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Old April 9th, 2005, 10:02 PM   #61
DarkFenX
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This is on this week's Boston Courant. Luckily the height itself is not scaled down but it will become slimmer.

The Clarendon Is Scaled Down
by Jason Burrell
Courant News Writer


Developers of a proposed 32-story complex on Clarendon Street have slimmed down their project and made it less imposing, according to a filing they submitted to the city late last week.

Square footage of The Clarendon, a 400-unit residential development planned for the corner of Clarendon and Stuart Streets, was reduced from 466,000 to 418,000. The developers decreased the building's density so it will not block abutters' views.

The new design also moves the building 15 feet back from its original edge along Clarendon Street.

"It gives the design more distinction. It also makes it much better for pedestrians and allows us more of a streetscape," said Peter Nichols, senior vice president for The Beal Companies, which is developing the project along with The Related Companies.

A public meeting on the project will be scheduled for late this month or the next.

The developers, meanwhile, have been discussing some details of the proposal with the Impact Advisory Group (IAG), a group of citizens that advises the city on the development.

Several IAG members said they could not comment on last week's report, known as a Draft Project Impact Report, because they have not had a chance to review the document.

They said, however, that their primary concerns were deveopment's height and effect on wind.

The building is designed in series of levels that start at 29 feet and step up to a high point of 336 feet. Half of the building is above 155feet.

IAG member Doug Fiebelkorn said he does not want The Clarendon to set a precedent for tall residential buildings replacing commercial space in that section of the Back Bay. The Clarendon will be built on a parking lot abutting the Hard Rock Café.

"If they get the height here, that could be the start of something. A whole bunch of tall buildings might not be the best fot the area," Fiebelkorn said.

Nichols said he has relayed comments about the building's height to the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), the agency that oversees planning for the city and will ultimately decide whether to approve The Clarendon.

Some residents have expressed hope that the development will make the wind better and worse in different spots while having no significant effect overall, according to studies outline in the DPIR.

Nichols, however, said that developers are examining ways to block wind from pedestrians on Clarendon Street.

"We're looking at putting in some street features, which may be trees or statues, that might help out with the wind problem there," he said.

The DPIR also analyzes the project's impact on shadows, traffic, groundwater and air quality.
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Old April 10th, 2005, 03:45 PM   #62
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Under construction: an arts renaissance

From the cover of todays globe. Long read, but worth it.


With more than $1 billion being raised for new museums and other arts facilities, Boston is in the midst of an unprecedented cultural boom, one that museum directors hope will elevate the city as a cultural mecca without overbuilding or saturating the market.

The construction wave occurs a century after Boston's major institutions -- the Museum of Fine Arts, Symphony Hall, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum -- opened their current homes. This time, the projects are more varied, ranging from a contemporary art museum on the waterfront and downtown theaters to a pair of cultural centers slated for open space created by the Big Dig.

''It's staggering," said Paul Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation, which funds a wide range of cultural and civic groups. ''Boston has always had a lively cultural scene, but I think we're seeing the kind of arts renaissance catching up with the tremendous revitalization Boston's undergone over the last 25 years."

The boom is occurring as New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Dallas are also expanding their arts offerings.

''What we're going through is very much like the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, when the great fortunes were made," said Richard Florida, a professor at George Mason University and a specialist on cultural affairs. ''These people realize how much value there is in the arts."

In one case in Boston, a cultural institution is taking the lead in an area where commercial developers have failed. The Institute of Contemporary Art's $62 million replacement for its Boylston Street quarters, due to open in 2006, is the first major piece of construction on the 21-acre tract alongside the federal courthouse on Fan Pier. It will be the first new art museum since the Huntington Avenue home of the Museum of Fine Arts was completed in 1909.

The MFA, which announced a $425 million capital drive in 2001, has already raised $245 million for a building program that will include a new American wing. The Gardner, a block over in the Fenway, announced in December that it will build a 56,000-square-foot building alongside the museum's Venetian palace. Italian architect Renzo Piano has been hired to design the wing, and the Gardner is getting ready to launch a $100 million fund-raising campaign.

The Museum of Science and the Children's Museum on the waterfront have also announced expansions. And organizers for the New Center for Arts and Culture and the Boston Museum Project plan to build cultural centers, with galleries and theaters, on different sections of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. In addition, several colleges and universities are planning museum projects.

''In a sense, this boom shouldn't be surprising," said Florida, author of ''The Rise of the Creative Class." ''All the wealth that's been built up as a result of the creative economy is very much concentrated in a small number of regions. Boston, New York, and Seattle are putting so much distance between themselves and other cities."

Florida said that these projects give cities like Boston a distinct economic edge over comparably sized cities in drawing scientists, musicians, innovators, and others who flock to an urban area because of its cultural riches.


For decades, the land next to Anthony's Pier Four has been targeted by developers for high-rise condos, hotels, and restaurants. Yet the first project to rise from the dusty parking lots will be an art museum that over the last decade has averaged 24,000 visitors a year in a cramped, converted police station on Boylston Street. The new ICA, with its glass walls and dramatic, 75-foot overhang, will redefine a long-neglected stretch of waterfront.

When the Gardner and the MFA were built early in the last century, they, too, were on Boston's frontier, at that time the swampy Fens that were being reclaimed through a series of flood-control projects.

''I love the MFA and Gardner, but those places are deeply established with long-term strength," said ICA director Jill Medvedow. ''The ICA is an underdog's story, and it's a story about risk."

By risk, she means the selection of architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro instead of a more established figure such as Norman Foster, hired by the MFA, or Piano, signed on by the Gardner. Medvedow also sees risk in the ICA's moving first on the Fan Pier, before more seasoned commercial developers.

The ICA's leaders believe this new space -- which will have a 325-seat theater, waterfront café, and triple the gallery space of its current home -- will increase attendance dramatically. To break even in its first year of operation, the new ICA will need to attract 200,000 visitors, five times its highest annual total over the last decade. There is already some skepticism about that goal.

''It sounds ambitious, and I hope there's a large enough market," said Jay Finney, deputy director of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. ''But do you really think there are five times the market for the ICA's program than there is right now and the only reason they're not getting them now is building size?"

Finney concedes that his own institution had trouble attracting big crowds before 2003, when the Peabody Essex Museum finished a $194 million expansion that more than doubled its space. In its first full year after reopening, the museum raised its attendance from 140,000 to 350,000. The challenge, he acknowledges, will be to sustain those kinds of numbers once the novelty has worn off.

Other new institutions have been searching out new audiences. The Opera House, closed for more than a decade until Clear Channel spent $40 million on a renovation, drew sellout crowds to upper Washington Street for weeks when it reopened last spring with ''The Lion King." In the South End, the Boston Center for the Arts opened two new theaters in 2004, the first built in the city in 75

The roots of the boom, fund-raisers and cultural leaders say, can be traced to the strong base of wealthy individuals in the region -- exemplified by Fidelity Investments chief executive Edward C. ''Ned" Johnson III, who has quietly contributed to the Peabody Essex and MFA over the years -- and to the newer wealth, the ''creative class" of techies and entrepreneurs eager to become part of the city's cultural community.


''It's really given me a sense of place philanthropically," said Andrew Spindler, 41, an antiques dealer who was drawn to donate to the MFA through the Museum Council, a support group of young professionals.

Individual donors are particularly important because of the region's startlingly poor record of public support for the arts. Legislators feel the same way about museums and theaters as they do about sports stadiums: They want them to be part of the tourism economy, but they don't want to provide money for them. The ICA is getting just $130,000 from the state for its new building. The MFA has received $2 million from public sources for its expansion.

''We have great private resources and because of that, there's been a sense of complacency," said Dan Hunter, executive director of Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities.

In a 2003 report, the Boston Foundation highlighted the gap in public giving between Boston and other cities. In the most recent year charted, 2001-2002, Boston's Office of Cultural Affairs contributed $870,000 to arts groups. That was easily surpassed by public agencies in Dallas ($5 million a year); Charlotte, N.C. ($14 million); Pittsburgh ($28.5 million); and San Francisco ($37 million).

Those figures don't even take into account collaboration between institutions and private, nonprofit agencies.

In Minneapolis, for example, the Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association will host a party in New York City in May to highlight $500 million worth of new arts building projects set to open in Minneapolis over the next two years.

One of Boston's closest competitors as a cultural center, Philadelphia, has spent millions of public dollars on cultural projects in recent years, including significant contributions to the $265 million Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Philadelphia Symphony; the $139 million National Constitution Center; and the $14 million Liberty Bell Center. In January, Mayor John F. Street of Philadelphia proposed selling the naming rights to the Pennsylvania Convention Center and using the proceeds to fund arts and culture.

In addition, the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Salvador Dali show has been publicized across the country, thanks to a $2.6 million marketing campaign, a third of it paid for by the nonprofit Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. Boston drivers couldn't miss a Dali billboard visible from the Southeast Expressway.

Officials of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, also a nonprofit organization, say they couldn't afford to mount a similar campaign because, unlike their counterparts in Philadelphia and other cities, they don't get hotel tax money to devote to the arts. The Philadelphia marketing operation receives 35 percent of its $12 million annual budget from a portion of the city's hotel tax.

''Philadelphia is eating our lunch," said Lou Casagrande, president of the Children's Museum, which plans a $25 million expansion. ''They have a strong marketing association for the cultural industry, and I think they are looking to make the cultural institutions more of a driver for the city and the regional community. We need to watch that."

By 2009, when the expanded MFA opens its doors, Boston's arts community will face a critical test. There will be more than a half-dozen other new or expanded facilities competing for patrons in the Boston area by that time, not to mention the museums and concert halls operated by Harvard, MIT, Boston University, and other local institutions.

Despite the competition, MFA director Malcolm Rogers says he is not concerned about the MFA being able to create enough new revenue to support the larger staff and increased programming that the new wing will necessitate. The MFA's $425 million fund-raising campaign includes money, on top of construction costs, to operate the expanded museum.

''What I think would be a great mistake would be to pin all your hopes on a vast increase in attendance," Rogers said.

Finney, the Peabody Essex deputy director, doesn't doubt that a new museum can draw a larger attendance when it opens a new facility. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, his former employer, enjoyed an increase in its gate from 250,000 to 800,000 after opening a new building in 1995. But attendance leveled off at around 600,000. At the Peabody Essex, Finney says, attendance declined the second year after the new museum opened.

''The first year doesn't matter," Finney said. ''It's everybody looking at it because it's there. The 'lookyloos,' I like to call them."

Boston's arts leaders have already faced one consequence of increased competition: There were more holiday shows in town than ever before, with the Opera House in operation and the Wang Center for the Performing Arts bringing in ''The Radio City Christmas Spectacular." As a result, many longtime institutions, even the Boston Pops, have suffered at the box office. Boston Ballet has had to lay off staff members and cut performances to save money in the face of declining attendance.

''It's sustainability that really matters," Finney said. ''You have the advantage of having a lot of people see you quickly, and they'll make the decision whether they want to come back."

Geoff Edgers can be reached at gedgers@globe.com.
© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.

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Old April 11th, 2005, 04:08 AM   #63
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Pier 4. A three building, 1 million sq/ft residential/hotel/office project nearing approval for the South Boston Waterfront:


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Old April 12th, 2005, 04:48 AM   #64
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Man South Boston will look really great esp. for the 1st impression of Boston for the passengers of cruise liners and other passenger ship. It's great to see Boston finally have some good looking project that will enhance its beautiful waterfront.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 03:13 PM   #65
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ICA Update.

Credit goes to DowntownDave over at http://architecturalboston.com/Forum/index.php for the pictures.



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Old April 15th, 2005, 03:47 AM   #66
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Those are indeed some fine pics of the ICA. It looks really small if viewed from across the channel, but looks nicely sized up close like that.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 05:12 AM   #67
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Sigh. Bad news for Bostonians. Another great tower knock down so far and the reason is ridicules too. I want to vent my anger but I'll try to hold it back.

South Station developer rejected by panel
By Scott Van Voorhis
Wednesday, April 20, 2005 - Updated: 03:42 AM EST

A grand scheme for a giant development on the city's southern gateway - including plans for the Hub's tallest tower near South Station - has hit a stumbling block.
Members of a key community panel reviewing the South Bay project are urging a rethinking of the developer tentatively selected to execute this grand vision.
In a recent letter to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, the South Bay Planning Study Task Force lays out a litany of concerns about the Boston Residential Group's plans, including a lack of a major office component in a development vision that was originally supposed to include a skyscraper.
``We find both the approach and design unacceptable,'' states the community panel it its letter.
As overseer of the Big Dig, the Turnpike is looking to cut a lucrative development deal for a broad swath of land and buildings off Kneeland Street near South Station. Turnpike officials are marketing the acreage, which includes the Big Dig's headquarters, as the giant highway project winds down.
The panel's letter comes a few months after the Turnpike tentatively selected Boston Residential. The company was the only one to bid for the site.
But Curtis Kemeny, chief executive of Boston Residential, said in a statement his firm is still hopeful of winning the coveted designation. Such a step would allow the firm to begin work on a plan that ``brings to life many of the concepts developed by the task force'' while also being ``economically viable.''
Task force members, however, say development guidelines should be fully hashed out before the property is put back on the market. With a better understanding of what exactly can be built on the downtown land, more developers will show interest.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 05:18 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkFenX
In a recent letter to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, the South Bay Planning Study Task Force lays out a litany of concerns about the Boston Residential Group's plans, including a lack of a major office component in a development vision that was originally supposed to include a skyscraper.
``We find both the approach and design unacceptable,'' states the community panel it its letter.
Lack of major office component?! The office vacancy percentage in Boston is 20 %. We don't need more office space! We need residential space but nOOoooOoo, they decided not to build a freaking 800ft residential tower that could aleviate the housing problem in Boston. And what is unacceptable about the damn approach or design. Looks real good to me esp. if they are building a freaking park that makes the city and the project look better. And the approach?! Hello! We need the freaking housing. What? You don't want the city to grow? These are terrible excuses and terrible community panel that starves the city of Boston from growing. it look as though they don't know what is happening in Boston, the problems in Boston, and frankly, they don't know what they are doing.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 08:50 AM   #69
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That article says nothing about knocking down any proposed tower or towers for whatever is eventually developed there.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 10:14 AM   #70
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Damn...boston has quite a boom going on...and all the buildings are quite stunning
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Old April 30th, 2005, 01:01 AM   #71
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45 Province Street is approved and set to start this year. It is said to be 305ft tall

The BRA board also approved a 30-story tower with 150 condominiums at 45 Province St., near Downtown Crossing. The $85 million project will be built by Abbey Province LLC and will include ground floor retail space, a health club and 294 parking spaces.

Ten percent, or 15, of the units will be affordable. The developer will also give $873,000 to the BRA's affordable housing fund for the creation of nine more affordable-housing units. Abbey will break ground later this year as well and expects an 18- to 24-month construction period.

Here is the rendering:
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Old April 30th, 2005, 01:03 AM   #72
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BRA approves $110M residential building project for Leather District
Boston Business Journal


The Boston Redevelopment Authority Friday approved a $110 million 15-story residential building to be built in the Leather District. The project, Two Financial Center, was previously approved as an office building, but will now will be 162 condominiums.

Rose Associates Inc., the developer, will also include 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and below-ground parking for 250 vehicles. The developer expects to break ground later this year and complete the construction in 18 to 24 months.

Of the 162 units, 11 will be considered affordable. Rose is also contributing $2.1 million to the BRA's affordable-housing fund, which will enable the construction of 22 additional affordable-housing units elsewhere. Rose is also giving $180,000 to the BRA's Crossroads Initiative Fund and $20,000 for Project Place in Chinatown.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 03:57 AM   #73
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Finally some news. It's been a slow week.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 02:49 PM   #74
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Just for a heads up. There will be BRA meeting discussing whether to approve The Clarendon or not on May 2 at Copley Library at 6:30 pm. Anyone going?
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Old April 30th, 2005, 04:24 PM   #75
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Is this the Clarendon before the scaling?

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Old April 30th, 2005, 08:43 PM   #76
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A tale of two projects: Towering over the Mass. Pike
By Scott Van Voorhis
Saturday, April 30, 2005 - Updated: 08:55 AM EST


A soaring air-rights tower that would bridge an ugly highway canyon dividing the Back Bay and South End is poised to move forward this summer after years of debate.
Developer Arthur Winn's Columbus Center team is finalizing a series of financing and regulatory agreements needed to start construction in late summer on the 400-foot hotel/condo/retail complex, say executives close to the planning.
The 35-story tower development would take shape on a deck over the Massachusetts Turnpike and would include an upscale hotel, multimillion-dollar condos, parks and an array of neighborhood shops.
The $500 million mini-neighborhood would be one of the largest highway air-rights projects ever built in the country.
Project director Roger Cassin said he's bullish about the prospects for the development, which he expects will open in 2008.
The progress comes amid both a red-hot market for urban living and a disappointing track record in recent years for big Boston development plans.
``There is this whole conversation: Can big deals get done in Boston? This proves that big deals do happen in Boston,'' Cassin said.
No slam dunk, however. Winn began eyeing the air-rights project back in 1997.
But after an official unveiling in 2001, the sweeping plan soon met opposition from some South End homeowners. They expressed anger over the prospect of quaint streets of 19th century residences overshadowed by a modern high-rise.
After more than 100 meetings spanning two years, City Hall gave a green light to the proposal in 2003.
But the Columbus Center developers then faced the challenge of drumming up hundreds of millions of dollars in financing in a still-weakened economy.
However, the overall market for big projects has since started to rebound. And demand for housing - especially high-end condos - has shifted into overdrive.
``We are going ahead,'' Cassin said. ``I am busy with my construction guys, getting my plans in place. I am busy in financing meetings, making sure the money is in place.''
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Old April 30th, 2005, 08:45 PM   #77
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Is Fan Pier deal near?
By Scott Van Voorhis
Saturday, April 30, 2005


High-powered Hub real estate firm Spaulding & Slye Colliers International could emerge as a contender to buy a portion of the key Fan Pier waterfront development site, real estate executives say.
The firm has been involved for years with the high-profile site on South Boston's waterfront, acting as the local development team for the billionaire Pritzker hotel family of Chicago.
Now, as the Pritzkers try to sell the waterfront tract and its long-stalled plan for a $1.2 billion harborside development, Spaulding & Slye is exploring a deal of its own - one that could include breaking up the nine-city-block site into two separate pieces, executives say.
Under this scenario, Spaulding & Slye would take over a section near Anthony's Pier 4 that includes office high-rises that are planned but not currently in demand.
That could allow the bulk of the site - where residential high-rises were planned - to be sold with relative ease.
Still, Spaulding & Slye has competition - including a deep-pocketed team led by Florida home builder Lennar Corp., which briefly had a tentative deal for the site.
The Pritzkers recently rejected another bid by Lennar and local developer Leggat McCall, who apparently offered millions below the $125 million asking price.
The behind-the-scenes Fan Pier bidding comes as City Hall weighs plans to use tax incentives to help spur development, said Sam Tyler, head of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau.
City officials have been fielding requests from would-be Fan Pier buyers for various tax sweeteners, executives say.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 12:38 AM   #78
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So, does anyone feel that the Big Dig's completion has helped fuel growth?

Is it easier to get into the DT area? Is the area otherwise nicer in any way?
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Old May 6th, 2005, 10:04 PM   #79
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From personal experience, it now only take about 10 minutes for me to get to the airport. In the past it has taken me anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour 30 to get there. I don't know about other driving experience's because i don't usually drive when im otherwise in the city. If only it was better managed and run.

I will get an update on trilogy tomorow because im going to the sox game.
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Old May 12th, 2005, 05:15 AM   #80
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500 Atlantic Ave.






( ^ images courtasy shiz02130 at
http://architecturalboston.com/Forum...KS shiz02130!)


Some Bullfinch Triangle renders.




North End Greenway Park (construction has started.)



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