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

odurandina

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Pardon all. We're seeing the design vs a (once in 2 generations) opportunity incites much emotion and passion! i thought there were so many great points/counter points made, and then the discussion get disproportionately sideways. i cringe at the notion this could be a polarizing design.

They've addressed resiliency.
This is a serious PNF, about 550 pages longer than the ENF filed for the first design.
________________
re: the 2014 iteration. It was a non-starter because it failed to meet Chapter 91.
--and pissed off the neighbors.

Maybe this was designed by the KPF team that did Hudson Yards and looked past 30 Hudson Yards to the SOM-designed Equinox Hotel next door. It has very similar setbacks. It looks like a limestone-type cladding, I like it a lot. At least it is not another glass box.

Given that Walsh is the mayor, do we think this has a chance of being approved?
104% "We're building skyscrapers..." In what city do neighbors living in highrises have veto power
over other highrises?


Sounds like someone lives in the Harbor Towers....
That might be the worst thing you can say about someone in Boston.
Let's not do this.


Chunky, hulking, awful proportions, imposing, does nothing to improve access to the waterfront, looks air-lifted out of South Florida. Keep the garage and let's wait until the next real estate cycle. This thing is a monstrosity .....an ugly building with very few redeeming qualities. 2014 proposal was very nice, this one is not. Boston can afford to be picky and wait for a design that's worthy of this site.
Swing and a big miss, it's almost comical how leading firms seem to just phone in their Boston designs. They must anticipate the conventional, provincial mindset here and respond accordingly—
....an obese throwback 1920s NY tower with setbacks on steroids.

We sure do get the cheap knockoffs of things done so amazingly well elsewhere. The Original (>800' w/ spire) SST design could have been our 181 Fremont. They weren't able to program anything whatsoever into either of the Hub Towers.
 

odurandina

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Agreed. A lot of mediocrity. We need people to think outside the box the way they do in NYC.
I love how this will be lit up at night. Love the crown. Boston desperately needs more of this.
Mike02125" said:
creative people are more creative when boxed in. Give an artist 128 colors and they can do a lot, but limit them to 4 and see what they come up with. It changes how the mind works and our very approach to creativity.....
We are always inside a box -- what is the solution given those constraints? Clearly great answers can come from such a process, and I think you are right that such a result is seen in this building.
I agree this isn't very "outside the box" compared to NYC's towers, but it's still a good looking building. I also wouldn't call this phoning it in, I'd call it working within strict parameters. This property needs to max out its square footage due to the a large purchase price, and can only go as high as 600 ft due to Logan Airport; it also has strict open space requirements. ....[which] will result in a bulky building.
This is an ugly building with very few redeeming qualities. 2014 proposal was very nice, this one is not. Boston can afford to be picky and wait for a design that's worthy of this site.
No, it can't. ....Waiting another decade or more based on your personal whims means kissing off tens of millions of dollars that could be going to schools, affordable housing, police, etc - you know, the things that make a city livable. Given the constraints on the site (height, open space, square footage) imposed by the city/state/etc this is about as good as we're going to get....

It's already been 14 years since Don Chiofaro first proposed developing Central Wharf.


I don't mind the design... I had very low expectations. When developers get painted into boxes like this one, there's almost no chance you're going to end up with a good design.
True ...the next cycle will not and cannot generate a building notably different in proportions. The proportions are locked in by state law. There will be no slender glass spire here, ever.
NECN/BBJ video segment from 2018;




genuinely baffled at any dislike for this design. i know that tastes differ and everyone's got opinions, but this seems to me to be if not a home run than at least quite a solid base-hit. i guess i'd also add in to the conversation that at the time of their construction, both JHT and international place had tons of haters based on design and how they did (or didn't) interact/play well with their environment. i think time has shown, in both instances, that knee-jerk "anti-ism" was both way overblown and almost entirely to do with something -- anything -- prominent and tall being where before there had been nothing.

So many great points made! i thought they deserved aggregation.

We're now 40 months since the accord was struck with the Aquarium. The unveiling and PNF demonstrates a carefully thought out, complex, problem-solving oriented design. Considering the cost to produce--it must have had a lot of input and feedback from the BPDA (and possibly Mayor Walsh) along the way.

i also think this could be a building that, while being fat, may look surprisingly good, and taller when we finally get to see it at full scale--vs other tall buildings, such as Dewey Square, 1 Lincoln, and 111 Huntington that fail at it so badly.

Can we (please) get back to the topic of the development at Central Wharf? i'm curious to hear what people (who hate the new design proposal) suggest Don Chiofaro do to fix the single tower to be able to accomplish the goals and complex challenges of the new Chapter 91 MHP--planners haven't already done.
 
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a_tortoise

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Ugh. What a mess. It screams “Our big fat Bostonian wedding cake”. The base articulation of the scheme is hopelessly out of scale, looks like a hangnail, and does nothing to activate the Greenway or the waterfront. This is a big step backwards for the skyline.
06E5BF02-E912-4401-A7A8-171ADF3A3113.jpeg
 

whighlander

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Interesting interview with DonJr on NECN

He said -- it needs to be about 1M sq ft to make the finances work out or as Da Don would say da-numbas
It could be taller and thinner -- But given the state Chapt 91 and the Boston Municipal Harbor Plan -- cutting it off at 600 ft and limiting the shaddows on Long Wharf

You have two choices -- as it is -- or shorter and fatter

This way you get more openness above for the background skyline and more public land for the Blueway
[and it still makes-da-numbas]*1

*1 he didn't say that
 

stellarfun

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If Don Jr. did indeed say they need one million gsf to make the finances work, they ain't gong to get there.. The city has limited RHDC (Rams Head Development Co. LLC, Madison NJ) the owner to 900,000 GSF, the PNF states that the building will be 865,000 gsf.
 

whighlander

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If Don Jr. did indeed say they need one million gsf to make the finances work, they ain't gong to get there.. The city has limited RHDC (Rams Head Development Co. LLC, Madison NJ) the owner to 900,000 GSF, the PNF states that the building will be 865,000 gsf.
stellar -- my recapitulation of the interview -- perhaps he said about or almost -- in any event "865, 900 1000 k sq ft -- pretty soon you are talking a major structure" to paraphrase Ev Dirken about the Federal Budget circa 1970's
 

odurandina

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i assume he stated that with an asterisk:
re; the extreme revenue design tower--which we have before us.
 
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Rover

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I see our role as outsiders a little differently than some posters. Its akin to a quote I read about a dozen years or so ago from a Senator who supported a Supreme Court pick from a President in the opposite party. Something like "its not my job to only vote for someone who I would have picked personally. My job is evaluate if the person who was chosen is qualified for the role".

Likewise, I don't feel its our duty to oppose any building that's not something that we would have designed ourselves if given the chance. Our job as taxpaying citizens of the state is twofold. 1) Is the building an improvement over what's currently there, and 2) is there a public good associated with the project. So by this criteria you wouldn't level the Custom House tower in order to build the One Beacon St. building.

Check and check on this one. Its a freakin' garage, people. On the 2nd point it opens up a better view of the harbor, improves the area around the harbor, and generates a lot more tax income for the city. Not really sure what people are complaining about unless they're Harbor Tower residents or CLF grifters.
 

goody

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Likewise, I don't feel its our duty to oppose any building that's not something that we would have designed ourselves if given the chance. Our job as taxpaying citizens of the state is twofold. 1) Is the building an improvement over what's currently there, and 2) is there a public good associated with the project. So by this criteria you wouldn't level the Custom House tower in order to build the One Beacon St. building.
I generally agree with this thought though I do think it is worth fleshing out the complexities a bit, and I think you imply this, but really your two points are a high level net assessments. That is, [1] 'is it an improvement over what is there' and [2] 'does it create a public good' should summarize the net benefits or costs of many subcategories that need to be assessed.

Nearly any project creates a public good, but it will also create negative externalities which need to assessed in relation to the amount of good it creates, dare I say shadows, wind, and traffic but hey they are real considerations. The improvement piece is equally complex, perhaps not in this case as the garage is awful, but generally design is subjective and creating an improvement could mean anything.

I would also suggest that the opportunity cost of a site should also be considered, particularly in context of larger planning and in locations important to communities. That is to say, just because it is meets the standard of both being a net improvement and creating a public good does not mean that is should move forward in a site that aught to also address A, B, and C as planned for or long desired by the community. Worth noting of course that you cant hold out for pipe-dreams or let a minority of dissenters impeded on progress but opportunity costs should be weighted too.
 
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odurandina

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This is the same aB board that was generally supportive of the garbage at 1 Bromfield (30ish stories circa 2008) and (gulp) the original proposal, collapsing, and ultimately blessing us with MT.
It would be an insult to discuss the transformative proposal Chiofaro has unveiled in any context vs the crud-rubbish (proposed in DTX) a decade ago.

Columbus Center, wasn't extremely good. It was in fact, quite goofy--but in a nerdy/dated kind of way, that i happen like. Renders suggested a few clashing, tones.
But, in the way, Rover describes, i wish we could beam the proposal for Columbus Center up to the site right now--and stick it there for all eternity--not just for the taxes, but because the 750 units, 250 hotel spaces and that nice park isn't sitting up there (now) -- connecting 3 iconic neighborhoods, improving Boston and the quality of life for hundreds of people.
 
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Rover

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When I think if the public good the most notable detriment to that idea is tax subsidies. That's come up recently with both the Worcester ballpark as well as the convention center expansion. While in those cases the first criteria is met as its empty space being built on, one can disagree as to whether or not a public good is being served.
 

Equilibria

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When I think if the public good the most notable detriment to that idea is tax subsidies. That's come up recently with both the Worcester ballpark as well as the convention center expansion. While in those cases the first criteria is met as its empty space being built on, one can disagree as to whether or not a public good is being served.
Okay, but is Chiofaro asking for tax subsidies? It's his land (through some machinations IIRC) and he wants to build on it. He'll find financing to do so. He'll pay property tax.

The Government involvement here is regulatory. Chifoaro imposed on the Commonwealth's waterfront planning process to raise the height limit for his site (and only his site) to 600'. This height limit is nonsensical and random, it serves no public good except for some people's aesthetic opinion that buildings on the water should be short, and it has already been sued from the other side by a corrupt CLF that has spent the last 5 years absurdly claiming that projects building wide sections of Harborwalk where none existed before somehow "impede public access".

That's a lot of intervention, but I don't think he's claiming any sort of subsidy.
 

Rover

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Okay, but is Chiofaro asking for tax subsidies? It's his land (through some machinations IIRC) and he wants to build on it. He'll find financing to do so. He'll pay property tax.

The Government involvement here is regulatory. Chifoaro imposed on the Commonwealth's waterfront planning process to raise the height limit for his site (and only his site) to 600'. This height limit is nonsensical and random, it serves no public good except for some people's aesthetic opinion that buildings on the water should be short, and it has already been sued from the other side by a corrupt CLF that has spent the last 5 years absurdly claiming that projects building wide sections of Harborwalk where none existed before somehow "impede public access".

That's a lot of intervention, but I don't think he's claiming any sort of subsidy.
No not at all, and I wasn't implying that he was. In fact I think we should cut Chiofaro some slack given the restraints and complexities of the site, plus the additional fact that he's making money on the garage as is and could just sit on it until its no longer structurally sound which may take decades. What he's proposing is better than anything I personally would have expected and I also think its important to get this built while he still has a stake in it.

Often stellarfan posts about how Prudential is about the foreclose on Don and take over. Lets say that's true for a moment. Does anybody think a nameless, faceless, out of state corporation is going to play footsie with NIMBY's and the city as long as Chiofaro has? More likely they run to business friendly federal court immediately and sue to build on the entire site up to FAA height limits under the reasoning that if the IMAX is allowed to block the harbor view, so can they. With unlimited pockets and time they could drag this out for years. Then you'll really get a soulless box designed to maximize profits. Or a garage....
 

odurandina

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Okay, but is Chiofaro asking for tax subsidies? It's his land (through some machinations IIRC) and he wants to build on it. He'll find financing to do so. He'll pay property tax.

The Government involvement here is regulatory. Chifoaro imposed on the Commonwealth's waterfront planning process to raise the height limit for his site (and only his site) to 600'. This height limit is nonsensical and random, it serves no public good....
Don went for 692'. The FAA determination was 605'

Don should ask the City for those 5 more feet for an extra bright and gaudy pinnacle
for the HT residents to admire.
 
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stellarfun

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Don went for 692'. The FAA determination was 605'

Don should ask the City for those 5 more feet for an extra bright and gaudy pinnacle
for the HT residents to admire.
The city of Boston did the shadow studies for this project, and IIRC, the city determined that 600 feet near the SW corner of the site was as high as a building could go without casting a new shadow on Long Wharf on October 31.

The Commonwealth, in applying relief from Chapter 91 requirements, had decreed the no new shadow on Long Wharf on October 31 specification. With that as the standard to be met, the city then did the shadow studies. RHDC's PNF to the city did not include any shadow studies of their own; presumably these will be included in the ENF filed with the Commonwealth. RHDC's shadow studies should show whether the present concept design conforms to the Commonwealth's Chapter 91 specification

Looking at the top in the current design, it seems more likely that part of the top would get a shave rather than a gaudy pinnacle. I say that because the city said 600 feet in the SW corner, and taking their word at face value, that suggests that 600 feet in the NE corner would cast a prohibited shadow.
 

HenryAlan

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I found this to be pretty funny. This was within my instagram (sorry to say) advertisements. I must have shown an interest in this project...View attachment 3261View attachment 3262
A similar ad showed up in my Facebook feed, complete with a bunch of commenters complaining that it was too tall, too restrictive to harbor access, etc. I take it on faith that they all live in the harbor towers.
 

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