Suffolk Downs Redevelopment | East Boston

jklo

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Small, yet dense, human-scale developments headed by separate developers in an organic manner and pace is more suitable. Would you want to live in this neighborhood, as currently designed? I'd pass.
I think that's the point, to use Suffolk Downs to jumpstart the area in terms of density. It's close enough in that it should be much denser and taller.
 

Rover

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I have an opinion which I am entitled to. I go out of my way to actually attempt to defend my opinions, which most people seem too lazy to bother doing. You have an opinion that doesn't match my opinion. Guess what, just like me, YOU ARE JUST ONE PERSON. So the world doesn't revolve around you either, and you don't speak for everybody else! You are allowed to present your opinion, just like I am! Each individual is allowed to agree or disagree with these opinions! So if you want to counter my opinion, go ahead. But resorting to direct personal attacks like this just means you're the one being a dick. Aside from (logically) pointing that out, I refuse to stoop to your level.
I'm not personally attacking you. But you do seem to be combining an extreme position (based on disagreements from other posters) with a martyr complex ("nobody understands"). We understand, we just completely disagree on keeping this site empty for 30 years. That's the worst solution, not the best once. You aren't a marked man because of it but its an opinion that's going to generate strong pushback because its pretty far out there whatever your reasons for it may be.
 

stellarfun

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I think that's the point, to use Suffolk Downs to jumpstart the area in terms of density. It's close enough in that it should be much denser and taller.
The scars of Pruitt Igoe and Cabrini Green and their kin cut very deep in the psyche of developers and city planners, and have never healed. Essentially, these projects -- with 3,000, 4,000 units in tall buildings proximate to each other -- were warehousing people who had no ownership stake. Once poverty, unemployment, and crime became their defining features, the residents wanted to live anywhere but.

Using a primitive housing affordability calculator on money.com, and using $150,000 as my annual income, and making a down payment of $50,000, the calculator said I could afford a condo/house selling for $822,000.

The median household income in Boston in 2017-18 was $67,000. As the value for Boston is probably skewed by the large student population, for comparison, the median household income for Brookline is $111,000; for Quincy, $72,000. Again using the calculator, if my annual income is $72,000, and I put $20,000 down, I can afford a condo selling for $420,000.

The chart on the link below gives the range of condo prices by square foot by Boston neighborhood in May 2019.

For the Financial District, which I would equate with 'downtown' (and where a poster has proposed building tall, residential towers), the price range is nearly $900 a square foot to $1,775 a square foot. If I was making $150,000, and put $50,000 down, I couldn't afford a 1,000 sq ft condo at the very lowest end of the price range in 'downtown'.
 

jklo

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Again using the calculator, if my annual income is $72,000, and I put $20,000 down, I can afford a condo selling for $420,000.
What? No. The Bank would probably lend you that much because they don't GAF (and would just sell your mortagage to one of those mortgage backed securities companies that get into people's 401ks) but that would be like, gosh, 80% of your take home.
 

chmeeee

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Not developing this with thousands of units of density would be a serious loss for the region. Any place where we can find rapid transit accessible parcels should have as much housing as possible to help catch up with the housing crisis. It can't all be downtown because that will never be affordable. You could build 20 500 footers downtown and most of us still wouldn't be able to afford it. Suffolk Downs has a fighting chance at being decently priced transit accessible housing due to the otherwise less than ideal location.

Is the architecture fantastic? Of course not, but not everything has to be a damn masterpiece. Given that most of us rarely if ever have a reason to go by here, why do you care so much?
 

DZH22

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Given that most of us rarely if ever have a reason to go by here, why do you care so much?
Why is my argument so difficult to understand? With a finite amount of resources available for lending and construction (particular construction workers), everything that gets built here is a potential opportunity cost that permanently shelves more exciting projects downtown. We have seen plenty of it with the Seaport, which continues on unabated while many of the downtown 400'+ projects have stalled and/or been cancelled. Also, I see this as an even WORSE (and less accessible because Blue Line is terrible) Seaport, with even stumpier (yet still overwhelming) architecture, so it's a ton of space with unappealing designs that will further set back development in areas I'm more excited about. (ie taller developments closer to downtown) You can agree or disagree with me, but the lack of reading comprehension among many posters here is baffling.

Yes. This 100%. Whether or not you agree or disagree, I'm stating my points in pretty plain English!
 

George_Apley

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I'm just saying that I would like to see it languish for... a long time. I'm not saying it's going to happen that way or that I know of any specific means to make that happen. However, in my perfect world, the lack of development in areas such as this would spur a greater sense of urgency to speed up development in the core.
I get what you're saying. I'm just trying to pop this "perfect world" imagery. If all the empty parcels around the city were consolidated by a master developer and/or the government had dictatorial control over scope and sequence of development then your complaints would make sense; but since it doesn't, you're coming across as the guy who soapboxes in front of Park Street Station.

I know you know this, but we don't live in a sandbox. We can't just wipe the slate clean to install whatever [development, political system, transportation infrastructure, etc.] we want. File this into "change and progress is frustrated by existing conditions" and start thinking more pragmatically.
 

HenryAlan

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Why is my argument so difficult to understand? With a finite amount of resources available for lending and construction (particular construction workers), everything that gets built here is a potential opportunity cost that permanently shelves more exciting projects downtown. We have seen plenty of it with the Seaport, which continues on unabated while many of the downtown 400'+ projects have stalled and/or been cancelled. Also, I see this as an even WORSE (and less accessible because Blue Line is terrible) Seaport, with even stumpier (yet still overwhelming) architecture, so it's a ton of space with unappealing designs that will further set back development in areas I'm more excited about. (ie taller developments closer to downtown) You can agree or disagree with me, but the lack of reading comprehension among many posters here is baffling.



Yes. This 100%. Whether or not you agree or disagree, I'm stating my points in pretty plain English!
Yes, everybody gets your argument, we don't agree that it's a problem. To wit, you think all construction resources should be focused on building downtown towers until there is no longer a single suitable parcel for such construction. You blame any non downtown tower based construction for crowding out resources that could otherwise go toward building downtown towers. Yes, we get it. Fortunately, that's not how markets work. Resources move to where the greatest demand exists for that resource. For a time, that might have been downtown towers, but now the market is shifting to more down to Earth housing in outlying areas. That's seen as a good thing for most people, sorry that the aesthetics of housing more people affordably doesn't match your goals for Boston.

As for the Blue Line, prove that it sucks. It is underutilized compared to Orange and Red and has capacity for more ridership. Posting an article about a singular event causing disruptions does not make the case.
 

jdrinboston

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As for the Blue Line, prove that it sucks. It is underutilized compared to Orange and Red and has capacity for more ridership. Posting an article about a singular event causing disruptions does not make the case.
FWIW...I commute nearly daily on the Blue Line from downtown to Orient Heights. It is - by far - the most predictable and pleasant portion of my commute and often times, my work day.
 

KentXie

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Personally, I don't think Suffolk Down needs any amazing architecture (and if you all know me, that is a rarity for me to say that). Why? Because this is not the core. This is a perfect place to mass build some affordable housing, something the Boston market has almost COMPLETELY ignored, spurning it for glitzy towers in downtown and Back Bay, niche non-family friendly housing in Seaport, and high-priced low-rise condos scattered around elsewhere. That should be what goes into this area.
 

whighlander

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I hope nothing gets built here for at least 20 more years. I don't think they have thought this through very well. (in particular, traffic/congestion) Also, we already have plenty of uninspiring schlock sucking away demand from the big projects downtown, particularly in the Seaport and North Point areas. I'd rather see more height and density closer to downtown than building yet ANOTHER dull "neighborhood" from sc
Eastie is harder to get to from Boston proper than Cambridge, but only when it comes to walking or cycling. It's very easy to get there by car or Blue Line and is a neighborhood well worth exploring. The largest obstacle is where it resides in our mind space. Everybody thinks of going to Cambridge, people forget that East Boston is there, aside from the airport. And to step out of a narrowly focused, Boston-centric thought process, East Boston is more accessible than Cambridge if you are coming from the North Shore (and a lot of people live up there).
ratch.
DZH -- You do of course realize that building a tower is much more expensive than building a bunch of ordinary [call them mid-rise] structures -- particularly where a tower needs fancy foundation work [such as much of Boston]. Even more so the ordinary structures can be mostly constructed of wood up to about a 6 to 8 story structure [typically with a concrete level 2 and concrete towers for emergency stairs. If you look at what has been built on Cambridge Park Drive and Rt-2 near to Alewife in the past 5 years you will see this in action. It can be dense and as Urban as you want. A thousand of such buildings on a few dozen streets would do wonders to create a new neighborhood in place of the old Horse Barns, etc. of Suffolk Downs. It just needs a name
 

DZH22

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If you look at what has been built on Cambridge Park Drive and Rt-2 near to Alewife in the past 5 years you will see this in action. It can be dense and as Urban as you want......
I work in this area. The "neighborhood" if you want to call it that is disjointed, ugly, uninspiring, and a traffic disaster of biblical proportions. I can't think of anything more dull or deadening than the typical, inward-oriented 5 over 1's. I might as well move to Mississauga and then blow my brains out after 6 months if the Alewife model is Boston's future. It makes terrible look good.
 

odurandina

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In Boston the religion has been to clear and develop humongous parcels of land as rapidly as possible,
and set zoning that usually never (or barely) allows increased density over time. PRU, West End, NY Streets DOWNTOWN.... It's like this all over the City. One possible reason? A vacant lot is too easy to make into a park (how obnoxious). Hmm, maybe if we built taller, we could have a few more of those! We HAD to develop the New York Streets in 5 years at 140 feet, instead of putting a 300' highrise row--and casting a nice row of shadows over freeway tarmac (oh, not that).
This endless sprawl planning sucks.
 

jklo

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Personally, I don't think Suffolk Down needs any amazing architecture (and if you all know me, that is a rarity for me to say that). Why? Because this is not the core. This is a perfect place to mass build some affordable housing, something the Boston market has almost COMPLETELY ignored, spurning it for glitzy towers in downtown and Back Bay, niche non-family friendly housing in Seaport, and high-priced low-rise condos scattered around elsewhere. That should be what goes into this area.
You can't though. Even the crappiest quality building projects costs like 500k a unit to build. That's why everything is "Luxury", it has to be that way.
 

George_Apley

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In Boston the religion has been to clear and develop humongous parcels of land as rapidly as possible,
and set zoning that usually never (or barely) allows increased density over time. PRU, West End, NY Streets DOWNTOWN.... It's like this all over the City. One possible reason? A vacant lot is too easy to make into a park (how obnoxious). Hmm, maybe if we built taller, we could have a few more of those! We HAD to develop the New York Streets in 5 years at 140 feet, instead of putting a 300' highrise row--and casting a nice row of shadows over freeway tarmac (oh, not that).
This endless sprawl planning sucks.
I don't know what you're talking about with this "religion" comment. That isn't how development works. It's not as though the city/state directed developers to "rapidly" develop the Herald site and adjacent areas. Developers proposed builds and the city approved them. We all know you'd love to be the omniscient SimCity development god, but that's just not reality.
 

HenryAlan

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FWIW...I commute nearly daily on the Blue Line from downtown to Orient Heights. It is - by far - the most predictable and pleasant portion of my commute and often times, my work day.
I work in the South End, but have fairly frequent meetings in East Boston. I always find the Blue Line to be very reliable on the days when I head over that way.
 

whighlander

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I work in this area. The "neighborhood" if you want to call it that is disjointed, ugly, uninspiring, and a traffic disaster of biblical proportions. I can't think of anything more dull or deadening than the typical, inward-oriented 5 over 1's. I might as well move to Mississauga and then blow my brains out after 6 months if the Alewife model is Boston's future. It makes terrible look good.
DZH -- Once again you missed my point -- It's not that I'm enamored by the architecture or even the "City Planning" exhibited by Alewife -- No -- my point was it is most feasible to construct densely these days using Alewife-scale construction

Each era and each place develops based on many factors -- today the modus and operandi for relatively dense urban development is to build mostly out of wood with concrete for stability and safety -- Alewife is a perfect example of the method of construction --- In a matter of months a cluster of buildings arose along Rt-2 capable of housing approximately 2 to 3 times the number of people who could be housed in 3 deckers without the cost or need of building tall towers

Suffolk Village could be constructed in a similar manner -- mostly wood mostly 5 to 8 floors with concrete for safety and stability -- obviously fire-resistant construction. Closely spaced on relatively narrow lots on a pseudo-grid of streets with some parkland and a few office and taller mixed-use buildings at the major intersections - 2 Blue Line and some access to Electric Rail [aka CR] foot and bike path to Logan and the harbor -- a fine new neighborhood
 

JeffDowntown

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DZH -- Once again you missed my point -- It's not that I'm enamored by the architecture or even the "City Planning" exhibited by Alewife -- No -- my point was it is most feasible to construct densely these days using Alewife-scale construction

Each era and each place develops based on many factors -- today the modus and operandi for relatively dense urban development is to build mostly out of wood with concrete for stability and safety -- Alewife is a perfect example of the method of construction --- In a matter of months a cluster of buildings arose along Rt-2 capable of housing approximately 2 to 3 times the number of people who could be housed in 3 deckers without the cost or need of building tall towers

Suffolk Village could be constructed in a similar manner -- mostly wood mostly 5 to 8 floors with concrete for safety and stability -- obviously fire-resistant construction. Closely spaced on relatively narrow lots on a pseudo-grid of streets with some parkland and a few office and taller mixed-use buildings at the major intersections - 2 Blue Line and some access to Electric Rail [aka CR] foot and bike path to Logan and the harbor -- a fine new neighborhood
Isn't 5 over 1 the maximum you can go per fire code in Massachusetts? 5 wood over 1 steel/concrete floor. I guess you could add more steel/concrete floors to the base, but they add cost per sq. foot.

I think 5 over 1 is considered the most cost effective, moderate density construction technique available for residential (for this cycle). Hence we are seeing a lot of it! (Even in places that are not height restricted to the 6 floors).
 

odurandina

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Sim City my ass.
Massachusetts will never solve its housing crisis building the way it does.
 

George_Apley

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That is a totally separate point from the one you made above. You gotta get better at consistency and responding to what people say.
 

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