Pinnacle at Central Wharf (Harbor Garage) | 70 East India Row | Waterfront | Downtown

stick n move

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Wow the waterfront was a disaster. Its incredible the transformation since cleaning up the harbor.
 

Massachoicetts

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So the meeting was not that geared to the opposition of the tower itself, but more so the Environmental Impact and Landscape Architecture around the building. Which I found shocking, I figured it would have been a bunch of granny sues bashing it's height! Only heard complaints on the height once, from the CEO of the Aquarium.

I spoke at the meeting, and I don't think I ever sounded so nervous in my life. I think its because it was my first time speaking at a BPDA meeting. Well besides the matter, the development team laid out the design, went over the plans, especially at ground level. There was a big focus today on it's ground-level impact. Blue Way, Raising the Building 4' and its design/facade to prevail winds were heavily focused on. Nothing new, really besides a render or two.

Topics that were questioned/concerned about heavily :
i. Wind: People were really curious about how the facade will protect against wind tunnels. The developer hinted at more trees. Trees. Trees. Trees! Could there be more trees?!
ii. Traffic: 1100 parking spaces? Everyone seemed to think that number was too high! (It is!) Get rid of the parking. Scrap the amount of parking. No one seemed thrilled with the parking minimum. People didn't like the emphasis of traffic on India Row either.
iii. Equity: A LOT of people want to see increased equity. POC Tenants, More inclusion, Income distribution, etc were a lot of concerns brought up.
iv: Walkability/Blueway: The Harbor Front needs to be more walkable and INVITING. The Blueway MUST happen. The city of Boston NEEDS to ensure this WILL happen.
v: Affordability: Who will be able to afford the units here? Who is this actually for? People want MARKET RATE and AFFORDABLE units dedicated to this project.

P. Shelley brought up an amazing point. Bait and switch. Will the Harbor Tower trick us and not give us the Blueway and all of its promises? Is the development going to be the one to overcome its exclusions of POC and Minority groups? It was a powerful and valid argument he had. He brought up the point where he expresses concern whether the Grand Staircase will go away like the Winthrop Center's connector severely downsized drastically. He wants to make sure the Blueway happens. And if the Blueway doesn't happen, what next?

Biggest takeaways.
1. People do not seem TOO hostile to the height and size as before, as long as the development team holds through to the environmental and walkability promises.
2. Parking is a major issue in this development. This will for sure be reviewed heavily by the development team.
3. Accessibility and inclusion is a BIG concern. People made it CLEAR they do not want another Seaport tower of elite.
4. Its a conversation. MUCH less hostile than February.
5. Affordability

But yeah after watching Don Chiafaro watch me speak and stutter up, and realize my Boston accent is stronger than I thought it was... Im off to have a drink.


Comments can be submitted online on the BDPA website BY October 2nd (Friday).
Here: http://www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/harbor-garage-redevelopment#comment_Form
 
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Vivanna

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So the meeting was not that geared to the opposition of the tower itself, but more so the Environmental Impact and Landscape Architecture around the building. Which I found shocking, I figured it would have been a bunch of granny sues bashing it's height! Only heard complaints on the height once, from the CEO of the Aquarium.

I spoke at the meeting, and I don't think I ever sounded so nervous in my life. I think its because it was my first time speaking at a BPDA meeting. Well besides the matter, the development team laid out the design, went over the plans, especially at ground level. There was a big focus today on it's ground-level impact. Blue Way, Raising the Building 4' and its design/facade to prevail winds were heavily focused on. Nothing new, really besides a render or two.

Topics that were questioned/concerned about heavily :
i. Wind: People were really curious about how the facade will protect against wind tunnels. The developer hinted at more trees. Trees. Trees. Trees! Could there be more trees?!
ii. Traffic: 1100 parking spaces? Everyone seemed to think that number was too high! (It is!) Get rid of the parking. Scrap the amount of parking. No one seemed thrilled with the parking minimum. People didn't like the emphasis of traffic on India Row either.
iii. Equity: A LOT of people want to see increased equity. POC Tenants, More inclusion, Income distribution, etc were a lot of concerns brought up.
iv: Walkability/Blueway: The Harbor Front needs to be more walkable and INVITING. The Blueway MUST happen. The city of Boston NEEDS to ensure this WILL happen.
v: Affordability: Who will be able to afford the units here? Who is this actually for? People want MARKET RATE and AFFORDABLE units dedicated to this project.

P. Shelley brought up an amazing point. Bait and switch. Will the Harbor Tower trick us and not give us the Blueway and all of its promises? Is the development going to be the one to overcome its exclusions of POC and Minority groups? It was a powerful and valid argument he had. He brought up the point where he expresses concern whether the Grand Staircase will go away like the Winthrop Center's connector severely downsized drastically. He wants to make sure the Blueway happens. And if the Blueway doesn't happen, what next?

Biggest takeaways.
1. People do not seem TOO hostile to the height and size as before, as long as the development team holds through to the environmental and walkability promises.
2. Parking is a major issue in this development. This will for sure be reviewed heavily by the development team.
3. Accessibility and inclusion is a BIG concern. People made it CLEAR they do not want another Seaport tower of elite.
4. Its a conversation. MUCH less hostile than February.
5. Affordability

But yeah after watching Don Chiafaro watch me speak and stutter up, and realize my Boston accent is stronger than I thought it was... Im off to have a drink.


Comments can be submitted online on the BDPA website BY October 2nd (Friday).
Here: http://www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/harbor-garage-redevelopment#comment_Form
Great job speaking up, it's really difficult if you're not used to it.

Sounds like a relatively positive meeting, did P. Shelley make any mention of CLF dropping their lawsuit if the Don makes some concessions on the concerns mentioned?
 

Johnnyrocket891

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What type of question is Affordability?
There are 40+ million unemployed Americans. Even if it was possible to slash the condos 75% of market rate ---85% of most working Americans would not be able to afford these condos along with the developer never being able to build based on Govt restrictions, state regulations and economics which will drive up costs to the development.

Affordability? Do you mean have the Govt Subsidize the project or create sometype of section 8 program? I don't think that makes sense for this project.

I think the goal at this point is to remove the garage to make the area more desirable for the city of Boston and help create better tax revenue that makes sense.

If the builder is willing to move forward they should fast track this project especially with what is going on with the economy.
 
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Rover

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Shelley is bringing up strawman arguments that this project is not meant to solve. While Don can contribute money to the Blueway, ultimately isn't that up to the city and the Aquarium to pull off? His contribution is getting rid of that awful garage. Same with affordability. Don should if course follow the rules on affordable housing units but it's not his job to solve that problem for the region with this one project. Lastly, putting aside the absurdity of holding this developer responsible for a complaint about an unrelated one, does the CLF ever consider that the reason why amenities get downgraded is because everyone has their hand out for a payoff whenever a project gets built?
 

Johnnyrocket891

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Build affordable apartments
Build a new park
No Traffic
No Wind
No Shadows
Not to high
Not to wide
Lawsuits
Free parking for Harbor Towers
Move the mechanicals
Chap 91 law acts like this is open space.
Anything Else?

The way the inner cities like Seattle, Portland, LA, Baltimore, NYC, San Fran are burning down I would just wait for the wave of protesters to begin the rebuilding process.
 

curcuas

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So the meeting was not that geared to the opposition of the tower itself, but more so the Environmental Impact and Landscape Architecture around the building. Which I found shocking, I figured it would have been a bunch of granny sues bashing it's height! Only heard complaints on the height once, from the CEO of the Aquarium.

I spoke at the meeting, and I don't think I ever sounded so nervous in my life. I think its because it was my first time speaking at a BPDA meeting. Well besides the matter, the development team laid out the design, went over the plans, especially at ground level. There was a big focus today on it's ground-level impact. Blue Way, Raising the Building 4' and its design/facade to prevail winds were heavily focused on. Nothing new, really besides a render or two.

Topics that were questioned/concerned about heavily :
i. Wind: People were really curious about how the facade will protect against wind tunnels. The developer hinted at more trees. Trees. Trees. Trees! Could there be more trees?!
ii. Traffic: 1100 parking spaces? Everyone seemed to think that number was too high! (It is!) Get rid of the parking. Scrap the amount of parking. No one seemed thrilled with the parking minimum. People didn't like the emphasis of traffic on India Row either.
iii. Equity: A LOT of people want to see increased equity. POC Tenants, More inclusion, Income distribution, etc were a lot of concerns brought up.
iv: Walkability/Blueway: The Harbor Front needs to be more walkable and INVITING. The Blueway MUST happen. The city of Boston NEEDS to ensure this WILL happen.
v: Affordability: Who will be able to afford the units here? Who is this actually for? People want MARKET RATE and AFFORDABLE units dedicated to this project.

P. Shelley brought up an amazing point. Bait and switch. Will the Harbor Tower trick us and not give us the Blueway and all of its promises? Is the development going to be the one to overcome its exclusions of POC and Minority groups? It was a powerful and valid argument he had. He brought up the point where he expresses concern whether the Grand Staircase will go away like the Winthrop Center's connector severely downsized drastically. He wants to make sure the Blueway happens. And if the Blueway doesn't happen, what next?

Biggest takeaways.
1. People do not seem TOO hostile to the height and size as before, as long as the development team holds through to the environmental and walkability promises.
2. Parking is a major issue in this development. This will for sure be reviewed heavily by the development team.
3. Accessibility and inclusion is a BIG concern. People made it CLEAR they do not want another Seaport tower of elite.
4. Its a conversation. MUCH less hostile than February.
5. Affordability

But yeah after watching Don Chiafaro watch me speak and stutter up, and realize my Boston accent is stronger than I thought it was... Im off to have a drink.


Comments can be submitted online on the BDPA website BY October 2nd (Friday).
Here: http://www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/harbor-garage-redevelopment#comment_Form
Not gonna lie, these sound like new reasons to NIMBY the project. The city and state have adopted new zoning that allow the tower. Height is over, so instead they need to choose a new angle. The battle for parking should've been fought years ago, before they forced Chiofaro to keep it. Same on affordability, before they cut down allowed size. It's a damn shame.
 

Massachoicetts

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Oh good. Social Justice as the new NIMBY battle cry.

This is what happens when people don't understand how money works.
Im a big supporter of POC and Inclusion in our cities.. but really all this developer has to do is make one of the storefronts/restaurants an ethnic or Minority Owned business with make some artwork and sculptures from various POC throughout Boston. Maybe team up with like Emerson or BU to do so. Thats really all it would take to satisfy a few people in the meeting. When I spoke I hinted at that.

All it takes is a little bit of work.. nto a lot.. from the developer. And as long as the Blueway funds are secured ASAP... there would be little issues with the project.
 

real_EthanHunt

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P. Shelley brought up an amazing point. Bait and switch. Will the Harbor Tower trick us and not give us the Blueway and all of its promises?
How is this amazing? It's not the developments responsibility to provide the blueway. AND the blueway is NOT even possible without the development as the blueway uses land currently occupied by the garage.
The amazing thing is how somebody that is good at speaking and presenting can make a totally inaccurate statement sound viable.

Shelley is bringing up strawman arguments that this project is not meant to solve. While Don can contribute money to the Blueway, ultimately isn't that up to the city and the Aquarium to pull off?
Exactly. And as said, not physically possible with the garage in place.
 

Blackbird

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Not gonna lie, these sound like new reasons to NIMBY the project. The city and state have adopted new zoning that allow the tower. Height is over, so instead they need to choose a new angle. The battle for parking should've been fought years ago, before they forced Chiofaro to keep it. Same on affordability, before they cut down allowed size. It's a damn shame.
I'd much rather "NIMBY's use these talking points rather than bemoan height/density. So long as they put their money where their mouth is and accept the project if the developer updates the plan to address the concerns.

What type of question is Affordability?
There are 40+ million unemployed Americans. Even if it was possible to slash the condos 75% of market rate ---85% of most working Americans would not be able to afford these condos
While it's true that these condos won't ever be really affordable, those two points need to be hammered to oblivion on every project moving forward: more housing and more of it affordable.
 

HenryAlan

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You better believe it, it's held up Suffolk Downs for months because the developer didn't provide a translator for the public meetings.
Counter point: it's highly offensive for the developer not to make the meeting accessible for a large portion of abutting residents. They can't really be so stupid as to not have realized the demographics of East Boston. Providing a translator is easy and about the very least they could have done. That's an unforced error by the developer.
 

Rover

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Counter point: it's highly offensive for the developer not to make the meeting accessible for a large portion of abutting residents. They can't really be so stupid as to not have realized the demographics of East Boston. Providing a translator is easy and about the very least they could have done. That's an unforced error by the developer.
I believe they did make everything available in Spanish. I too was unaware of the need to translate into Arabic as well but I also suspect this is a face saving measure to allow the lawyer activists threatening to sue to claim they achieved a victory regarding the project.
 

stellarfun

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Did anyone bother to read the PNF, or were these simply recitations from standard talking points? "We object to this [Fill in the name] project because of a,, b., c."

On parking.
The project is required by the city-prepared, state-approved Downtown Waterfront District Municipal Harbor Plan to provide a minimum of 500 spaces on weekends for the Aquarium. Chiofaro is also providing 300 spaces for HT residents. (If he doesn't, he can't build squat because of the mechanicals easement.) That's 800 spaces pretty much spoken for. Of the total 1,100 spaces, he is providing 150 spaces for the 200 residential units, and 150 spaces for the office and retail portions of the complex. This is fewer spaces for residential and commercial than allowed. "The maximum parking ratios determined for the area by BTD in their district-based parking goals and guidelines are 0.40 spaces per 1,000 square feet of office and retail, and 1 space per residential unit."

The number of spaces provided for retail is 12; for 538,000 sq ft of office space, 138 spaces; for residential 150 spaces (200 allowed).

Residential.
Chiofaro proposes rental units, not condos.

The project is going nowhere as designed unless Chiofaro finds an anchor tenant for the office space. Office space is 60+ percent of the project.
 

Rover

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Did anyone bother to read the PNF, or were these simply recitations from standard talking points? "We object to this [Fill in the name] project because of a,, b., c."

On parking.
The project is required by the city-prepared, state-approved Downtown Waterfront District Municipal Harbor Plan to provide a minimum of 500 spaces on weekends for the Aquarium. Chiofaro is also providing 300 spaces for HT residents. (If he doesn't, he can't build squat because of the mechanicals easement.) That's 800 spaces pretty much spoken for. Of the total 1,100 spaces, he is providing 150 spaces for the 200 residential units, and 150 spaces for the office and retail portions of the complex. This is fewer spaces for residential and commercial than allowed. "The maximum parking ratios determined for the area by BTD in their district-based parking goals and guidelines are 0.40 spaces per 1,000 square feet of office and retail, and 1 space per residential unit."

The number of spaces provided for retail is 12; for 538,000 sq ft of office space, 138 spaces; for residential 150 spaces (200 allowed).

Residential.
Chiofaro proposes rental units, not condos.

The project is going nowhere as designed unless Chiofaro finds an anchor tenant for the office space. Office space is 60+ percent of the project.
No offense stellar, but your assessment of Don's ability to make money and reality are often far, far off for reasons you've never disclosed.

I will nitpick one thing however. Chiofaro is only required to replace the mechanicals. That is not linked to the parking spaces which is a separate easement that expires next year. If providing 300 spaces was a deal breaker the HT residents are SOL.
 

Johnnyrocket891

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These issues are lunacy-
#1 Affordability- is not builder's problem. Do you even want to go there on those issues?
#2 Traffic- This problem is the entire surrounding city of Boston. If anything the development being developed in the core of the city right on the blue line MBTA transit will help decrease traffic.
#3 Blueway Park-- Is not the Developer's responsibility.
#4 Wind/Traffic/shadows? Was there regulations against Seaport construction, Winthrop Garage, Congress St. and the rest of Boston?
#5 Equity? WTF

I don't think the developer will have a problem finding an anchor tenant for this spot in the future or renting out the units.

I don't see much being built in the future but I could see the city step up and offer the Builder a very generous tax abatement to get this project started to boost the economy and finally create something positive for the Greenway and the waterfront in the this area.

The demolition of this garage is long overdue.
 

chrisbrat

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"finally create something positive for the Greenway and the waterfront in the this area." are you serious? have you been to the greenway? did you grow up here? yeah -- if only "something positive" could happen with the greenway. whatever it is you're on, please share it.
 

stellarfun

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No offense stellar, but your assessment of Don's ability to make money and reality are often far, far off for reasons you've never disclosed.

I will nitpick one thing however. Chiofaro is only required to replace the mechanicals. That is not linked to the parking spaces which is a separate easement that expires next year. If providing 300 spaces was a deal breaker the HT residents are SOL.
He is not required to replace the mechanicals. Replacing any mechanicals in the garage is the responsibility of HT. If Chiofaro doesn't want the mechanicals in the garage, he has to relocate them to a site outside the garage property. Doing so would extinguish the easement possessed by HT residents. HT residents would have to agree with any such relocation. <<< This is the card that HT residents hold.

If Chiofaro wants the Pinnacle site to continue to host the HT mechanicals, then the card disappears.
As to why the mechanicals were put in the garage in the first place, I think you probably have to look at the HT site.
_________________________
The owner of the Harbor Garage in the filings for Pinnacle is the Rams Head Development Company,

If you look up the address for Rams Head listed in the MA filing, you will learn that it is the offices for PGIM real estate, an investment arm of Prudential.

Rams Head (Prudential) has deeper pockets than Don, but from my limited experience with PGIM -- one project near me which they bought and subsequently sold -- they are prudent investors.
 

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