The state says it can't afford adding these underpasses, but the state able to afford rebuilding the pedestrian overpass that crosses Storrow Drive near Beacon Hill (price tag: $10M). The state is also rebuilding the pedestrian overpass in Cambridge near the BU Bridge. But the budget is tight and a discussion about the cost and benefit is worth having
But it is disappointing a for the state to use as an excuse "the difficulty of securing the federal permits needed to disturb parkland and alter the appearance of bridges in the Charles River Basin". I don't know who would need to approve these permits, but is the point of the permitting process to prevent any change or improvement, locking our surroundings in a time capsule for ever, or it is to allow reasonable and constructive progress?
For path users, dangerous crossings along the Charles - The Boston Globe
Developer Samuels files $250M Fenway building plan - BostonHerald.com - 12/20/2010
Steven Samuels has filed his latest plan to complete the transformation of Boylston Street, behind Fenway Park.
The Boston developer, who has won praise from Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the neighborhood for Trilogy and 1330 Boylston, is planning a mix of office, retail, housing and underground parking on a two-acre parcel at 1325 Boylston St. and 132 Brookline Ave.
Under the $250 million plan filed today with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Samuels & Associates has proposed a total of 290 apartments, 195,000 square feet of retail and 225,000 square feet of office space.
Sketch of Kendall Square proposal pleases board | Cambridge Day
The proposal heard at the Tuesday informational session, during which board members could speak and ask questions but the public could not, would bring 940,000 square feet of labs and offices, 100,000 of retail and 60,000 for market-rate housing. That’s enough square footage for between 40 and 50 units, associate board member Charles Studen said.
The school could get 800,000 new square feet for academic research out of the development. Although the timeline for the project is muddy, the school’s enthusiasm was made very clear by Michael Owu, director of real estate for the MIT Investment Management Co.
“We want to create this space as quickly as possible,” Owu said.
How amazing would it be if Harvard stepped up its concept of "interim use" of its empty Allston property and instead of a little skating rink in the old VW dealership did something like this? If the Cleveland Indians can do it...
Cleveland Turns Progressive Field Into Winter Playground - NYTimes.com
"As part of what the team calls Snow Days, the site’s centerpieces are a 10-lane tubing hill named the batterhorn that stretches from the middle of the bleachers into right field, and a quarter-mile ice skating track called the frozen mile — the first of its kind in the United States, the Indians say — that zips past the warning track, second base, the bullpens and underneath the bleachers.
It took about a month to construct the Indians’ winter playground, which was built mostly by local companies, and so far the only real hurdle has been removing the excess snow that has fallen this month. Before nature cooperated, about 120 tons of snow were made daily to keep Snow Days running. The event began the day after Thanksgiving, will run through Jan. 2 and is expected to draw about 60,000 people by the time it closes. Most of the tickets range from $5 to $25.
Kurt Schloss, a Snow Days project manager, said, “All I can tell you is that standing at the bottom of the hill, watching people come down the batterhorn, if I heard ‘awesome’ once, I heard it 10,000 times.”
Harvard contributes approximately $2M annually and Boston College $300,000, based on property valued at $1.5 billion and $560,000 respectively (5% and 2% of what they would pay if the property was taxable). BU and Berklee top that list by paying 8+% and Northeastern barely "contributes" anything ($30,000 PILOT for $1.3B of property).
The Task Force recommends that all non-profits make PILOT contributions of 25% of their property's taxable value, with 50% of this being paid in cash and 50% being in the form of community services.
Time will tell how close to this goal the City will get, but it certainly would be a different situation if Harvard contributed 5 times as much as it does now, with this year's $2M cash increasing to $5M cash and accompanied by $5M in service.
"Hundreds of Boston elementary school students and teachers participated in a "flash mob" dance on Wednesday to encourage children to read."
Quincy's $1.3 billion plan includes more than 1 million square feet of new office space, more than 700 housing units, two hotels, a cinema and entertainment complex, and 570,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space in Quincy Center with construction scheduled to start in 2013.
I looked at Harvard's Allston website and was surprised to see no mention at all of 125 Western Ave and the proposed Tata Hall. Though both of these projects have received extensive Harvard-initiated press coverage in recent weeks, Harvard mentioned neither of them on its Allston website.
So I went to the BRA's "Harvard Allston Campus Planning and Institutional Master Plan" website but the most recent document there is meeting minutes from July 2009.
This draft became a public document after it was received by the people at the State, City, and BRA who are subject to the Public Records Law but with its limited distribution it is being treated as private. I could cynically guess why there isn't more openness and transparency, but especially because there is talk about re-starting public planning with Harvard and the BRA for North Allston and North Brighton it would be a sign of good faith to see more information-sharing on this project.
"And we’ve been looking at the vacant Citgo station on Western and Harvard Ave. in Allston forever, but Harvard has been claiming for 18 months that it is under agreement."
“We’re getting a piecemeal approach,” said Houghton, who is also the president of Allston-based Houghton Chemical Corporation. “I’m asking for a business plan, and it seems to me that the Business School should be able to do that.”Does anyone think it makes sense that Harvard needs the building built before it can figure out the details of its public programming?
Andy O’Brien, Harvard Business School’s chief of operations responded that Harvard feels it needs to have the site ready before it offers a more detailed plan.
Harvard University won an important ally yesterday in its plans for a $120 million expansion of the Business School.Mayor Thomas M. Menino told the Herald that the city should not stand in the way of the school’s proposal for a new academic facility on Western Avenue.
But Paul Alford, who lives near the giant hole that would have been another major Harvard project - the stalled $1 billion science complex on Western Avenue - accused the mayor of a double standard.
- Guest Speaker: Renata von Tscharmer, President Charles River Conservancy - Re: Bridge reconstruction plans
- Discussion: Community Wide Plan for Western Ave/Holton St. corridor
- Myung Dong, 90 Harvard Ave. Request to add Cordials to existing wine and malt license.
- Notice of Project changes to Griggs Street project (Develop Mt. Vernon Real Estate will describe).
- Azama Grille, Harvard Ave. Request for extension of hours of operation.
One suggestion from the Allston community, that I think has a lot of merit, is that Harvard should more past generalities and develop a business plan for this Harvard Allston Entrepreneurship Portal. The plan would include a staffing plan, budget and funding information, programming plan, outreach plan, and the other details that a Harvard professor would expect from a Harvard Business School student.
As it so happens, over the next few months Harvard Business School is running its annual business plan contest. The best and brightest from across Harvard's many schools will be developing plans for new businesses, and the contest even has a Social Venture Track "to educate HBS students in the process of creating and evaluating new ventures that have a central focus on the creation of social value".
It is easy to say that 125 Western Ave might be a satellite office for SCORE. It takes some (but not too much) work to contact Harvard alumni to get a rough idea of how many would be willing to serve as volunteer mentors for businesses in Allston. Then it takes a bit more work to figure out how many businesses might be mentored at any one time, how many hours per month of mentoring each business will receive, how businesses will apply to join the program, etc.
So here is an opportunity that would benefit both the Harvard students who would develop such a plan and the Allston business owners who would be part of the eventual program. Will Harvard embrace the opportunity and its two-way synergy?
|MIT's Cambridge Plan||Some of Harvard's Many Areas of Allston Opportunity|
Harvard Business School Professor Heads to Oxford The Harvard Crimson
Allston Work Team
Harvard Business School Professor Peter Tufano ’79 will leave Harvard next year to become Dean of the Saïd Business School at Oxford.
The Work Team is led by three co-chairs:
• Bill Purcell, Special Advisor on Allston;
• Peter Tufano, Sylvan C. Coleman Professor of Financial Management, Harvard Business School; and
• Alex Krieger, Professor in Practice, Graduate School of Design
Harvard renovates building to create new labs for stem-cell research Harvard Magazine Nov-Dec 2010
December 9, Thursday, 3 – 8 pm, Opening Reception
December 10-12, Friday – Sunday, 10 am – 7 pm
219 Western Ave
Galvin calls for changes to district redrawing - The Boston Globe
By the way, I agree with Harvard's spokesperson that "Stone Hearth is the kind of vibrant, community facing locally-owned business that we’ve consistently heard the community wants." I also stand by my quote in the article that the Harvard-Allston relationship would benefit from more constructive collaboration and I am glad that Stone Hearth will be preparing to open their new restaurant in Allston.
"Stone Hearth applied for a beer and wine license reserved for businesses in “urban renewal areas,” special zones that the Boston Redevelopment Authority designates in need of revitalization.
But according to a map on the BRA’s website, the restaurant’s new location on 182 Western Ave. is not included in the nearby urban renewal area encompassing a public housing complex [Charlesview] across the street."
"In a letter to the Boston Redevelopment Authority, state Sen. Steven Tolman, Reps. Kevin Honan and Michael Moran and City Councilor Mark Ciommo urged the city to reject any development proposal until the school fills vacant properties it owns in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood...
But in the letter to the city, officials insisted that new construction on Harvard-owned property should not be considered until significant development of the Holton Street Corridor - an area along Western Avenue that includes the half-vacant Brighton Mills mall - is leased"
Rajon Rondo Bostons Got Wings - Vote For Your Court :: Red Bull
More information about the project is available here:
If you are interested in submitting comments about this project (which will affect all of us for years both during and after construction) the deadline for this phase of comments is November 27.
Date: Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 9:41 AM
Subject: Project File No. 605517 - Anderson Bridge comments from Allston Brighton North Neighbors Forum
To: "Boundy, Stephanie (DOT)" <Stephanie.Boundy@state.ma.us>, Tracy.email@example.com
November 23, 2010
Frank A. Tramontozzi, P.E., Chief Engineer
MassDOT Highway Division
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
RE: Project File No. 605517 - Anderson Bridge comments from Allston Brighton North Neighbors Forum
On behalf of the Allston Brighton North Neighbors Forum (ABNNF), I am writing to submit comments after attending the November 17 meeting on the Anderson Memorial Rehabilitation Project.
We are pleased to see plans for the Anderson Bridge that look to be a significant improvement over the current design. We hope that further collaboration and consideration will yield further improvements before the design is complete.
This project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Underpasses for pedestrians and bicyclists with proper lighting and drainage would be a major asset. For the thousands of people who frequently exercise, commute, and enjoy the river, we hope you will find a way to include underpasses in the bridge reconstruction. The additional thousands of people who participate in fund-raising walks and road races along the river would similarly benefit from the increased safety and ease of travel.
When evaluating the feasibility of Anderson Bridge underpasses, please note that MassDOT recently agreed to a $10 million replacement for the pedestrian bridge along the Longfellow bridge. The pedestrian bridge in Cambridge near the BU Bridge is in the process of being completely rebuilt. We hope that the people of Allston will be similarly considered.
Tree removal should be minimized
Existing trees that undermine the structural integrity of the bridges should of course be removed. But your plan removes many trees that do not harm the bridge and that add natural beauty to the area. Just because a tree is not a native species and is not in a master plan does not mean it should be removed. It also seems inappropriate to cut down several trees to create a construction storage and staging site. Please find another location for these construction activities where trees do not need to be removed.
Construction options deserve public discussion
This project's construction will have a severe impact on the quality of life for Allston/Brighton residents. A public discussion of various options and their pros and cons is merited.
For example, how would the impact, schedule, and cost change if the bridge was completely closed during construction? There are not enough facts known to determine if this would be wise - but with the Eliot, Western, and River Street bridges and Weeks Footbridge in close proximity, the likelihood that construction would be faster and cheaper with the bridge completely closed, and the relatively successful closure of the Craigie bridge during its construction - this and other possibilities should be creatively and openly considered.
What are the plans for sidewalk snow removal after the construction is complete?
What is the long-term maintenance plan so that the "new" bridge does not deteriorate as the current bridge has?
At Wednesday's meeting it was mentioned that several stakeholder meetings were held earlier this year. The residents of North Allston will be directly affected by this project, and it is our understanding that there were no North Allston residents present at these meetings. We would appreciate the opportunity to have an ABNNF representative present at all future stakeholder meetings for this project.
Allston Brighton North Neighbors Forum
Molecular Animation - Where Cinema and Biology Meet - NYTimes.com
6PM to 7PM: Closing Times - StoneHearth's Pizza - Harvard and the Allston Community.
7PM: Zoning and Licensing Matters:
- 1079-1089 Commonwealth Ave. ("The Atrium") Proposal for Tanning Salon
Habibi's Loung: Extension into adjacent property, adjustment of extended hours, Live Entertainment
- 446 Western Ave. Request to legalize Taxi Dispatch operation
The BRA and the Department of Neighborhood Development hold a meeting next week on a proposal to turn vacant lots owned by the city (in Dorchester) into urban farms to help increase the amount of "affordable, healthy food" available in the neighborhoods.
Stone Hearth Pizza, Co. - 182 Western Avenue
175 Parsons Street - Erect a one-family dwelling on same lot as existing two-family dwelling.
This is a nice story for Harvard to tell, but it also isn't true. There are small, locally-owned retail businesses constantly opening, expanding, and relocating in the area. Whether or not Harvard could make offers attractive enough to lure them to Allston I don't know, but the possibilities do exist.
For example, there is an innovative restaurant owned by a Harvard grad. Last year they were considering opening a restaurant in the CITGO station on Western Ave. That fell through, and last month they opened a restaurant in Harvard Square.
This small ski and sporting goods store recently moved from Comm Ave near Newton Center to Needham Street. An another sporting goods store in Watertown is also moving to a new location.
Maybe these businesses or others like them would never be convinced to move to Western Ave, but it also isn't clear how hard Harvard is trying.
Allston Residents Question Harvard's Commitment to Science Complex | The Harvard Crimson:
Purcell said he could not provide a timeline for Harvard’s construction the Science Complex site, nor was he certain exactly what shape it would take,
Purcell did not say whether the site would still be used for science-related purposes.
“Is this [the Science Complex] still Harvard’s number one priority for development?” asked Allston Resident Michael Hanlon.Purcell did not answer the question
This comment on the Crimson website from "current student" also seems to be shared by others at Harvard, who haven't yet shown much interest in using this renovation as an opportunity to create a permeable campus along a Western Ave. Main Street.
'“Will [the lab] feel as though it is Harvard only—don’t come in unless you have an ID?” asked Task Force Member Brent Whelan. “Or will it feel like part of the community?”'
OF COURSE it is part of the university and you will need a harvard ID - it's a private university, not a community development NGO.
As I've been considering the current situation, I've realized that Harvard has a 1-year plan (to open a $20 million "Innovation Lab" in the former WGBH building at 125 Western Ave). Harvard also has a 3-year plan (to complete construction of Tata Hall, a $100 million Executive Education building on the HBS campus). Finally, Harvard is creating 5-year plans for each of its schools.
But North Allston-North Brighton does not have a 1-year plan and no consensus about land use, licensing, and leasing by Harvard and others. We have no 3-year plan, and no agreement on issues such as what will happen to the current Charlesview site after the new Charlesview is complete. And we don't have a 5-year plan either.
To be meaningful, these plans need the support of our community, Harvard, the BRA, our elected officials, and other stakeholders. Using the "SMART Goal" methodology - Specific / Measurable / Attainable / Resourced / Time-Bound - might also help make this an "action plan" instead of just a "plan".
We can sit back and wait until mid-2011 when Harvard's Allston Work Team will make its recommendations. Or we can wait until 2012 when Harvard is scheduled to submit a new Institutional Master Plan. I hope we will agree that our community has been waiting long enough and now is the time to move ahead.
I look forward to hearing your opinions on this today, tonight, and/or tomorrow.
38-40 Guest Street - Development of a retail home improvement and garden center with outdoor sale of garden supplies, erect rooftop solar panels, create off street, accessory parking for three hundred and eighty-seven vehicles and accessory loading spaces.
Yes, this is the Lowe's project that we thought was dead. Here is some more info from Dan Roan in the Mayor's Office:
Lowe's is going to the ZBA because they feel that the BRA's adequacy determination does not conform to the provisions that are stated in Article 80. Basically, they're asking the ZBA to force the BRA to reissue a new adequacy determination or if the ZBA believes that Lowe's has adequately satisfied the Article 80 requirements, simply grant relief for a conditional use.
I can't imagine that the City would deny whatever permits and approvals that Stone Hearth needs, but if you want (or don't want) this business to open in Allston you can email:
Mark.Ciommo@cityofboston.gov (A/B City Councilor)
Daniel.Roan@cityofboston.gov (A/B liasion to the Mayor)
firstname.lastname@example.org (community email group)
Harvard Crimson story - http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2010/10/21/stone-allston-hearth-restaurant/
Reaction at Universal Hub - http://www.universalhub.com/2010/allston-neighborhood-group-would-rather-have-aband
Date: Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 12:25 PM
Subject: support for a Stone Hearth Pizza on Western Ave
To: Mark Ciommo
, Michael Galvin , Dan Roan , LicensingBoard@cityofboston.gov
Cc: email@example.com, Kevin McCluskey
I am writing to express my strong support for the proposed Stone Hearth
Pizza at the former CITGO station at 182 Western Ave. A successful, family-oriented, locally-owned, public-serving business like Stone Hearth is what Western Ave needs to move closer to becoming the "Main Street" that Harvard, the City, and many Allston/Brighton residents have agreed would improve our community.
At the same time, I would encourage Harvard, the City, and community to do some joint planning about the future of Western Ave. What hours of operation and what mix of uses (private/institutional, retail, food, alcohol-serving, etc) are desirable? Perhaps if we could reach some agreement on these subjects then we would be more likely to agree when specific projects & tenants are proposed.
But significant projects are looming: the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) urgently wants to renovate undergraduate Houses (at least a $1-billion project); several Harvard Medical School and FAS departments are space-constrained, as new laboratories have been filled to deal with the Allston deferral; and Harvard School of Public Health likely requires significant investment in its multibuilding campus, now that the idea of an entirely new school complex in Allston is indefinitely deferred. Alongside these items on the wish list, the campus facilities—some 26 million square feet—require regular maintenance and updating. And in the interest of maintaining its credit rating and preventing interest costs from soaring still further, Harvard has essentially put itself on a severe diet for debt financing, so hard choices will have to be made.
So what tone will this project set for Western Ave? The North Allston Strategic Framework and subsequent planning by Harvard, the City of Boston, and A/B residents has called for Western Ave to become a pedestrian-friendly, amenity-rich, lively and vibrant boulevard. Harvard reaffirmed this goal an April 2010 interview with The Crimson:
University Executive Vice President Katharine N. Lapp, who oversees Harvard’s expansion into Allston, said she and the faculty-led work team continue to use the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s 2005 document “North Allston: Strategic Framework for Planning” as a “guidepost.”
She specifically mentioned the plan to turn Western Avenue into the “main street” of the neighborhood.
Obviously that entire transformation can't happen with one building (though at 94,000 square feet, it is not an insignificant space). But if the transformation doesn't start now and with this project, when will it start?
In terms of programming, a relevant model to consider that I mentioned back in August could be Syracuse University's Enitiative and South Side Innovation Center (SSIC) programs. One interesting requirement that shows their local focus is that SSIC requires that entrepreneurs must be committed to business development on the South Side and neighboring communities. I wouldn't expect Harvard to require its innovators to develop businesses in Allston, but finding ways to encourage that sure would be a nice way to help revive our local economy and quality of life.
Another interesting program is the Syracuse Community Test Kitchen, a collaboration that includes Syracuse's Whitman School of Management. Considering the many restaurants in Allston and the challenges faced by these small business owners, here is a program that could have real relevance to our neighborhood too.
calendar of events at the SSIC shows the depth and extent of the community and university based programming that Syracuse is supporting.
There are other possibilities for physical changes and uses in and around the building that could set the tone for the permeable campus that Chris Gordon promised in 2007. Especially because Harvard is seeking approval for this project without any plan for its many acres of surrounding property, how Harvard chooses to move forward with this project will tell a lot about the future of this campus and community.
Harvard Business School Receives $50 Million Gift From India's Tata Group - Bloomberg
A couple years ago, I wrote about how the Harvard/A-B relationship doesn't match any reasonable definition of partnership and unfortunately that truth is being reinforced by how Harvard and Boston's Mayor are announcing "major new economic development plans for the Allston-Brighton neighborhood" this afternoon.
This is not the first time that City Hall and Harvard have chosen to talk with the media about A/B before they talk to A/B residents. Just last week we learned from a Crimson story that Harvard would grant a request from A/B residents and allow them to meet with Harvard's Allston real estate consultants.
Maybe this afternoon's announcement will be great news - perhaps HBS will want to build a new building that, unlike the rest of its insular campus, does something to enliven both the HBS and A/B communities. Perhaps it will be the first step toward building the vibrant Western Ave that Harvard Professor Peter Galison and I hope to see. If it does, I will be the first to applaud.
But it is too bad that Harvard and City Hall didn't want to give any public notice about the time & place of today's press conference. Also too bad that they didn't want to give any public notice and didn't want any A/B residents to be at the event. It wouldn't be hard for Harvard and the Mayor to make this announcement at a public meeting in the evening when more A/B residents would be able to attend, ask questions, and maybe feel like we really are "partners".
Unfortunately John, I don't think Harvard yet really wants to change.
Thursday, October 14th, 2:00 PM
Mayor Menino will join Harvard Business School to announce major new economic development plans for the Allston-Brighton neighborhood.
Residents Ask Purcell for Greater Role in Harvard's Allston Development Decisions The Harvard Crimson
Of course, Harvard could help make progress in this area by building hundreds of new units of housing on its under-utilized property in Allston and Brighton. The BRA, Harvard, and Allston/Brighton residents have all agreed to this in principle, but getting Harvard to follow through has proved elusive (the 10 units to be built on the Brookline Machine site will nice, but 10 units is pretty paltry when compared with the scope of Harvard's landbank and the extent of the need for more housing).
To grow, the state needs 40B - The Boston Globe
If our economy is so dynamic, why aren’t more people moving here?
The simple answer is that we don’t build enough homes. There is essentially a one-to-one correspondence between the population growth of a region and the amount of new construction. Massachusetts’s cold climate matters, but the tendency of people to move to warmer climes also reflects the affordable housing that comes from unfettered construction in places like Houston and Phoenix.
Drexel University's new president, John A. Fry, on Tuesday outlined a five-point plan to improve the neighborhood, including an expanded safety-patrol zone and a loan forgiveness program for employees who buy homes in the area.
In his first major address to the university community, Fry also pledged expertise and fund-raising support for the area's public elementary school and an effort to improve the business district along Lancaster Avenue.
Harvard has flimsy grasp of Allston partnership - The Boston Globe
Harvard proud of partnership with Allston community - The Boston Globe
To Help Plan Allston's Future, Harvard Hires Two Consulting Firms The Harvard Crimson
Harvard has hired two real estate consulting firms, Leggat McCall and McCall & Almy, to help formulate a blueprint for the University’s future development in Allston, but there remains no clear time line or concrete plan for the expansion at this point.
The Herald reviews the various development and planning projects that are happening (or not happening) in the neighborhood.
"Little wonder that Harvard’s Allston science facility project, once pegged as high as $1.4 billion, was halted in early 2009 and is now back to the drawing board in terms of scale and scope. The university has told its bond raters it won’t borrow more than a total of $1 billion over the next three years, including projects that are already underway. Faust indicated that new plans for Allston will be presented by the middle of next year, and the university may need investment partners."
Preservation Massachusetts » Massachusetts’ Most Endangered Historic Resources
In a stealth race against time - The Boston Globe
Gibson Grills Drew Faust, Gets Few Details The Harvard Crimson
Gibson, the veteran ABC journalist and a current fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, pressed Faust on how she planned to recalibrate the University’s Allston expansion, but few details were in the offing.President Faust on Finances, Scientific Misconduct, the Martin Peretz-Muslim Furor, and More
Faust floated several ideas for how the University would proceed on the issue—including potentially co-developing the real-estate—but provided no specifics on the billion dollar construction project’s future.
“[Those properties] are going to be Harvard’s future, but it’s a future that is going to come much more slowly,” Faust said.
Gibson seemed frustrated at times with Faust’s lack of specifics, but in interviews this year, University administrators have been consistently deferring questions regarding the future of the expansion to a series of committees that have been set up to examine potential next steps.
On campus development, Faust said Allston “is critical to the future of Harvard”—but visions for academic use would be realized “much more slowly” because of the financial crash. She insisted that the University now has no timetable for development, and is, as reported, emphasizing leasing of properties it has bought; community amenities; and explorations of options including commercial co-development—part of a broader “re-envisioning” that might yield a lively mixed-use community of academic, institutional, and private investors during the next 50 years.
During the review of Harvard's Allston Science complex, the topic of how people get to work got some hand-waving about bikes and shuttle buses, but with the exception of North Harvard Street bike lanes we've never seen much action or specific planning about improving the "roots of the city" on a magnitude needed to handle this massive increase in demand.
Currents: Richard Cook on Sustainable Architecture : The New Yorker
Paul Goldberger, The New Yorker’s architecture critic, spoke with Richard Cook, a partner in Cook+Fox Architects and the designer of the new Bank of America Tower, a Manhattan skyscraper, completed earlier this year, that is the largest building to receive a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification, the highest standard set by the U.S. Green Building Council.23 minutes into the interview they talk about how people get to work and how transportation in cities allows for huge energy savings:
- In an urban setting, the people who work in a building use 1/20th the energy and have 1/20th the carbon production because people use mass transit when compared to a suburban office setting.
- The Bank of America tower is a 2.2 million sq ft tower without a single parking space in the building.
- Hybrid cars are not the answer - mass transit is (a subway car in New York rush hour gets 540 passenger miles per gallon.
No results yet from Chelsea, but in the meantime Sal DiDomenico is leading Tim Flaherty 6,288 to 6,118
After whetting city’s appetite, Harvard delivers a McDonald’s - The Boston Globe
September 13, 2010
Boston Redevelopment Authority
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201-1007
For years, the Chief Planners of the City of Boston and Harvard's Allston Development have supported multi-story new construction on Western Avenue as essential to the future of North Brighton and North Allston.
On May 27, 2009, Boston's Chief Planner Kairos Shen presented the North Allston / North Brighton Community Wide Plan (CWP) for future construction on Western Ave. For the site of the First Amendment to Charlesview Planned Development Area, Mr. Shen stated that new buildings should be 4-6 stories tall.
The building proposed in the PDA Amendment is 1 story tall. Article 80 requires that a PDA "conforms to the plan for the district, subdistrict, or similar geographic area in which the Planned Development Area is located." Because the proposed 1 story building does not conform to the CWP, I oppose this Amendment to the PDA and it would be inappropriate for the BRA to approve it.
On June 10, 2009, Harvard's Allston Chief Planner Kathy Spiegelman recognized that land including the site of the First Amendment to Charlesview Planned Development Area presented "an opportunity for an existing urban neighborhood, city and an institution to comprehensively plan together for redevelopment of a significant portion of their neighborhood, city and land." Unfortunately, Harvard and the BRA chose to plan the PDA Amendment in a piecemeal, not comprehensive, approach. The planning for this amendment was also, unfortunately, done without including residents of the Allston/Brighton neighborhood.
Ms. Spiegelman also noted that "The densities and land uses presented [in the Kairos Shen May 27 plan] may not create enough value to support the amount of public infrastructure and open space represented in this alternative." Given that Harvard is now supporting new construction with a density much lower than the Kairos Shen May 27 plan, it creates grave doubt about Harvard's support for the development of the thriving community envisioned by Mr. Shen's CWP.
During the review of the Charlesview PDA in 2009, the BRA was well aware of the need to resolve the McDonald's site. Members of the Boston Civic Design Commission and Allston/Brighton residents attempted to integrate the planning for the Charlesview residences and the McDonald's site, but the BRA did not allow this discussion. That the BRA is now considering the McDonald's site in an amendment to the PDA, raises concerns that the BRA is segmenting the review and evading Article 80's requirements for a clear and predictable review "to protect and enhance urban design quality; to encourage the most appropriate use of land; to improve the overall quality of development...and to maintain and improve a healthy economy by augmenting the City's attractiveness as a place to live, to conduct business and to visit."
28 Mansfield St
To reach me by phone, please use my new Google Voice number: (774) 277-9678
Endowment Sees 11% Returns After Large Losses The Harvard Crimson
Harvard Fund Rises 11%, Trailing Wilshire Benchmark (Update1) - Bloomberg.com
“The proposal will bring Charlesview residents closer to the day when they will enjoy new and improved housing,” wrote University spokeswoman Lauren M. Marshall in an e-mailed statement last month. She noted that moving McDonald’s is a preparatory step in the process of building the new Charlesview residence because it will make the new location more accessible.
"Eventually, Harvard plans to plant a 1 acre garden across the river in Allston,
The indefinite postponement of the Allston Science Complex’s construction likewise merits reevaluation. If Harvard wishes to remain at the forefront of future research and innovation, it cannot hesitate to move forward, even in the close wake of economic adversity. Doing so is part of what it means to lead.
Planners Chart Ideas For Harvard In Allston - 2005
On Biking: Fixing the Charles River bridges for bikers - Brookline - Your Town - Boston.com
Dear Ms. Shumaker and anyone else using this "McDonald's Property Rights" rationale:
"McDonald’s long-term lease guarantees the corporation’s property rights to its
Western Avenue location, according to [BRA spokesperson Jessica] Shumaker."
The City and Harvard could negotiate a reasonable price for the City to use its right of eminent domain to take the land needed for the extension of Telford Street. Maybe, in light of its impact on Allston and Brighton and its desire to help Western Ave someday gain the density needed to be a viable Main Street, Harvard would agree to allow the taking for $1 or 2.
McDonald's, as a tenant, would have no ability to veto this agreement between Harvard (the landowner) and the City. Maybe then McDonald's would be willing to continue doing business in their exisiting building and reconfigure their parking and drive-thru so it can remain a "fixture on Western Ave."
Education construction jobs a lesson in economy - Boston Business Journal
Former state Sen. Jarrett Barrios is expected to announce his endorsement of Democratic state Senate candidate Tim Flaherty in the upcoming Sept. 14 primary.
Sal DiDomenico said his campaign has received the "progressive" endorsements of Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston), Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), Sen. Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville) and Rep. Carl Sciortino
In Brooklyn Store, Everything’s Always 100% Off - NYTimes.com
More info at http://www.cityofboston.gov/ons/pdfs/allstonbright.pdf
The quotes from Harvard and the BRA manage to avoid the issue that concerns many neighbors and that contradicts years of Harvard/BRA/community planning - to create jobs and economic and civic life on Western Ave, new construction should be multi-story mixed-use buildings, not one-story detached buildings like the proposed new McDonald's.
224 Western Ave (former Verizon building across from Smith Field)
Allston, MA 02134
Glassware, dishware, household appliances, books, new and used designer clothing, refurbished computers, select furniture items
At least 40% off retail prices
Automatic 10% discount on purchases over $200 (excluding computers)
August 13-14: 10am-5pm
August 15: Noon-5pm
Proceeds benefit Harvard Habitat for Humanity
Crumbling Allston Sidewalk Creating A Dangerhttp://wbztv.com/local/sidewalk.crumbling.allston.2.1855467.html
Cyclist is killed by a car in Brighton - The Boston Globe
Rebirth of a City - Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com
From "Syracuse as Anchor Institution"
Syracuse has been particularly attractive to people like Mr. Destito thanks to a forward-thinking coalition that includes Mayor Stephanie Miner; Nancy Cantor, the chancellor and president of Syracuse University; Joanie Mahoney, the executive of Onondaga County; and a mix of neighborhood groups and business associations. The university has bought empty industrial buildings and renovated them, using some of the space for programs and renting out the rest.
Neighborhood and Cultural Entrepreneurship
The entrepreneurs who will drive economic growth and job creation through the 21st century increasingly will come from our cities, from groups whose talents have gone largely untapped. SU is catalyzing communities of experts locally, nationally, and globally to tap that talent, as evident in the following projects.
South Side Innovation Center
Near West Side Initiative
South Side Initiative
Beer lovers, on the other hand, should head to Deep Ellum in Allston (477 Cambridge Street; 617-787-2337; deepellum-boston.com), an elegant pub with 28 taps that regularly rotate with Massachusetts breweries like Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project.
- Bluestone Bistro - 1799 Commonwealth Avenue
- Pizza Days, Inc. 111 Brighton Avenue
- Darbar Restaurant - 130 North Beacon Street
- 157-171 Brighton Avenue
- 82 Academy Hill Road
- 50 Chestnut Hill Avenue
- 49-51 Cushman Road
- Harvard's August 5 "coffee hour" with Bill Purcell and Kathy Spiegelman (8-9am @ 175 North Harvard St)
- The BRA's meeting about the Brighton Mills McDonald's on August 12 (6:30PM @ the Honan Library)
"The work required to pause the Harvard Allston Science Complex Project has been completed."That sounds more accurate. Have a nice weekend!
As the Journal notes, the Behnisch-designed $1 billion Allston Science Complex for Harvard is currently on hold (despite the construction management team describing it as "complete"), so in the meantime it is interesting to learn about this Behnisch-designed lab in New Haven that is "a quite visible attempt to heal longstanding physical and psychological rifts in the surrounding community."
It is not a co-developed structure, but it is a twist on the typical "university as owner and developer" model, as the 146,000-square-foot building was privately developed by Fusco Corp. and leased to Yale-New Haven Hospital and the privately owned building will contribute more than $1.1 million in taxes to New Haven.
And the WSJ story ends with a paragraph that could be another parallel to the situation on Western Ave.
Considering the site was a 25-foot hole in the ground for decades, the Park Street Clinical Laboratory is an entirely new and welcome experience for New Haven. "What had been a gash in the city is now a stepping stone," Mr. Svigals said. "It shows the hospital extending a hand to the community."
Hope you can join us.
An enjoyable engineering feature was the underpasses that allowed travelers on the rail trail to continue their voyages without having to cross the busy roads above.
I have no idea how much money it cost to build these underpasses on Cape Cod, and I have no idea how much it would cost to add underpasses to the Charles River bridges that connect Allston and Cambridge and will soon get their once-in-a-lifetime reconstructions. But at the very least it seems reasonable to have a public and open discussion with MassDOT, DCR, and other interested parties about the cost, the design, and how underpasses might, or might not, improve the Anderson, Western Ave, and River Street bridges.
8-6 Wiltshire Road, 135 Market Street, 2193-2201 Commonwealth Avenue, 60 Dunboy Street, 3-5 Duval Street
(They do not have a liquor license, so BYOB just like Pho Pasteur in the old days)
11A-11C Sparhawk Street - Lot Frontage, Front, Side Yard & Rear yard Insufficient
458-460 Western Avenue (Boyne Pub) - Erect a outdoor patio for seasonal seating for patrons.
More info at:
MassDOT Public Meeting for Highway Division District 6 Bridge Projects
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
4:00 - 5:30 PM
State Transportation Building
MBTA Conference Room
10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116
this week (and I hope your basement was drier than mine on Saturday)
but it would be great to continue the weeding and general clean-up
that we've done the past couple weeks.
We will meet from 6-8pm on Tuesday between Adamson and Lincoln Streets
and hope you can join us.
"Renewal can take place, even in the city’s neediest commercial areas. But only in finite steps."
Harvard's billion-dollar 589,000-square-foot complex was to be home to approximately 1,000 employees. Spending a billion to make lab space for 1,000 is $1M per person and $1,700 per square foot.
If Sanofi is leasing 112,000 square feet for $65M, that's $580 per square foot. (Globe story does not provide the length of the lease).
Now there are a whole bunch of assumptions and unknowns about both of these projects, but the conclusion seems valid. Finishing the Science Complex as previously designed will probably cost more like $650M than $65M. But in the current real-estate market, a "drug giant" need only spend the latter to achieve a major expansion.
Thinking about it this way supports my expectation that whatever Harvard and any partners will build on the Science Complex foundation will be much simpler and cheaper than what was previously designed. And leasing space in existing buildings will have to get much more expensive before it makes financial sense to build something new.
Another drug giant bringing jobs to Mass. - The Boston Globe
One of the world’s largest drug makers, Sanofi-Aventis SA, is planning a $65 million expansion in Cambridge that will create about 300 jobs...
Sanofi-Aventis has nearly 400 workers in Massachusetts, including 160 in Cambridge...
It has sublet 30,000 square feet of space elsewhere in Cambridge, but is now close to leasing 112,000 square feet at 640 Memorial Drive, an MIT-owned building aimed at life sciences companies, for the new division headquarters.