Oxford Office Bldg. | 125 Lincoln St | Leather District

stick n move

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I thought I was in the thread for the new office building at new balance, it looks very very similar.
 

urbanmansprawler

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Some news on my 3rd most hated proposal in the city. (behind Congress Street Lab and 1 Bromfield)
Do labs in core areas get shade because the space could be better utilized, or because the lab boom will peter out and we'll be left with several prominent unfinished jobs?
 

DwnTwnr

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Do labs in core areas get shade because the space could be better utilized, or because the lab boom will peter out and we'll be left with several prominent unfinished jobs?
I think the concern about over building lab is legitimate. And labs have much larger floor plates than even office buildings, so they are just really bulky and hard to reuse.
 

DZH22

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Do labs in core areas get shade because the space could be better utilized, or because the lab boom will peter out and we'll be left with several prominent unfinished jobs?
I double checked the FAA map using their "interactive" version here:

This parcel is amazingly in the 750' zone (not 300' like another poster erroneously state above). It's right next to the busiest train station in the state. We have a housing crisis of epic proportions. Why are we trying to build a sub 200' lab in a spot that could instead be a 700'+ residential? That lab would be underwhelming for the Seaport, North Point, Fenway, and all sorts of other areas. Let's build smarter, with FAA max residential towers near all transit, and start solving this housing crisis instead of actively making it worse.

I honestly can't think of too many places in Boston more appropriate for a large tower than this underused garage parcel right by South Station.
 

Lrfox

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Why are we trying to build a sub 200' lab in a spot that could instead be a 700'+ residential?
I think it ultimately comes down to a combination of economics and headaches.

Economics:
  • Small, constrained lot presents engineering challenges
  • Abutting the O'Neill Tunnel presents additional engineering/logistic challenges
  • General construction material costs/inflation
  • Cost increases associated with above challenges mean that 700+ foot residential here is only feasible as an uber-luxury condo and would likely require the backing of a luxury brand (i.e. Four Seasons). Not sure there's an appetite for that given the the volume of recently opened or under construction luxury condos in town, inflation, staggering interest rates, and discussions of a potential recession, etc.
Headaches:
  • The parcel is literally right on the line between 750 and 325 feet which could present permitting challenges (or at least uncertainty).
  • It's hard to imagine that Chinatown, which has been in the spotlight for its battle against gentrification, wouldn't fiercely oppose an ultra-luxury condo development.
  • Additional NIMBY issues ("Manhattanization!," "Shadows!," "Wind!") that generally plague tower proposals in Boston.
I'd love to see a thin 700+ footer here, but I just don't see any developer being willing to deal with the above when they can get a 200 foot lab through the permitting process and likely lock up a tenant pretty quickly. That said, the lab market appears to be cooling quickly, so maybe this parcel ends up being pushed to the next cycle and something better is proposed.
 

SuffolkHeights11

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There are always significant challenges with building to that height, but I think there needs to be a fundamental shift in how we're approaching building in this city. The process is always focused on mitigating, minimizing, and containing development as if it's this horrible virus. We need to start with the FAA limit and work backwards. Start asking okay how do we get there? How many affordable housing units can we get in this building? Who can finance this? If changes need to be made based on structural/financial challenges fine. But as many have stated, the best use of this site which is next to a transit hub is dense residential housing. The city should accept nothing less.

Instead, we start with completely arbitrary limits on height, preference, aesthetic, and say what are we going to allow here, as the BCDC member stated at the hearing. Instead of trying to maximize the site, we try to minimize it. And this building is what we get.
 

king_vibe

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You don’t need to have 700 feet here just because the FAA says you can. I also don’t think this should be a lab building. I could picture a residential building a little bigger than One Greenway here.

All that being said, even a lab would be an improvement over the foul garage that’s currently here.
 

themissinglink

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FAA limit or not, we should still be aiming high for this parcel. A residential high-rise would be ideal in this location, even if its only 500'-600'.
 
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curcuas

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There are always significant challenges with building to that height, but I think there needs to be a fundamental shift in how we're approaching building in this city. The process is always focused on mitigating, minimizing, and containing development as if it's this horrible virus. We need to start with the FAA limit and work backwards. Start asking okay how do we get there? How many affordable housing units can we get in this building? Who can finance this? If changes need to be made based on structural/financial challenges fine. But as many have stated, the best use of this site which is next to a transit hub is dense residential housing. The city should accept nothing less.

Instead, we start with completely arbitrary limits on height, preference, aesthetic, and say what are we going to allow here, as the BCDC member stated at the hearing. Instead of trying to maximize the site, we try to minimize it. And this building is what we get.
This this this
 

Blackbird

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We kind of do need 700 feet though—we're in a housing crisis and this is one of the most logical spots to have that level of density in the entire region...
Like Irfox said above, you can’t build a 700ft residential building without it being an ultra-lux condo building, which would do absolutely nothing to mitigate the housing crisis.

We have a dearth of middle/working class housing in the neighborhoods and in the suburbs. That’s what’s making homes and apartments across the metro so expensive. The Back Bay, Downtown, and the Seaport already have more than enough ultra-luxury housing to satisfy the needs of people looking for that sort of thing.
 

bigpicture7

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Like Irfox said above, you can’t build a 700ft residential building without it being an ultra-lux condo building, which would do absolutely nothing to mitigate the housing crisis.

We have a dearth of middle/working class housing in the neighborhoods and in the suburbs. That’s what’s making homes and apartments across the metro so expensive. The Back Bay, Downtown, and the Seaport already have more than enough ultra-luxury housing to satisfy the needs of people looking for that sort of thing.
It's all a connected regional housing system. Single floors on triple deckers in Somerville, which in years past were ultra affordable, are now routinely flipped and sold as 7 figure lux condos because, say, at 1.1mil you couldn't get that sorta thing closer to the core. If the core had a large quantity of desirable housing stock, there would be less un-affordability creep outward (does someone paying 7-figs really want to live in a lipsticked triple decker further from the action?). True, there's a real risk of ultra-lux saturation at the very top, but aside from that, housing is an interconnected system where prices of one type affect the prices of other types.

We're forcing binaries (i.e., it's either 700ft vs. low rise!) in what's really a continuum. If going 700ft here means cost-recovery-wise you can only do ultra-ultra-luxury (which, sure, might not sell), then why not do 600ft or 500ft or 400ft and take it down a notch cost-wise and yet fill a different need in the housing continuum, ultimately taking price pressure off of the more "organically affordable" existing units a rung or two outside of the core? The point is that zoning and policy should allow the most value to be extracted (and returned to society) from the land parcel.
 
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Blackbird

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The point is that zoning and policy should allow the most value to be extracted (and returned to society) from the land parcel.
Isn’t that technically what’s happening? If making a 400ft condo building and selling units for 1.1mil a pop was the most valuable use for the land, then it would be happening.

The developer clearly thinks they’ll get more money for a lab.
 

bigpicture7

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Isn’t that technically what’s happening? If making a 400ft condo building and selling units for 1.1mil a pop was the most valuable use for the land, then it would be happening.

The developer clearly thinks they’ll get more money for a lab.
We could only conclude what you are stating if we knew that zoning, community review, and approval/authorization process was deemed as low a risk as building the current short, fat lab.
That was my point about zoning and policy. If they are "equally easy" (& financing were available for both), then yes, we can conclude what you're saying. But if not, then it's not a fair comparison.
 
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