The Alcott (née Garden Garage Towers) | 35 Lomasney Way | West End

type001

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[type001 raised several concerns about interpersonal and topicality issues which, for now I think should be addressed in direct messages between forum members or with the help of moderators. I have asked other participants here to refocus there remarks. Thanks! ] - Arlington
 
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odurandina

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Resignation Letter

The heroism of one IAG member's defiance of the Men & Women In Black responsible for this project must never be forgotten.....


Dear Mayor Walsh:

Please accept this communication as my formal resignation from the Impact Advisory Group for the above proposed project. I have attempted several times through various channels to meet with you at your convenience to explain why I am taking this step, but have not had any success.

I do this with no small amount of disappointment and sadness about how this proposal and BRA review has unfolded. In the capacity of an “advisor” selected to give input/feedback to the BRA and developer, I thought what I and my fellow IAG members (and indeed my neighbors) had to say was important enough to be truly considered, with a positive result for all. I was happy to spend the hours and hours needed over the past five years to achieve this goal. Instead, here is what we have endured:

A 2011 PNF in which we received a proposed design so out of synch with our neighborhood and its Urban Renewal Plan that it needed significant zoning relief to even be considered. I guess this is the way most of these things start out — the developer presents more than they actually want to build and then pretend to shave it down for the supposed benefit of the neighborhood.

Shortly after, we were shown several alternatives by the developer, Equity Residential, that were again so out of scale that each required significant zoning relief. And none of the alternatives substantially even considered IAG input and hundreds of residents’ comment letters about the original design’s significant massing, size, affordable housing or traffic issues.

Then a scoping determination and DPIR were done, after which all went silent for the next two years. The IAG could never learn what, if anything, was transpiring and had the foolish hope that no news was good news.

Finally in October 2014, with no heads up from the BRA, we received a Notice of Project Change (the first of two). Once more, we were presented with another, even higher single tower. The NPC proposal was so massive that, like the others before, it STILL required significant zoning relief since it didn’t conform to either the PDA or Urban Renewal Plan’s underlying zoning. But the BRA charged ahead and had the zoning commission approve spot zoning changes to allow this proposed design. And they did it without noticing the IAG or abutters except in a Boston Herald notice that never even mentioned the West End or the Garden Garage proposal. So we had no chance to take time off from our real jobs and speak at the hearing. How transparent is that??

To add insult to injury, and this is very personal for me, one of the developer’s representatives wrote an email to my employer attempting to get me fired for making written remarks about the project. The allegations were harassing, intimidating, and resulted in great personal embarrassment for me with my employer in addition to the concern that I could lose my job. I wrote apologies to my management, and when a newspaper article about the incident was published, it was widely circulated at my place of employment. You certainly can imagine how horrible this was for me. Although the BRA raised objections to the developer and demanded they do something, the developer refused to dismiss their representative and he remains, to this day, gainfully employed by Equity Residential behind the scenes. How is that for any real accountability?? (And please note I am writing this letter on my own personal time.)


[TOSH: HAHA]

In order to duly follow the guidelines outlined in a real Article 80 process, we attempted to meet deadlines imposed throughout this process at most inconvenient times, and before Christmas 2014, we managed a letter-writing campaign in our neighborhood. More than 650 residents took the time to submit letters objecting to the current design and asking the BRA to work with us and the developer for something that fit the neighborhood and your own workforce housing goals.

As a result, Jerome Smith and Brian Golden were gracious to meet with us to discuss the comments in the letters, the project itself and the zoning approval fiasco. We were promised a more extensive process and afterward, the Director of Development wrote us that the BRA would not recommend the project and was going to issue a PAD and require an FPIR from the developer. The stated intent was that Equity would come back with a more reasonable design that we could all work with. We were foolish enough once again to hope we had a chance for a real say about what would happen in our beloved neighborhood.

And finally, here we are now in late 2015. The PAD and FPIR have never materialized, all our comment letters have never been either acknowledged or answered (including a letter from the Hawthorne Place attorney), and we were just told there would be no PAD or FPIR. Instead, what we have now been given is a second NPC, and there are once again no material changes!! It is still too massive, requires significant zoning relief, and the BRA says you, our Mayor, like the design and want to move it forward!

In essence, we are being told that regardless of the five years of unpaid sweat equity by countless neighbors and the IAG, it just does not matter, this is moving forward. While the BRA will wait for comment letters, they are due on December 7th, conveniently (for the BRA and developer) right in between Thanksgiving and Christmas — does this sound familiar? After that, the BRA will “decide” if it will go to the December BRA Board meeting for project approval. WHAT A PROCESS — WHERE IS THE ULTIMATE ACCOUNTABILITY??

Mr. Mayor, that is it in a rather large nutshell. I wanted to tell you this personally and implore you to consider what we are saying — we know our neighborhood best. We know also that it is possible to design a development we can all be proud of and that meets your goals, our goals, and makes the developer its healthy profit. I truly hope you will read this email and understand why I am resigning from this process. I would be so pleased if you cared enough to get me back at the IAG table with the promise of a reasonably designed development for our neighborhood and our residents.

Thank you.
Respectfully,
Kathleen M. Ryan



On exhibit: the inner workings of (one) of the tortured souls who removed 395 units from Huntington Avenue in Mission Hill, incl (very likely) >100 affordable units at 45 Worthington Street--by
killing the project outright, and a potential windfall of future tax revenue--(a transformative opportunity for people of lesser means to make better choices where to live was denied), contributing another sad chapter in our never ending Housing Crisis.
 
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NatickxBoston

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They do have a point... Boston is slowly becoming a more transient soulless city every time one of these luxury skyscrapers gets built... Not to mention 80% of the Millennium Tower is occupied by people who don't live in it as their main residencies.
 

Massachoicetts

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They do have a point... Boston is slowly becoming a more transient soulless city every time one of these luxury skyscrapers gets built... Not to mention 80% of the Millennium Tower is occupied by people who don't live in it as their main residencies.
I really hope rent isn't $5-7k a month for a two-bedroom unit in the Alcott like it is in St. Regis and Stuart Street.
 

Czervik.Construction

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To the fears on an empty building and soaring rents above $5K for a 1 bedroom, I doubt either will happen. If the building is rental (given developed by Equity Residential), most tenants will be living and working in the area. Also, $5K a month at the St. Regis is a bit of an outlier as sub-leases of super-lux condos are always higher than typical rentals, often because of exclusivity of the unit and the level of finishes, types of appliance and amenities in the building.
 

BosDevelop

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I really hope rent isn't $5-7k a month for a two-bedroom unit in the Alcott like it is in St. Regis and Stuart Street.
Now even $5,000 a month is outrageous for a 2 bedroom in a brand new luxury building in some of the most desirable locations in town? I am all for seeing rents and housing prices in general come down but we need to be realistic. We are never going to see $3,000/month for a 2 bedroom in a brand new building downtown especially in places like the seaport or back bay.
 

BKNA

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They do have a point... Boston is slowly becoming a more transient soulless city every time one of these luxury skyscrapers gets built... Not to mention 80% of the Millennium Tower is occupied by people who don't live in it as their main residencies.
How exactly is residential in downtown making the city more transient?
Your made up stats on millennium are grossly overstated and whatever the correct percentage is what does a high end condo building have to do with the occupancy of a rental apt building?
 

Suffolk 83

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Natickx is right, more high end condos do make the city more transient. People with money to spare are way more mobile, have other properties in other towns and cities and countries. Just because you like shiny tall buildings doesnt mean there aren't negatives that come along with them
 

BKNA

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This isn't condos or high end! This is a rental apt building! How many current Equity rentals in the West end are 2nd homes?
How many Avalon rentals across the street are 2nd homes?
I like housing when we are desperately short on it.
 

whighlander

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They do have a point... Boston is slowly becoming a more transient soulless city every time one of these luxury skyscrapers gets built... Not to mention 80% of the Millennium Tower is occupied by people who don't live in it as their main residencies.
NatickxBoston
When you can afford $10M plus for a house or a condo -- you will have multiple residences
There are a lot of houses on the Vineyard, Nantucket and parts of the Cape and Berkshires that meet the same definition.

In Paris this has been true for several centuries -- the French even have a name for it: pied-à-terre *1

Consider Michael Dell -- founder and CEO / Chairman of Dell Technologies -- ranked as the 27th richest person in the world by Forbes, with a net worth of $31.0 billion as of October 2019. He was born in Houston, attended UT Austin where he started Dell. Relatively recently he merged Dell with Boston Area EMC [started by some now lesser Billionaires from Northeastern] -- with the creation of Dell Technologies -- Mr. Dell acquired a significant local footprint*2 [not just limited to offices, labs, and manufacturing] -- including a spot on the Uber-exclusive Massachusetts Competitive Partnership*3

I'm willing to bet that most if not all the members of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership have multiple residences -- most likely including condos in Boston


*1 from the wiki article
A pied-à-terre (French pronunciation: [pjetaˈtɛʁ]; French for "foot on the ground") is a small living unit, e.g., apartment or condominium, usually located in a large city some distance away from an individual's primary residence.


*2
from article in Buildup
One Dalton Update
11/02/17

Michael Dell scoops up second Boston penthouse at 61-story One Dalton tower


Dell Technologies Chairman & CEO Michael Dell has reportedly entered a contract to acquire one of three $40 million penthouse residences atop the 61-story One Dalton tower under construction in the Back Bay, which, following Dell’s acquisition of a Millennium Tower penthouse residence last year, would make Dell the owner of penthouses at both of Boston’s, and New England’s, tallest residential towers. Per a Wall Street Journal report, Dell’s penthouse will be approximately 7,300 square feet in size across two stories, with a 570-square-foot outdoor terrace.
*3
The Massachusetts Competitive Partnership is a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(4) public policy group comprised of chief executive officers of some of the Commonwealth's largest businesses. The Partnership's goals are to promote job growth and competitiveness in the Commonwealth by working in collaboration with public officials and business and civic leaders in Massachusetts.

Vision

To make Massachusetts one of the leading states for business investment and job creation and one of the leading regions in the world in terms of overall competitiveness.

LEADERSHIP
Robert L. Reynolds
Chairman, MACP
President & CEO
Putnam Investments


Dr. Jeffrey M. Leiden
Vice Chairman, MACP
Chairman, President & CEO
Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Roger W. Crandall
Chairman, President & CEO
Mass Mutual Financial Group


Michael Dell
Chairman & CEO
Dell Technologies


John F. Fish
Chairman & CEO
Suffolk Construction

Marianne Harrison
President & CEO
John Hancock

Abigail P. Johnson
Chairman, President & CEO
Fidelity Investments

James J. Judge
Chairman, President & CEO
Eversource Energy

Thomas A. Kennedy, Ph.D
Chairman & CEO
Raytheon Company

Dr. Anne Klibanski
President & CEO
Partners HealthCare

Robert K. Kraft
Founder, Chairman & CEO
The Kraft Group

David H. Long
Chairman & CEO
Liberty Mutual

Sheila Lirio Marcelo
Founder, Chairwoman & CEO
Care.com

Brian T. Moynihan
Chairman & CEO
Bank of America

Ronald P. O’Hanley
President & CEO
State Street Corporation

Niraj Shah
CEO & Co-Founder
Wayfair

Jack M. Connors Jr.
Co-founder & Former Chairman, Hill Holliday
Connors Family Office
 

Suffolk 83

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Youre right about the rentals I guess, I wasnt paying attention to that. Its definitely high end tho, for the life of me I dont understand who would pay 2700 for a studio. I'm suspcious of those. I'm sure some everyday Bostonians pay that but I'm guessing more go to short term rentals somehow even though there's rules against them
 

Czervik.Construction

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We have covered this a lot here, but consulting and law firms pay a lot, as do more mid-level roles at buy-side asset managers (SSGA, Fido, etc.) as do the VC/PE/Hedge firms. If you have a couple that both work in tech or one in tech and one in the above professional services firms, a couple in their late 20's and early 30's could easily bring in $400K with salary and bonus. Their monthly take home after taxes, healthcare, etc. on their base salary would easily be $15K. Therefore, $2700, $3700, $4700 in rent is no problem. $3K is only 20% of a $15K take-home pay.

If you are a consultant who travels M-Th every week or travel a lot for fun, the studio is a great option.

Youre right about the rentals I guess, I wasnt paying attention to that. Its definitely high end tho, for the life of me I dont understand who would pay 2700 for a studio. I'm suspcious of those. I'm sure some everyday Bostonians pay that but I'm guessing more go to short term rentals somehow even though there's rules against them
 

HenryAlan

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Natickx is right, more high end condos do make the city more transient. People with money to spare are way more mobile, have other properties in other towns and cities and countries. Just because you like shiny tall buildings doesnt mean there aren't negatives that come along with them
How do they do that? Even if we accept that every single one is occupied by a person who shifts from place to place throughout the year, what percentage of the 100,000 population gain during the '10s fit this category? It's a drop in the bucket, such buildings have no impact whatsoever on the percentage of stable residences.
 

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