housing doesn't mean the same apartment just charge less.

The developer has to pay (and is ultimately subsidized by the condo owner/renter) for all these requirements.

Free markets work, let them work.
 

bigpicture7

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Its not a free market. Zoning, design review, environmental review, low income set asides, union labor requirements, etc. all increase the cost of housing.
That's correct, a true free market does not exist in any country in any industry anywhere in the world. Seriously, find one instance of it...

You can't build a three decker anymore in Boston. You can't build SRO housing any more. Low income housing doesn't mean the same apartment just charge less.
In most industries you cannot build the products from 20, 50, 100 years ago and expect them to still be profitable. Conditions change, populations change, growth happens, land availability changes. My grandparents bought a WWI-era triple decker in Watertown many, many years ago. At that time (post WWI) vast swaths of essentially barren land were being converted to massive numbers of triple deckers for all the soldiers returning home to start their families. Conditions are not the same across pretty much any dimension today. (Capitalists like change, btw, it's how they look for competitive advantage).

Free markets work, let them work.
How does this logically flow from anything you said above? You just tacked this ideological statement on.
Let's try again:
Capitalism can work. It can be the engine that drives progress. It can be the means by which societies advance. But free markets don't exist. They are all regulated and coordinated in one way or another. So, instead, this becomes: how can we be most smart and effective in designing how capitalism is coordinated.
 

Suffolk 83

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I think we really need to rethink our understanding of free markets in housing. The traditional thought is the more housing we build regardless of type will help ease price pressures due to basic supply and demand... Its proving itself right now right in front of us in our backyard to NOT be true. I think has some very spot on points regarding this:

https://digboston.com/six-questions-boston-should-grapple-with-before-greenlighting-thousands-more-luxury-units/

Specifically this:
How does the luxury boom help address Boston’s acute affordable housing crisis?
Luxury construction drives up the cost of land in central neighborhoods, with a ripple impact on the cost of housing throughout the city. Affluent, but not superrich, households in Boston find themselves pushed to outer neighborhoods, increasing competition for scarce affordable and moderately priced housing. A UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index warned, “Soaring home prices come with a downside. They nudge low- and middle-income earners out of the market, increase the gap between rich and poor, and even lead to a rush to build homes that critics say can make us sick.”
More units are not lowering prices but actually raising prices.... There isnt enough regulation in Boston regarding luxury units and dictating if people actually live in the units. There's something clearly going on and its defying traditional supply and demand- probable money laundering as mentioned in the article. Luxury is begetting higher prices not satisfying the market and lowering them for others.
 

Coyote137

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Free markets work, let them work.
In other words, ignore externalities and force everyone else to pay for them.

Your cars and smokestacks spew shit into the air that causes asthma and emphysema? Who cares! Free markets!

Your pipes throw toxic shit into the water supply? Who cares! Free markets!

Your ridiculous financial instruments bring down the entire economy? Who cares! Free markets!

There are lots of reasons why we have your decried "Zoning, design review, environmental review, low income set asides, union labor requirements, etc." It's so selfish, money-addicted turds don't run roughshod over everyone else, hoovering up every last dollar they can get their hands on like a cokehead on a bender. I realize that amoral libertarianism is all the rage these days, but pretending that externalities don't exist doesn't make them go away. It just shifts the costs onto people who aren't getting the profits.
 

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