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Old 08-14-2006, 07:35 AM   #41
bostonman
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I would really like for these two towers to be demolished and have something new put in its place. With all of the issues these towers have had throughout the years, I think that it might be better for them to be demolished and have the current owners or somebody else put up something useful on that plot of land.
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Old 08-14-2006, 07:44 AM   #42
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Tear 'em down and the garage with them, and build 3-4 new, more attractive condo towers.
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Old 08-14-2006, 08:24 AM   #43
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I wonder what will be the ultimate fate of these towers and other large condominium towers. Clearly, they've got a lifespan, so what will happen at the end of it? Buying out each and every owner would be near impossible and cost prohibitive, so I don't see a developer knocking it down and re-building. It seems that condominium skyscrapers ultimately face some really tough issues. Has anyone ever seen a similarly sized condo tower meet its end?
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:39 PM   #44
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^ Condo towers vs. commercial towers: In terms of lifespan, should there be any difference? (Why?) Certainly condo towers can be split up among many more owners than commercial towers, which would complicate things as you say.

...I vaguely recall something about statewide height limits for buildings within some distance of the waterfront. Would this apply to any replacement buildings if these get demolished?
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:44 PM   #45
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^My first thought is, no, there shouldn't be a difference in life span. My concern is more what happens when the building reaches the end of it's life, and as you say, the issue is disparate ownership that causes all sorts of problems. But on reflection, certainly some condo towers, such as Harbor Towers, have issues with chronic under-investment in maintenance and repairs because it's hard to wrangle capital improvements from 300 separate owners. I imagine most modern towers, such as, say, the Hancock, will last pretty much forever so long as they're properly maintained and a single corporate owner is likely to spend the money to keep the tower in shape. But a steel-reinforced concrete tower sitting next to the ocean that hasn't been properly sealed over the years (because, in part, the owners refused to pay to fix the building) will not be giving the Roman aqueducts a run for the money.
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:34 PM   #46
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I used to wonder how practical it would be to build two new, larger towers, offer swaps to the residents of the old ones, then demolish the old towers and replace those with new, smaller ones. Thus everyone gets out of the old building and the developer ends up with more revenue than before.
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:03 PM   #47
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^ Something tells me that the Harbor Towers residents are not anxious to have even more construction in their neighborhood than already proposed by Chiofaro and then get told to move out of their units into new ones. From page 1 (Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 10:57 am)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt
from today's globe...

``Whatever goes there has to be sensitive to the people of Harbor Towers and the aquarium. Both have gone through a lot in the last 12 years," Menino said, referring to the Big Dig reconstruction. The BRA declined to comment.
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:27 AM   #48
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Maybe a condo building would become som unattractive due to its poor condition (leaks, bad a/c, broken elevators etc) that nobody would want to buy units in the building then the prices of the condos would go down.

Or the operating costs become so high that nobody wants to buy.
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Old 08-16-2006, 09:26 AM   #49
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Here in New Jersey, there are some ugly condos along the Palisades. I haven't seen any demolished yet. Usually, huge buildings are not demolished unless it's absolutely necessary.
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Old 06-19-2007, 04:26 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Globe
Harbor Garage going on market
Waterfront site likely to host mix of uses

By Thomas C. Palmer Jr., Globe Staff | June 19, 2007

The hulking Harbor Garage, on a premier site near the Boston waterfront and New England Aquarium, is going on the market today and will likely be redeveloped into a mixed-use complex friendlier to the city's waterfront visitors.

The concrete garage, designed in '60s brutalist style by I.M. Pei, could bring $170 million or more, according to the broker, Cushman & Wakefield of Massachusetts Inc.

InterPark, the large national owner and operator of parking garages, is selling the 1,380-car structure as commercial real estate prices in Boston have hit astronomical levels. It is sometimes referred to as the Aquarium Garage.

"Developers have been calling us for years with ideas for this property," said Marshall Peck, InterPark chief executive. He said InterPark intends to remain the parking facilities operator there even with a new owner.

Donald J. Chiofaro, developer and co-owner of the nearby International Place towers, once called the site the "most exciting piece of real estate in the city of Boston." Chiofaro had an option to buy the garage that expired several months ago, and yesterday he vowed to bid on it again.

Chiofaro had offered InterPark $130 million in his earlier bid, based on his plan to develop a mixed-use complex of more than 1 million square feet. But he will have stiff competition this time, with bids expected to come in over the next month or so, according to Elizabeth C. Thomas, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield.

Local, national, and international investors have already gotten wind of the offering and are making inquiries, she said.

Rob Griffin, president of Cushman & Wakefield, called the property "the next Rowes Wharf," referring to the upscale condo, office, and hotel complex farther down the waterfront. "We really feel like it's going to be strongly sought after," he said.

Griffin noted that the garage, which comes with 30,000 square feet of retail space, will bring in millions of dollars in revenue to carry the purchase cost while a new owner goes through an expected two or three years of permitting for redevelopment of the site.

"You don't get any better situation," Griffin said.

Chiofaro's plan, which he shared with city officials about a year ago, was to raze the garage and build a 175-room hotel, 125 luxury condominiums, 800,000 square feet of office space, and retail space. The plan was for two buildings -- one 475 feet high, or 75 feet taller than the adjacent Harbor Towers buildings.

"The feedback we got was that it was too dense. Anything you build there, you're going to affect people's views," Chiofaro said yesterday.

Other complicating factors for the eventual buyer are that up to 400 of the parking spaces in the garage are leased to residents of Harbor Towers for about another decade, and that the residential high-rises' heating and air-conditioning systems are located in the garage building. Both situations would require delicate coordination with Harbor Towers management and residents during several years of construction.

Dirigo Spice Corp., an importer and seller, occupied the 1.3-acre site and garage at 70 East India Row along Atlantic Avenue before 1966, when the Boston Redevelopment Authority urged the company to move to make way for the garage.

An investment fund controlled by Chicago real estate mogul Samuel Zell bought the garage in 1996 for $55 million. InterPark purchased the property in 2002 through a unit called Urban Growth Property Trust as part of a package deal of 11 garages nationwide for $180 million. Urban Growth has $20 billion in assets in 20 markets, according to its web site.

Thomas C. Palmer Jr. can be reached at tpalmer@globe.com.
Link

How much will Vivian water this down? The site is almost completely surrounded by open space. Think she will demand more? :roll:
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Old 06-19-2007, 12:52 PM   #51
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Harbor Towers NIMBYs will squish anything proposed there. Dig in for a long fight, a la Columbus Center.

Added bonus: soon the Greenway conservancy will be up and running and able to whine about shadows on their precious scar.
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:37 PM   #52
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Well, I can't blame the Harbor Towers residents for wanting to make sure they still have an HVAC system...
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:46 PM   #53
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Something tells me that won't be the most difficult aspect of those negotiations.
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:47 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Newman
Well, I can't blame the Harbor Towers residents for wanting to make sure they still have an HVAC system...
HVAC and paid parking spots are legitimate grips, views, open space and shadows less so.

The HVAC stuff is just an engineering issue.

Everything else is a 'mine vs theirs' type argument. i.e. Do 'I' have more right to 'my' view than the 'they' have to build a better urban environment for 'them' to enjoy?
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Old 06-19-2007, 04:45 PM   #55
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I see the makings of a deal.

Quote:
High-cost high-rises
By Steve Bailey, Globe Columnist | August 4, 2006

What is it going to cost to fix Harbor Towers?

The fear of that unknown -- a potentially huge number -- has plunged Boston's concrete waterfront eyesore with its million-dollar views into campaign mode. Groups and splinter groups of neighbors have formed to support and question the wisdom of the massive renovation project. Charges, of course, are flying.

``It is like Russia. We are the owners. We pay substantial fees, and we don't have any rights," says Helen Rees, a prominent literary agent who has lived in Harbor Towers since 1993. ``It is like KGB Towers I and II."

The passions are rising as a decision by the board of trustees nears about the extent of the renovation of the 40-year-old twin towers, one of the lesser works of famed architect I.M. Pei. Joseph Baerlein, a cochairman of the board, says the buildings' electrical, heating, and air conditioning systems need replacing, but he is unwilling to estimate the reconstruction costs. ``I don't want any number attached to my name yet. I don't know," says Baerlein, a principal in Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, a Boston public relations firm.

Harbor Towers, which has 624 units and more than 1,200 residents, was built between 1968 and 1972 at a cost of about $35 million. One resident deeply involved in the deliberations put the projected cost of the renovations at $50 million to $60 million, maybe more. Another owner said she had been told the assessment for the construction would be about $80 a square foot, putting the share for her double unit at $200,000.

It was just a decade ago that Harbor Towers' residents were hit with a substantial assessment to replace 1,700 leaking windows. The Battle of the Leaky Windows was long-running and heated, and included a particularly nasty special election contest for the board.

Not this time. The board has deferred a scheduled election for three trustee seats from September to October so the current 10-member board can vote up or down on the renovation, which has been in the planning for years. Baerlein says the board agreed it would be too difficult for new board members to wade into the middle of such a complex decision. Rees says delaying the election ``increases the anxiety about what they are going to do with the assessment."

Some angry residents also complain they have been denied access to engineering and other reports. Until recently they were required to sign nondisclosure statements to see the studies and were not allowed to make notes. Baerlein says the limitation on access protects the integrity of the bidding among contractors. Some residents want a vote on the renovations; Baerlein says the board will decide.

Yesterday, in an effort to calm the waters, the trustees sent out a seven-page letter explaining the proposals. ``What is troubling is what this letter does not contain -- direct answers to our many questions and evidence that this project is absolutely necessary," says Peter Brill, an architect and outspoken critic of the trustees' efforts.

Many residents, however, are supportive. ``The problems are not going to go away," says Mahmood Malihi, a principal of Leggat McCall Properties. ``It is like the dams of New Orleans. When it does fail, it could be catastrophic." Adds Baerlein: ``The alternative of doing nothing is not an acceptable alternative if you have a shred of common sense."

Construction could take up to 20 months, and residents worry what the disruption and a big assessment could mean for property values. Already the upfront costs have exceeded $3 million, including nearly $250,000 in lawyers' fees to Holland & Knight.

No one doubts that something has to be done. But who can blame anxious Harbor Towers residents for looking out their windows -- the ones that no longer leak -- to the still unfinished Big Dig below and worrying about where it all ends?
Now if only a similar costly problem were to arise with Tremont on the Common, and rather than try and repair, the better cost solution would be an implosion and something new.
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Old 06-19-2007, 05:35 PM   #56
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Another deal might be the Harbor Towers residents get lots of money from a big developer for aging systems and parking in return for not hindering a large (tall) new development at the Aquarium garage site.
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Old 06-20-2007, 12:19 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tocoto
Another deal might be the Harbor Towers residents get lots of money from a big developer for aging systems and parking in return for not hindering a large (tall) new development at the Aquarium garage site.
Bingo. I don't really blame the people living in the Harbor Towers for bitching about the quality of the buildings and all of the problems that have come along with them. Both from an asthetic and architectural standpoint the HT have been one of the worst projects to grace the city of Boston. Something needs to be done with these buildings.

The best case scenerio is the above happens only the residents somehow trade their square ft. in the HT for something in a new building(s) if to be put out for a substancial time while the new tower(s) are being built AND a tower at the aquarium site can be built at the same time. This about as likely to happen as the Celtics getting Greg Oden with the #5 pick, but it would be the best case (in my opinion).
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Old 06-20-2007, 12:36 AM   #58
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I don't understand the hate for Harbor Towers. At worst they're architecturally neutral, and could use some help at street level. Compared to some of the other monstrosities nearby (Government Center garage, anyone? Or even that brick garage-pluts-vent-stack building that currently houses the Haymarket T stop) they don't inspire much vitriol in me.
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:39 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by czsz
I don't understand the hate for Harbor Towers. At worst they're architecturally neutral, and could use some help at street level. Compared to some of the other monstrosities nearby (Government Center garage, anyone? Or even that brick garage-pluts-vent-stack building that currently houses the Haymarket T stop) they don't inspire much vitriol in me.
The difference in what you listed is that those are garages. There's never going to be a garage built that anyone on this site will like.

This building is an atrocity both in terms of architecture (read through the thread to see why) and from an asthetic standpoint. They look like two concrete slabs with windows. For that location, there should be something better, something MUCH better.
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Old 06-20-2007, 06:38 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by czsz
I don't understand the hate for Harbor Towers.
They're concrete. Folks feel a duty to hate concrete.

Quote:
At worst they're architecturally neutral, and could use some help at street level.
And at best they're architecturally iconic because of their totemic stance: mute and mysterious.

Quote:
Compared to some of the other monstrosities nearby (Government Center garage, anyone? Or even that brick garage-pluts-vent-stack building that currently houses the Haymarket T stop) they don't inspire much vitriol in me.
Now, there's a seriously horrendous building. Pretentious and stupid.
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