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Old February 18th, 2006, 06:10 AM   #1
hkskyline
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BOSTON Mayor Calls for New Skyscraper

Boston mayor calls for building of new skyscraper
By BRANDIE M. JEFFERSON
17 February 2006

BOSTON (AP) - Mayor Thomas Menino called Friday for the construction of a new skyscraper in downtown Boston, one that might be the tallest in the city yet.

In his address to the members of the Boston Municipal Business Bureau, Menino stood between two identical graphics of the Boston skyline peppered with additions he envisioned. The most striking change was a building that shot above the 62-story John Hancock Tower in the Back Bay which, for 30 years has stood as the tallest building in Boston.

Calling it "one vision of what we can build" in a city-owned site in Winthrop Square in Boston's downtown financial district, Menino told the audience that his office was seeking proposals for a building.

"With this asset," he said, "we will insist on bold vision and world-class architecture. In short, a stunning statement of our belief in Boston's bright future."

Making several references to the Institute of Contemporary Art under construction along the South Boston waterfront, Menino said he wanted the new building to capture the concepts of Boston in the 21st Century: "convergence of intellect and imagination, and the exchange of new ideas."

Menino's office would not get into specifics about how far along the bidding process was, but spokesman Seth Gitell said there had been "significant interest" from developers in the site.

In his speech, the mayor also emphasized the need for further development downtown and announced Harvard's plans to build an institute for stem cell research across the river from its main campus in Cambridge.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 06:19 AM   #2
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This is really impressive for a nimby town like Boston. Hope to see it go.

San Francisco (another nimby town) is also proposing a new tallest (Transbay).

Hope that Seattle is next.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 06:30 AM   #3
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Here's the rendering I made:



There is a chance that this tower might break the 1000ft mark. Being mainly office, 80 stories should be from 850ft-1000ft+. It might be even taller if they count the spires.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 06:31 AM   #4
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I can't remember a mayor pleeding for a tall to be built in a city. Not that I think there is anything bad about it. In fact I hope it gets done.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 06:38 AM   #5
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BEWARE THE NIMBY'S!!! THEY WILL SOON STRIKE!!!

Oh man i'm really excited now!
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Old February 18th, 2006, 07:18 AM   #6
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Menino to developers: Reach for the sky
By Scott Van Voorhis
Saturday, February 18, 2006


A new centerpiece skyscraper would soar above the Hub skyline under a stunning proposal unveiled yesterday by Mayor Thomas M. Menino that could redefine tower heights in Boston.

Menino, in a speech to business leaders, called for “bold” proposals from developers for what could be the tallest tower ever built in Boston. To make his point, Menino flashed a rendering of the city’s skyline with a dramatic new tower sketched in, dead center.

If built, such a tower would rise, according to one estimate, 1,000 feet - beating by six stories the 60-story Hancock Tower.

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’d say this one is worth a million,” Menino said. “Here, we will be looking for proposals that symbolize the full scope of this city’s greatness.”

Meanwhile, Boston travel and sports team magnate Steve Belkin stands at the head of the line of would-be developers interested in building a tower where a city parking garage now stands in Winthrop Square.

Belkin, head of the Transnational Group travel empire and outgoing owner of the Atlanta Hawks, owns an abutting office midrise.

Moreover, Belkin has long talked of building a tower at the site, having come up years ago with a “grand scheme” that would have at least equaled the height of nearby Financial District towers, one executive familar with the
plan noted.

“I am very much looking forward to . . . working diligently with Mayor Menino to help this incredible vision become a reality,” Belkin said in a statement.

Belkin is likely to have competition. State Street tower developer John Hynes, a top executive at New Jersey-based Gale Co., said he met with Menino a year ago to discuss a tower at the city-owned garage.

But Hynes said he was looking at something more modest - between 40 and 50 stories.

“It’s the best office location in the city,” he said.

Another top developer questioned the timing of Menino’s tower proposal.

While the office market has begun to pick up, there are still significant tower vacancies, noted Boston developer Dean Stratouly, who opened the city’s last new office tower, at 33 Arch St., just down the street from Menino’s favored site.

“Our demand for office (space) is pretty consistent. If you start putting more supply into the market, what happens is the price goes down, ” Stratouly said.

Menino all but called upon developers to think skyward as he touted the building potential of the city-owned Winthrop Square garage. “With this asset, we will insist on bold vision and world-class architecture. In short, a stunning statement of our belief in Boston’s bright future,” Menino said.

OMG. 1000ft tall. Thats the tallest outside of NYC in the Northeast.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 07:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Editorial Page
This is really impressive for a nimby town like Boston. Hope to see it go.

San Francisco (another nimby town) is also proposing a new tallest (Transbay).

Hope that Seattle is next.
...for a nimby town like Seattle !? NO WAY! :P
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Old February 18th, 2006, 08:34 AM   #8
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Construction of 1,000-foot skyscraper urged

February 17, 2006



Mayor Thomas M. Menino yesterday called for construction of the city's tallest building ever -- a 70- to 80-story tower reaching 1,000 feet high on the site of the Winthrop Square parking garage in the Financial District -- to demonstrate Boston's confidence in its future.

'Here, we'll be looking for proposals that symbolize the full scope of this city's greatness," Menino told the city's business community yesterday, in a speech at the Seaport Hotel on the South Boston Waterfront.

''We will insist on bold vision and world-class architecture," Menino said of the tower envisioned by City Hall planners. In a colorful artist's rendering of the skyline the city envisions, two slender spires extend the building high above downtown's two tallest structures, the One International Place building and One Financial Center, both 46 floors.

Ken Greenberg, an urban designer and founder of Greenberg Consultants Inc. of Toronto, said Boston could use another skyscraper, because the 1980s and '90s brought a series of buildings of much the same height. ''I don't think all tall buildings are wonderful everywhere," said Greenberg, ''but there are some places where they can play very significant roles.

''What this building does is it creates a punctuation. I was struck by this -- it adds a little something special, gives a little focus to the eye."

In his speech at the annual meeting of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, Menino said the city's immediate priorities are addressing increasing crime, meeting the challenges of rising costs, and staying competitive in a world economy where Boston is less insulated than ever from global challenges.

But a new signature tower would show confidence about overcoming those obstacles, Menino said, serving as ''a stunning statement of our belief in Boston's bright future."

Greenberg was interim chief planner at the BRA until last month but was not involved in the Winthrop Square plan, and he continues to advise the city on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway design. ''There is something about dense cities that is good -- the life and activity," he said.

With the office leasing market showing significant improvement, developers are expected to line up as the city seeks proposals over the next two months for the location at 115 Federal St., between Franklin and Summer streets.

''We expect proposals from around the world," said Susan Elsbree, a spokeswoman for the Boston Redevelopment Authority. ''Dozens."

The office market is improving in Boston and the surrounding area after a difficult few years, and suddenly there is talk in the Boston real estate community of a new office tower, or even two. Two buildings already permitted and in design are located at Russia Wharf and on Fan Pier. But those are in the range of 30 floors or smaller, like most of Boston's recent buildings.

The Winthrop Square site also could be developed for residential use, or some combination of residential and commercial. Developers are allowed greater height if they include housing. The garage, which is owned by the city, would be demolished.

Building height downtown has been constrained in Boston by a combination of factors, including market demand, opposition from community activists who fight the increased traffic and shadows that towers bring, and a patchwork of complex zoning rules.

Though there are many exceptions, height is limited to about 150 feet in most of the city.

Yesterday's proposal -- about 20 floors higher than the city's tallest building, the 62-story John Hancock Tower in the Back Bay -- would radically redraw the city's skyline. Even at 1,000 feet, however, it is still shorter than other major skyscrapers around the world, including the 1,250-foot-high Empire State Building.

A number of local industry players, including International Place co-owner Donald J. Chiofaro and Landmark Center developer Abbey Group, are interested in bidding on the Winthrop Square site.

''A 1,000-foot tower, really?" said Robert Epstein, chief executive of Abbey Group. ''I like tall buildings. We'll definitely look at it."

A spokesman for Steve Belkin, founder of Trans National Group of Boston, said yesterday that he would consider a bid to develop the site. Belkin owns 133 Federal St., an office building with a key location adjacent to the Winthrop Square garage.

''I look forward eagerly to responding and working diligently with the city to help make Mayor Menino's incredible vision a reality," Belkin, who was traveling yesterday, said through a spokesman.

The last office towers to open in the city -- the State Street Financial Center near Chinatown and 33 Arch St. near Downtown Crossing -- are 36 and 33 floors tall respectively.

The tallest buildings expected to be built on the South Boston Waterfront are likely to be even shorter, because they are closer to Logan International Airport and under flight paths. The two World Trade Center towers are 16 and 17 floors.

Over the past decade or so, community activists have raised vigorous objections to tall buildings. Neighbors of the planned Columbus Center, over the Massachusetts Turnpike between the Back Bay and South End, objected to its height, which was finally approved by the city at 35 floors in 2003.

Menino fought a losing battle with Leather District residents who wanted to keep a site known as Two Financial Center, near the 46-floor One Financial Center, from becoming a tower. It ended up being approved at 12 floors.

John B. Hynes III, president of Gale International, which successfully developed the State Street tower, has been critical of an anti-height movement in Boston that has prevented the Boston skyline from extending upward in recent years.

Winthrop Square is ''probably the best office location left in the city," Hynes said last night. ''We're gung-ho on it."

Last edited by DarkFenX; February 18th, 2006 at 08:49 AM.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 03:07 PM   #9
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Menino looks skyward

February 18, 2006


BOSTON MAYOR Thomas Menino elevated both his rhetoric and the city's building heights in a vivid speech yesterday to the business-backed Boston Municipal Research Bureau. Menino, who is often faulted for a lack of vision, called for proposals for a soaring tower, which advisers later said could reach as high as 1,000 feet, on city-owned land in the Winthrop Square section of the Financial District.

Keeping to his recent theme of economic optimism, Menino said such a building would be a ''stunning statement of our belief in Boston's bright future." Stunning, to say the least. A building tall enough to dwarf the 790-foot John Hancock tower would jolt the height-averse world of Boston architecture. But Menino was only warming up. He also announced that Harvard University plans to create a 500,000 square-foot science complex in North Allston that will include an institute capable of producing ''more stem cell lines than any other facility in the world."

Something is happening to the neighborhood mayor in his fourth term. Yesterday's carefully crafted speech followed a December speech to the Chamber of Commerce that paved the way for aggressive, strategic downtown development. Menino, who often says he feels most vital when rubbing shoulders in the city's modest neighborhoods, is now singing the praises of the Institute of Contemporary Art under construction on the waterfront, a building he called ''a jewel of knowledge and creativity" and a ''renowned symbol for Boston's future."

Menino is moving in interesting directions. But he has a serious timing problem. Under the best circumstances, the mayor is slow to implement his ideas. His proposal to encourage state officials to absorb the infrastructure costs for new development at Fort Point Channel is intriguing because the state would benefit greatly from new corporate and income taxes. But Menino needs a quick back-up plan to build roads, parks, and lighting in the area should the state balk.

Boston is also undergoing a frightening increase in shootings in its neighborhoods, a problem that the mayor acknowledged in his speech. City leaders a century ago believed that building and beautification projects could inspire peace and civic virtue. Few mayors would be so naive today, even though new development downtown could certainly generate the tax revenue needed to hire more police officers. But again, Menino must be prepared to act on his own. Crime emergencies can't wait for favorable real estate cycles.

Menino is branching out and looking at the city in bold, new ways. Ideas from the world of art and business are penetrating the thick walls of City Hall. It's a positive development, provided the mayor doesn't lose touch.

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Old February 18th, 2006, 03:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by palindrome
BEWARE THE NIMBY'S!!! THEY WILL SOON STRIKE!!!

Oh man i'm really excited now!
You know, I was thinking that maybe if we knew where all the NIMBYs were living and worked, we could find someone to disconnect their televisions and or computers when ever news of a new tall tower is announced in the media. Then we'd only have to get somebody to do something about the radio broadcasts and newspapers.
LOL
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Old February 18th, 2006, 03:47 PM   #11
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Oh it looks grate, one more nice scyscraper in Usa!!!!!
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Old February 18th, 2006, 05:11 PM   #12
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Great news for Boston. The awesome height and central location should give an excellent pinnacle to the skyline.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 05:21 PM   #13
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Boston is something of an unusual city in that the mayor weilds enormous, almost uncontestable power. His call for a new skyscraper basically says he will allow it, and fight for it. There are plenty of developers who want to build tall buildings in the city, but Nimbys and the city stop them. Hopefully now he has decided to change.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 06:06 PM   #14
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It's all about Pride!
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Old February 18th, 2006, 06:07 PM   #15
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It would be amazing if it happens, and I am happy to see a Mayor take such a
pro-tall stance. But, there has to be a realistic economic need for such a building.... let's just hope a deal can be made.
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Old February 19th, 2006, 05:43 PM   #16
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What a proactive response. I can't think of a US city that's had something like this recently. I wonder what made them want such a new skyscraper. Dubai-envy?
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Old February 19th, 2006, 06:07 PM   #17
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Had something like what? A host of US cities are getting new tallest towers, including Baltimore, Philidelphia and some have been proposed for Chicago and San Fransisco. I seriously doubt this tower will surpass 900feet. The Nimby's are going to be all over this soon enough, but with the mayor firmly behind it there is more hope than less.
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Old February 19th, 2006, 06:33 PM   #18
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Good for Boston they need something to help that skyline.
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Old February 19th, 2006, 07:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rise_against
Good for Boston they need something to help that skyline.
I would disagree. I always thought Boston had a horrible skyline--but seeing some of the pictures on this site changed my view. I think it has one of the better skylines in the U.S. Too bad about the JHancock Tower being where it is though.
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Old February 19th, 2006, 08:26 PM   #20
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Great News
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