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statler 06-15-2006 07:48 AM

Fenway Area Redevelopment

Originally Posted by The Globe
Lawmakers seek $700m for projects, job stimulus
Final plans call for upgrades to Fenway area

By Scott Helman, Globe Staff | June 15, 2006

Legislative leaders finalized plans yesterday for more than $700 million in new state spending, earmarking millions for transportation improvements in the Fenway area sought by the Red Sox, for upgrades to cultural facilities across the state, and for a host of projects in lawmakers' home districts.

The long-sought agreements on the two big-ticket spending bills -- a supplemental budget measure and economic stimulus legislation -- are expected to come up for votes today in the House. The Senate, too, could take them up as early as today.

The intent of the economic development measure is to generate jobs and kick-start the still-sluggish Massachusetts economy through a variety of state investments, incentives, and grant programs. The spending bill is stuffed with local projects, including drainage repairs, roads, and community health centers.

``All we can do at the state level, I think, is try to encourage, help, and stimulate the economy -- on job creation and economic development," said state Senator Steven C. Panagiotakos, a Lowell Democrat, speaking of the economic stimulus package. ``I think this bill does this in a lot of areas."

Both bills had been stuck in negotiations for months, relegated to the back burner until the House and Senate leaders hashed out the landmark healthcare bill that Governor Mitt Romney signed into law two months ago. The lawmakers are taking up the proposed extra spending as tax revenues in Massachusetts have soared, even though fiscal conservatives have criticized the millions of dollars in projects as irresponsible.

The more than $700 million in spending would be a combination of one-time expenditures and funds to be appropriated every year. The money would come from both revenue the state has on hand and cash it would raise through future borrowing. (Both bills were released last night.)

Romney's communications director, Eric Fehrnstrom, declined to comment last night on the amount of new spending, but he said the governor is sure to veto some aspects of the bills.

``As with any large appropriations bills, there will inevitably be areas where the governor differs with the Legislature," Fehrnstrom said. ``And we will make our objections known after we review these bills."

A primary focus of the economic stimulus plan is the life sciences industry. The bill creates a new state entity designed to foster research and development by helping to raise private money for projects and providing necessary state financing. The bill also envisions a new $70 million nano-biomanufacturing center at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, where university researchers and private companies can develop cutting-edge technology and products. (The bill would provide UMass-Lowell with $21 million in cash and $14 million from bonds and authorize the school to borrow another $35 million.)

``The bottom line is, unless you can commercialize it, there's no economic benefit to it," Panagiotakos said. ``That's why this is critical."

State Senator Jack Hart, a South Boston Democrat who helped write the economic stimulus bill, said it is ``an effort to change the way we do business in Massachusetts, to create . . . the sense around the country and the world that Massachusetts is open for business and we're hungry for business."

The economic stimulus bill also includes $55 million for transportation-related projects in the Fenway-Longwood-Kenmore Square area, including updates of nearby commuter rail and T stations, improvements to the giant rotary between Fenway Park and the hospitals, and signal upgrades on several surrounding streets.

Some critics have faulted lawmakers for making public investments that will help a successful baseball team, but Doug Bailey, a spokesman for the Red Sox, said the neighborhood improvements help the Sox no more than anyone else.

``We acknowledge our prominence in the neighborhood, and frankly we're happy to use our celebrity to help spearhead anything that benefits all of our neighbors, and I think this does it," Bailey said. But, he added: ``There's no direct benefit to the team. I'd be hard-pressed to see how Ruggles Street, the Park Street crossover, or the Sears Rotary helps the team any more than it helps the academic, residential, and medical areas."

State Representative Daniel E. Bosley of North Adams, the leading House negotiator on the stimulus package, said the plan lays the groundwork for $500 million in spending on cultural facilities over the next 10 years, which he described as a first-in-the-nation initiative.

``It took us a long time to get here, and it took us a long time to figure out how much we had after healthcare," Bosley said, referring to the multimillion dollar healthcare bill that was signed into law earlier this year. ``But I think this is a spectacular bill."

The economic stimulus bill would also establish a new state office dedicated to bringing the entire state wireless or broadband Internet access, provide new scholarships for students who pursue math and science, commit money to redeveloping former contaminated commercial sites, and establish a sales force to lure out-of-state companies to Massachusetts, something Romney included in an economic development bill he filed in February 2005.

``We have been waiting a long time for an economic stimulus bill, because the governor believes we can and should be doing more to stimulate job growth and business expansion," Fehrnstrom said. ``We're pleased that a bill is finally on its way to the governor's desk, and we hope that it will be a shot in the arm to the economy."

Romney, who came into office in 2003 touting his business and management experience, has been criticized for the state of the economy during his tenure, specifically the lack of job growth. Romney argues that the Legislature needs to act on other initiatives he supports, such as reducing the amount of money companies are required to pay for unemployment insurance.

Among the items in the supplemental budget are a $3.2 million Agricultural Innovation Center to be established in consultation with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The center is supposed to ``provide a broad range of technical and business development services to the Commonwealth's agricultural producers that may add value to the producers products and services."

The budget bill also calls for $11 million in improvements to beaches and parks statewide, including $100,000 for the improvement of Saxton J. Foss Park in Somerville and $100,000 for improvements to the Vietnam Veterans park in Billerica.

Spending heavily on projects, said Barbara Anderson, a longtime advocate of lower taxes and limited spending, will only send the state into another fiscal crisis.

``If you want to stimulate the economy, they should give us more of our own money to spend on our own . . . instead of taking more than they need from the private sector to stimulate their constituencies," said Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

But House minority leader Bradley H. Jones Jr., a North Reading Republican, said many of the spending projects proposed by lawmakers make sense when you consider them individually.

Scott Helman can be reached at


castevens 06-15-2006 05:26 PM

News on the Parking garages that are supposed to cover up the Pike next to Fenway?

statler 08-10-2006 07:36 AM


Originally Posted by The Herald
Tunnel tragedy stalls Fenway?s Pike air-rights plan
By Scott Van Voorhis
Boston Herald Business Reporter
Thursday, August 10, 2006

A joint venture between a local developer and the Boston Red Sox aimed at reshaping the neighborhood around Fenway Park has hit a major snag.

The tragic Big Dig tunnel collapse has brought progress on a proposed air-rights project over the Massachusetts Turnpike to a screeching halt, developer John Rosenthal said yesterday.
Rosenthal, who is working with the Sox, said he was poised to take a major step to firm up his plans when the tunnel ceiling collapsed. Turnpike officials, the developer contends, were on the cusp of either putting the air-rights parcels he want outs wants out to bid, or simply designating him as the official builder.
But now, with the Turnpike, which also oversees the Big Dig, consumed with investigations, the developer said he has no idea when that next step will come.
That, in turn, has left a budding plan for hundreds of housing units near Fenway Park, as well as new parking and retail shops, in limbo.
?I wish it were different,? Rosenthal said. ?The tunnel collapse certainly didn?t help keep our air-rights project on the front burner.?
?It is just further delayed,? he said.
A Sox spokesman, Doug Bailey, also acknowledged the project is now ?stalled,? but said the lack of activity was ?understandable? given the circumstances.
For Rosenthal, the delay is just the latest setback in a years-long quest to build a major development near Fenway Park.
The developer was forced to scuttle an earlier plan for twin towers over a Turnpike deck next door to Fenway Park after opposition from the Sox.
Turnpike officials could not be reached for comment.


statler 08-10-2006 07:37 AM

Briv, could you move this to New Developments? Thanks.

Merper 08-18-2006 06:33 PM

from wednesday...

and closer...

Mike 08-18-2006 08:04 PM

Is anything happening across the street at 1330 Boylston yet? They closed all the places that were in that one-story building back in January. I haven't been by it since then.

kz1000ps 08-18-2006 08:44 PM

Nothing. I asked the parking lot attendant sometime back in January or February if they were gonna be closing down any time soon and he said he didn't know, and as of right now it's still in operation. Maybe sometime soon i'll swing by and ask them again.

aws129 10-01-2006 06:53 PM

Now batting: Fenway area remake
Developers aim to turn unsightly strip near ballpark into urban chic

By Ron DePasquale, Globe Correspondent | September 30, 2006

Fenway Park is a celebrated early-1900s landmark, but the strip of Boylston Street near the ballpark has long been derided as an unsightly product of the car-obsessed 1950s and '60s.

Two developers, Steven B. Samuels and Bill McQuillan , have expansive plans to transform this busy strip of parking lots and one-story businesses into a chic urban nexus, a pedestrian-friendly main street for the western side of the Fenway.

``People woke up a few years ago, and said, `Wait a minute, this is a wonderful area that's leafy green and near Longwood and the Back Bay, but it's pretty cruddy, and we should do better,' " said McQuillan , the president of Boylston Properties.

First, McQuillan and Samuels teamed to build Trilogy, a tall, stylish mixed-use building on Boylston and Brookline Avenue, near the Landmark Center. The $225 million, 17-story project, with 576 apartments, was completed this summer, and its first ground-floor business, a West Elm furniture store, opened earlier in September on the Brookline Avenue side.

Future businesses at the site include restaurants Burtons Grill and Cambridge One, Emack and Bolio's, Starbucks, Citibank, and a dry cleaner.

``That there should be a continuous, vibrant shopping district along Boylston is an obvious move for Fenway," Samuels said. ``The retail community has responded very positively to what they've seen at Landmark and Trilogy. There are a lot of underserved customers there."

Next, Samuels is scheduled to break ground in October on a smaller mixed-use development on a 1.1-acre site across Boylston from Trilogy where the former Baseball Tavern was located.

The City of Boston adopted new zoning for the West Fenway neighborhood two years ago in a bid to help revitalize this tired section of Boylston. In addition to more commercial activities along the business strip, the city wants more housing built in a dense neighborhood adjacent to the rapidly growing Longwood Medical Area.

The Boston Red Sox have also bought properties here in an effort to influence development around the ballpark, and new dormitories at colleges such as Northeastern University are expected to reduce the high number of students living in the area.

At 1330 Boylston St., Samuels's $100 million development will house 210 condos and rental units, and range in height from eight to 14 stories. Retail will take up 25,000 square feet on the ground floor, and the Fenway Community Health Center plans to have a new home upstairs. An underground garage will hold 290 spaces.

Bill Richardson, the president of the Fenway Civic Association, said the neighborhood will benefit so long as the coming developments include retail, and not more office space.

To beautify the streetscape, developers must pay for streetlights and trees and keep sidewalks wide; new bars are not permitted along Boylston Street.

Samuels and McQuillan, whose partnership is known as Fenway Ventures , also hold an option to develop the ``point" site, the forlorn meeting point of Boylston Street and Brookline Avenue, where a D'Angelo's sandwich shop stands. They also own the property behind it, hosting a liquor store.

The point's triangular shape offers a design challenge that could result in a dramatic ``front door" to Boylston Street, Samuels said. The developers expect to spend up to 12 months working on a design, he said.

The neighborhood and its redevelopment received another boost when state lawmakers approved $55 million in transportation improvements that include upgrading MBTA stations that serve the area and improving traffic flow through the sometimes chaotic crossings.

Should those changes result in more commuters and baseball fans using public transportation, then some of the existing parking lots in the area could be redeveloped, the builders said.

``Nobody is in love with surface lots and one-story tire stores," McQuillan said. ``People want more buildings like Trilogy that create a real street life, a city life."

But the Red Sox are concerned about vanishing parking lots, said spokesman Doug Bailey . Redevelopment, he said, ``needs to be done in a measured, thoughtful way," and must include as much parking as space allows.

On Boylston Street, the Red Sox own a McDonald's restaurant and the WBCN building. And the team plans on partnering with the Sage family to build a hotel and condo complex that would replace the low-rise, 1950s Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge.

Farther north, developer John Rosenthal plans a massive building over the Mass. Pike and along Beacon Street. Called One Kenmore, it will have 525 residential units and 100,000 square feet of retail space. Two towers will reach 17 and 20 stories.

The cutting-edge development used to be in the South End," Samuels said, ``but it's moving west, and now it's Fenway's time."

jass 10-01-2006 07:12 PM

"On Boylston Street, the Red Sox own a McDonald's restaurant and the WBCN building. And the team plans on partnering with the Sage family to build a hotel and condo complex that would replace the low-rise, 1950s Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge. "

My dad stayed there last week when he came to Boston. It is strangely out of place in the city, since its something youd find on the side of a highway in the suburbs.

vanshnookenraggen 10-01-2006 08:39 PM


Originally Posted by jass
"On Boylston Street, the Red Sox own a McDonald's restaurant and the WBCN building. And the team plans on partnering with the Sage family to build a hotel and condo complex that would replace the low-rise, 1950s Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge. "

My dad stayed there last week when he came to Boston. It is strangely out of place in the city, since its something youd find on the side of a highway in the suburbs.

This area always had that 1950's highway strip feel. I kind of liked it only becuase it was so different from everything around it.

No bars on Boylston St??!?! The Sox should build a parking garage or two near the park with some bars on the ground floor.

castevens 10-02-2006 12:18 AM

Didn't they have a plan to cover part of the Pike with a couple of parking garages? That would be amazing! The more of the pike that is covered, the happier castevens is

kz1000ps 10-02-2006 01:40 PM

What you speak of, castevens, is John Rosenthal's One Kenmore, mentioned near the bottom of the article.

So I walked by the site of 1330 Boylston today and the parking lot is no longer in operation. And the one-story commercial building to the east, which has been vacant since the beginning of the year, now has a two foot tall Suffolk construction sign up on it. So it looks like things will be starting soon, perhaps October, like the article says.

Ron Newman 10-02-2006 09:54 PM

So, what did this part of Boylston look like before the 1950s when all of the current strip development started?

Lurker 10-02-2006 10:31 PM

Not that much different, lots of garages, warehouses, light industrial.

esp9762 10-03-2006 02:09 AM

Machine is a bar on Boylston, close to the Fens. It's a gay bar, but still a bar. Also, one thing that I think might discourage development is the Fens, it's not a very nice place at night. I walk from 1260 Boylston (new Boston Conservatory building) past the Fens every night at about midnight, and i've never felt less safe.

Ron Newman 10-03-2006 07:35 AM

The most notable thing about the 1938 map is the large number of vacant lots. Somehow this area never really got developed when the rest of the Back Bay did.

Waldorf 10-03-2006 09:50 AM

...and the abundance of tire stores/plants. What a strange place. I suppose with the auto plant in Packards Corner, this made sense at the time.

Ron Newman 10-03-2006 10:03 AM

There was an auto factory in Packards Corner?

Waldorf 10-03-2006 10:12 AM

You bet. It's now called the Atrium, an apartment complex. It's right next door to the Shaw's on Comm. Ave. I forget the address.

Merper 10-03-2006 11:19 AM

... i was under the impression that the Atrium was once a Packard Car Dealer, not a factory, but i could be wrong.

I'm pretty sure there was an auto factory in the red brick building on the Cambridge side of the BU bridge (now offices) though...

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