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Old 08-04-2010, 05:32 PM   #1
Mike
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Complete Boylston West @ Fenway Triangle (Van Ness) | 1325 Boylston Street | Fenway

I think this deserves its own thread:


Developer plans $300M project for Fenway
By Thomas Grillo
Wednesday, August 4, 2010


A Boston developer that has helped turn Boylston Street from a gritty road lined with gas stations, fast food restaurants and auto repair shops into a place with luxury apartments and upscale retailers, is set to revitalize the former Goodyear Tire store behind Fenway Park.

Samuels & Associates filed plans today for a $300 million development that will include two 15-story buildings. The first, at 1325-1341 Boylston St., would include 150 apartments, 225,000 square feet of office and 200,000 square feet of ground floor shops that will include an anchor department store that the company would not name. A second building at 132 Brookline Ave. would offer 170 apartments and 150,000 square feet of office space.

?This is one more step in turning Boylston Street into a Main Street for the neighborhood without all the cars,? said William Richardson, president of the Fenway Civic Association.

Steven Samuels, the firm?s president and CEO who has won widespread support from neighborhood activists for Trilogy and 1330 Boylston St., purchased the Goodyear site in 2008 for $9.9 million. He said the latest project continues his mission to replace underused parcels with vibrant mixed-use facilities along Boylston.

?We have a neighborhood master plan and we are doing this one building at a time so each one is successful and builds on the success of the others,? he said. ?We are adding apartments and office to the Fenway that we think it can handle and this new project takes it a step further.?

While cash has been the biggest hurdle to construction, Samuels said money is loosening up and he is confident that he can get $150 million in financing. ?We don?t have a named lender but we are comfortable that we can get it done,? he said. ?Construction could begin as early as next year.?


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Last edited by briv; 02-14-2011 at 03:05 PM. Reason: 1325-1341 Boylston St (Fenway Triangle/Former Goodyear Tire)
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:40 PM   #2
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

15 stories? They'll be 10 by the time the approval process is complete.

Anchor department store that won't be named? That means it hasn't been lined up yet. But it would be some coup if it happened, given "anchor department stores" aren't even opening in DTC, let alone the parking lot frontier of western Boylston.

Oh wait...

"We don't have a named lender"

It's basically as pie in the sky as finishing Filene's.
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Old 08-04-2010, 06:15 PM   #3
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

I'm totally against the luxury living being expanded in this area. These projects won't add to low- or moderate-priced housing stock in the neighborhood. The only people who can afford to live in new construction are the same types who own and will drive cars.

So. Somewhere, somehow, there will either be an increase in on-traffic congestion, the Red Sox will redevelop some of their southern property into parking decks (long and short term parking), or the developers will changes plans mid-stream to include garages (SEE NOTE BELOW).

I hope Menino directed the BRA to at least get some linkage concessions. Probably not though.

By the way, what happened to the various plans to fix the Boylston extension from the wide gaping gulf of asphalt it is today into something pedestrian and bike friendly?

EDIT TO ADD/NOTE: The Herald wasn't clear but the Globe reports 500 parkings spots already included. Which is AT ODDS with a "neighborhood without all the cars" (William Richardson quote).

Finally it's stunning to me that this city is still making mistakes of fifty years ago vis-a-vis low and moderate income housing units.

Globe is here: http://www.boston.com/business/ticke...per_plans.html

Last edited by bbfen; 08-04-2010 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 08-04-2010, 06:49 PM   #4
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

Let's say there are 5 people who want to rent an apartment. They want and are able to pay the following:

1 - $500
2 - $700
3 - $900
4 - $1100
5 - $1500

Now lets say there are 5 apartments available:

1 - $400
2 - $600
3 - $800
4 - $900
5 - $1000

Person 4 wants apartment #5, but person #5 will outbid him because the housing stock he wants is not available - and person #5 will end up overpaying for an apartment he doesn't even want (he wants something much nicer). And so person #4 has to go with apartment #4, which is yet another mismatch and forces competition again person #3, who has to overpay for something he doesn't want, and so on. You add apartment #6 for $1500 and all of these problems go away (or at least improve).

And then the luxury housing brings positive externalities by improving the neighborhood, reducing crime, adding to the tax base, etc.

And that's why luxury housing is a good thing even if not politically popular.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:15 PM   #5
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

welcome back ^.



Good news, I eagerly await some full size renderings.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:44 PM   #6
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

Quote:
Originally Posted by doodursistershot View Post
Let's say there are 5 people who want to rent an apartment. They want and are able to pay the following:

1 - $500
2 - $700
3 - $900
4 - $1100
5 - $1500

Now lets say there are 5 apartments available:

1 - $400
2 - $600
3 - $800
4 - $900
5 - $1000

Person 4 wants apartment #5, but person #5 will outbid him because the housing stock he wants is not available - and person #5 will end up overpaying for an apartment he doesn't even want (he wants something much nicer). And so person #4 has to go with apartment #4, which is yet another mismatch and forces competition again person #3, who has to overpay for something he doesn't want, and so on. You add apartment #6 for $1500 and all of these problems go away (or at least improve).

And then the luxury housing brings positive externalities by improving the neighborhood, reducing crime, adding to the tax base, etc.

And that's why luxury housing is a good thing even if not politically popular.
Hallo there! You've been missed.

I "get" the economics of building luxury, but the luxury creep is disappointing to me. This means south of Boylston to the park proper is next to be gentrified. What's after that? Allston?

I do disagree that expensive neighborhoods are safer than moderate/poor neighborhoods. Some are, some aren't.

Case in point: earlier this spring, a block away from the Back Bay's most expensive housing stock, a kid was murdered, right there on the sidewalk.
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:03 PM   #7
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

Quote:
Originally Posted by doodursistershot View Post
And then the luxury housing brings positive externalities by improving the neighborhood, reducing crime, adding to the tax base, etc.
What exactly does "improving the neighborhood" mean here?
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:22 PM   #8
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

There was a cursory rendering posted on the 'Fenway Triangle' website some time ago, which should be somewhere locally on the forum.

The Bolyston Street Corridor to Brookline Avenue was recently rezoned with input from the civic association and the local CDC. It will be built out to the maximum zoning without bickering, because that's what was already agreed to. Linkage will probably be related some community space or park improvements/maintenance, as that's what's be requested and granted previously by the neighborhood on all the other projects.

Replacing one story auto centric businesses and parking lots with any housing stock, space for people to work at offices, and street level retail is a major improvement to the neighborhood. This is a major infill of what has been a longstanding wasteland in the urban fabric. I'd consider the entire development on par with the creation of the Prudential Center Complex in its most modern iteration.

BBfen, how do you define affordable housing? Fenway is already loaded with relatively inexpensive housing stock for a location so close to downtown, various ammenities, and multiple means of transit. The cries of perserving 'affordability' I usually hear from that neighborhood are from all sorts of long time subsidized renters whom don't want to lose their good deal to the same people who pay their subsidies. I guess a neighborhood is never allowed to change in terms of economic demographics, it's worse than creating shadows or something.

People work very hard to earn the ability to live in various 'luxury' developments. Why should some people get a special 'affordable' deal on the same units just because they won some lottery or are part of some group which receives preferential treatment?
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:35 PM   #9
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

There is actually a thread for this. The anchor is Target. This building has been planned for 3-4 years now, as are most of the lots on Boylston.

There will be no complaining about heights, all those matters were settled when the developer essentially bought the entire block.

The 500 parking spots, however, is a problem.

I dont remember that being approved when they bought the lot.
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:57 PM   #10
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

500 spots is likely the existing capacity of all the surface lot space and two story garage on the project site. There was also a new street proposed from Boylston to Brookline Avenue adjacent to this project, which isn't mentioned in the article.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:21 PM   #11
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

I had heard (on good authority) that the anchor was 100% nailed down: a really mega Whole Foods. That might make sense for west Back Bay and Kenmore, but with the Symphony Whole Foods not that far away, I find this suspicious, but the people who told me (prominent real estate lawyers) assured me that it was a done deal.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:25 PM   #12
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

The Dude is back! Or, this time, it's the Dood!

Yeah, I remember that Target project, jass. Are you sure this is it?
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:30 PM   #13
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurker View Post
500 spots is likely the existing capacity of all the surface lot space and two story garage on the project site. There was also a new street proposed from Boylston to Brookline Avenue adjacent to this project, which isn't mentioned in the article.
Theres no way the current location has 500 spots.

Looks to be a tad over 200 (218), if I counted correctly using google maps (including the lower floor of the garage).


Looks like the math was, 300 apartments + 200 current spots = 500.

That shouldnt be the case. There is no need for the 200 spots to be replaced, and not every resident will need a parking space.
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:42 PM   #14
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

This is horrible. How does Steve Samuels live with himself by building mixed use projects in not so long ago lousy areas like the Hingham Shipyard and the Fenway? How dare he build a functional supermarket in South Bay that served four neighborhoods that previously had none? I want the vacant Sears warehouse at South Bay back!!! I want the overlit Domino's back on Boylston Street!!! I want my open air parking lot across from the Landmark Center back!!! In fact, How does the Abbey Group live with itself, taking the other big vacant Sears warehouse and transforming it into needed retail and secondary medical related office space? How dare they build all this density in the city!!! Those bastards.
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:00 PM   #15
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

^Appreciating the sarcasm. Mr. Costello couldn't be more right. If you replace a Goodyear dealership with any kind of housing (from Section 8 to Mandarin Oriental) you improve a neighborhood

Litrerally ANY dense housing development in Boston is positive right now. It's just too expensive to live here . . .
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:15 AM   #16
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanFolkLegend View Post
If you replace a Goodyear dealership with any kind of housing (from Section 8 to Mandarin Oriental) you improve a neighborhood
Dude stated that luxury housing improves neighborhoods, implying that it confers special benefits over and above more affordable housing options. My question was: how does luxury housing rather than any other type of housing "improve a neighborhood"?
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Old 08-05-2010, 02:04 AM   #17
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

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I want the overlit Domino's back on Boylston Street!!! .
Wait, what?

When did they move?
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Old 08-05-2010, 03:11 AM   #18
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

Quote:
Originally Posted by blade_bltz View Post
Dude stated that luxury housing improves neighborhoods, implying that it confers special benefits over and above more affordable housing options. My question was: how does luxury housing rather than any other type of housing "improve a neighborhood"?
Actually, Dude's example is only one of the answer that solves one situation. Here is another way of solving the problem.

Let's say there are 5 people who want to rent an apartment. They want and are able to pay the following:

1 - $500
2 - $700
3 - $900
4 - $1100
5 - $1500

Now lets say the city decides to build apartment to accomodate the city's needs.

1 - $400
2 - $700
3 - $700
4 - $1000
5 - $1000

While there may be a mismatch, by building more at the price range of what people demands, the mismatch is only minimal (affecting only person number 5).

Here's the current situation in Boston: (The Number corresponds to demand)

Demand
20 - $400
30 - $700
25 - $900
15 - $1100
5 - $1500

Supply
5 - $300
10 - $600
20 - $800
35 - $1000
25 - $1400

As you can see, the mismatch here is even greater. For most people, they are bidding on a supply that is less than the demand. Not only will some (namely the people in the $900 and $700 range) have to overpay for a less than satisfactory apartment, others can't even bid on any apartment (the $700 and $400) because they are outbidded or lack the supply. Many of the more expensive apartments are left unsold or bought as investments. While people suggested that by building more expensive apartments, the prices will decrease. However contrary to common belief, the apartments have a price floor in which it will not go any lower* (obviously because the owner wouldn't sell a lavish condo for a fraction of what he paid to have it constructed, rather he'll wait until demand picks up or hope that someone wealthy enough will buy it as investment). Also, since there is such a high demand for the less costly apartments, the price goes up for them**. Eventually this may lead to something this:

Supply
5 - $500
10 - $750
20 - $850
35 - $900
25 - $1200

Result: No additional people can afford the more expensive apartments, apartments move out of people's price range, and prices converge but not to ideal levels.
Solution: Build more where it is needed, and less where it is not.

* Median housing prices have dropped since the bubble bursted but again, not at a level that is affordable for the majority. This is because many houses are bought for investment reasons, not for living.

**It's well known that communities complain about the rising cost of apartments due to the influx of students living off campus even while average price of houses decreased.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:00 AM   #19
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurker View Post
Replacing one story auto centric businesses and parking lots with any housing stock, space for people to work at offices, and street level retail is a major improvement to the neighborhood. This is a major infill of what has been a longstanding wasteland in the urban fabric. I'd consider the entire development on par with the creation of the Prudential Center Complex in its most modern iteration.

BBfen, how do you define affordable housing? Fenway is already loaded with relatively inexpensive housing stock for a location so close to downtown, various ammenities, and multiple means of transit. The cries of perserving 'affordability' I usually hear from that neighborhood are from all sorts of long time subsidized renters whom don't want to lose their good deal to the same people who pay their subsidies. I guess a neighborhood is never allowed to change in terms of economic demographics, it's worse than creating shadows or something.
I'm saying that more luxury units in the area bring pressure for gentrification of the rest of the neighborhood due to the increased "amenities" negotiated, in part, by this powerful neighborhood group. It's self-destructive in some ironic way.

Also, west Fenway isn't cheap! Do lots of 20-somethings pig pile into 4 room apartments? Yes. Why do they do it? Because it's not cheap and they need to live close to grad school or whatever. (Your line is "market meeting demand," my response is "not getting what they paid for," next we're in a political debate).

But come on. It's not that a neighborhood is never allowed to change. It's the relatively sudden saturation of high-end stock that disturbs me. Especially since there's still an unknown building in the shape of replacing the burned restaurants.

I like infill, I like the Target, I like a fixed street, I even like additional housing in some form.

Quote:
People work very hard to earn the ability to live in various 'luxury' developments. Why should some people get a special 'affordable' deal on the same units just because they won some lottery or are part of some group which receives preferential treatment?
I'm not suggesting lotteries. If anything, I'd actually suggest rent control city-wide and in cooperation with the rest of the metro area. I hate to use this word, but without diversity of all types in our neighborhoods we are a lesser city.* (And in the interest of disclosure I'm working about 18-20 hour days right now, in part to pay for my luxury unit. Across the street from me is what appears to be a hippie commune though, something I knew from the start and liked.)

I don't claim to have the answers but two things disturb me:

1) the middle class again being shouldered further away from the downtown core, echoing the national epidemic of the disappearing middle class

2) seeing the city making the same decisions of the past when we have so many persistent examples of what not to do.






* not that diversity always works, as I remember every time I go back to Charlestown.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:07 AM   #20
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Re: Developer plans $300M project for Fenway

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Originally Posted by bbfen View Post
I don't claim to have the answers but two things disturb me:

1) the middle class again being shouldered further away from the downtown core, echoing the national epidemic of the disappearing middle class.
I've lived pretty close to the urban core of my southern city for decades. I used to think of myself as middle class, but now I think I'm poor, though I'm still hanging on while the yuppies move in dressed in lycra. Am I part of the national epidemic of the disappearing middle class?
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