South Station Tower | South Station | Downtown

BostonBoy

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As far as archeology , the site is on fill . The original shoreline was where the old Essex Hotel stands ,across the street. I do know there was extensive drilling to test the soil under the station tracks when they were re configured, because I was there for it. I do not remember any archeologists on site.
 

whighlander

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I think everyone (including myself) vastly underestimated the foundation work required for the tower. I guessed it would be using the existing but with heavy modifications. Looking at the video it looks like it's going to be almost completely new foundations, and foundation work is not quick work on the best sites. Never mind being this close to the water, constricted site, and vibration of trains & traffic nearby.

I'd also wager that there will be some decent archaeological finds on this site.



The red ones are new foundations for the tower. In the video, when it rotates from the waiting area side to the Atlantic Ave view, you can see the red foundations extending into the ground, which would indicate them being new. This is also likely the reason certain platforms are getting shortened and the construction area is laid out the way it is.
bobthebuilder -- I think you covered it all
my only exception would be the archaeological part -- there might be some old cans of spam or something which the folks building South Station about 120 years ago left behind -- but not likely much of significance -- the site prior to South Station was mud flats which were filled when the South Station was constructed circa 1897-1898

images from Boston Atheneum Collection originally by the Boston Terminal Company [owner / builder of South Station]

054- Excavating for Sheet Piling on Summer Street. In the South Station Collection [Boston Atheneum] 1897


062- [General View of the Work – from the intersection of Summer Street and Atlantic Avenue]. In the South Station Collection. [Boston Atheneum] 1897


087- [Section of Subterranean Areas and Footings]. In the South Station Collection.[Boston Atheneum] 1898



circa 1898


circa 1904
 

tysmith95

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2.5 more years until the tower starts. There's Boston in a nutshell. To think, everybody here expected no more than like 6-12 months of prep time due to the "foundations already being done" and yet it's pretty much the longest wait yet!

As much as I love this stuff, being a skyscraper fan in Boston is an unbelievably frustrating hobby. Everything takes years longer than it should, and "years" is a pretty long ****ing time to be waiting around.
An even more frustrating hobby, waiting for transit improvements.
 

Equilibria

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An even more frustrating hobby, waiting for transit improvements.
Where is it not frustrating? Dubai? China? Places where they build quick and dirty, their buildings catch fire, and their workers die?
 

tysmith95

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Where is it not frustrating? Dubai? China? Places where they build quick and dirty, their buildings catch fire, and their workers die?
There are other parts of the country, Seattle comes to mind, that are much better.

I apologize for getting off topic.
 

Equilibria

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There are other parts of the country, Seattle comes to mind, that are much better.

I apologize for getting off topic.
Better how? Is there data online that tracks "mean days from the time a skyscraper's site is fenced off to the time a flag is carried to the top"?

I can imagine several reasons for this taking a long time, not least of which is the need to minimize disruption of the active train platforms below. Another is the need to complete a fairly complex build of the bus station before you even start the tower (which may have been an MBTA demand).
 
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bobthebuilder

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As far as archeology , the site is on fill . The original shoreline was where the old Essex Hotel stands ,across the street. I do know there was extensive drilling to test the soil under the station tracks when they were re configured, because I was there for it. I do not remember any archeologists on site.

Hey, you never know! There could be another ship there.
 

tocoto

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It sounds like they have to put in pilings similar to those at Winthrop square with all the muck. There won't be an underground parking structure so less work overall, but it is hard to imagine how they do this without a giant muddy pit and lots of big machine right in the middle of South Station. It appears they must take down at least part of the canopy between the station and the shelters along the tracks.

It's likely this will be messy and inconvenient to commuters for a long while.
 

Java King

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I remember about the time I moved to Boston in 1987 that South Station was a huge construction site. The first train I ever took to New York City departed from a station that was a temporary metal trailer if I remember correctly. My roommates at the time were from Spain, and they couldn't believe how awful temporary South Station was. Anyway, it was worth the construction mess to have a beautiful entrance to the city, used by millions of people each year. I still find it a HUGE thrill to get on the train in quiet Greenbush/Scituate and depart amongst the buzz of South Station with all the activity. I'm sure the end product will be worth the wait and improve the overall pedestrian experience. I'm not totally wild about those arches we see in the renderings, but I'm hoping that space turns out as a place you want to be for a while. I generally enjoy the activity at South Station concourse and I always walk around a bit before and after taking a train there. So I'm hoping the covered platforms, arched concourse, and existing waiting area meld together as one of the great public areas for Boston. It should be equivalent to a Grand Central experience, but I'll be happy if it's half that good.
 

odurandina

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I still find it a HUGE thrill to get on the train in quiet Greenbush/Scituate and depart amongst the buzz of South Station with all the activity. I'm sure the end product will be worth the wait and improve the overall pedestrian experience. I'm not totally wild about those arches we see in the renderings, but I'm hoping that space turns out as a place you want to be for a while.
I generally enjoy the activity at South Station concourse and I always walk around a bit before and after taking a train there. So I'm hoping the covered platforms, arched concourse, and existing waiting area meld together as one of the great public areas for Boston. It should be equivalent to a Grand Central experience, but I'll be happy if it's half that good.
That is a perfect summary of my feelings about this project, and all the points you've made.
 

chrisbrat

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I think this is going to turn out very nicely and will be worth the inconvenience associated with this upgrade. It may not wind up "equivalent to a Grand Central experience," as you put it, but it'll be a damn sight closer to THAT than to a "Penn Statiion experience." This is a necessary project and will have positive impact for decades to come post-construction.
 

Bos77

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There are other parts of the country, Seattle comes to mind, that are much better.

I apologize for getting off topic.
Lolz... Don't be fooled into thinking that an abnormal number of tower cranes in the sky means Seattle is "better".

Have some fun here looking at projects that haven't moved in inch in years: https://www.seattleinprogress.com/ There is also a giant hole in the ground, a la Filenes, from 2005. It sits right across from City Hall, and they still can't get it developed.

Transit planning is almost a joke... First Avenue Streetcar debacle, light rail to Ballard, Tacoma, and Everett "coming soon" in 2035-55!? Don't even get me going on voter approved Initiative 976, which takes away funding for said projects.

The Seattle "Process" is so fk'd up, it has its own wiki entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle_process

Okay, end Seattle rant, back to SST.
 
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chrisbrat

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appreciate the detailed and knowledgable perspective on seattle. info like the above provides a welcome counterpoint to all the "boston sucks, everything moves slowly and all the buildings are 'fat turds;' every other big city does everything so much better!" nonsense that pollutes this forum all too often.
 

Coyote137

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South Station air rights open house meeting - Wednesday, 1/22/20, 290 Congress St (Atlantic Wharf), 2nd Floor (BSA Space, Fort Point Room)

Edit to add that the time for this meeting will be 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
 
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whighlander

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That is a perfect summary of my feelings about this project, and all the points you've made.
Odurandina -- I suspect that the architecture folks must have looked at the old photos of South Station when it had the HUGE Train Shed and was not only the worlds busiest but also the Worlds largest Railroad Station



This will bring back a bit of that feeling -- all of the train platforms while still outside -- will be under either the tower elevated lobby or bus station -- so the days of standing in blowing snow while trying to board will be over
 

citydweller

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It amazes me that such buildings in the previous post, the train shed for example, was even possible given what they had to work with at the time, i.e. primitive construction equipment, paper-pencil design tools, etc For instance, how did they erect those massive trusses?
 

RandomWalk

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Some of the earlier posts show photos with the false work and derricks to construct the shed.
 

whighlander

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Some of the earlier posts show photos with the false work and derricks to construct the shed.
Random --
here are two more from early to middle age of South Station with the shed in place
1579300752364.jpeg

interior of waiting room showing some of the original ceiling and floor

All photos below taken by Leslie Jones 1929/1930 -- [Lesley Jones archive @ BPL]


Bird's eye view of South Station from the top of the United Shoe Machinery Building -- taken by Leslie Jones 1929 -- [Lesley Jones archive @ BPL]

Even more interesting are the photos of the removal of the shed -- That happened quite early in the history of South Station when it was still very very busy -- Nothing to do about Lungs -- All about corrosion of the structure due to the proximity to the salt water environment


Demolition circa 1930

After the demo of the Train Shed was completed


Remarkably Busy South Station circa WWII -- Note the original photo removed as it apparently shows GI's at behind North Station not South Station as the caption indicated

the station handled 125,000 passengers each day during World War II
translating into over 45M in 1945
this broke the 38 Million 1913 record [when South Station was declared the busiest station in the world] and it is still more than the current maximum of passengers which have passed through Logan in one year.
 

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