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Old 12-31-2014, 08:10 AM   #21
Equilibria
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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Federally-owned land is not subject to zoning, and a Federally-owned building on Federally-owned land is not subject to zoning. Thus, a new Federal building (owned by the government on government-owned land) would not be subject to Cambridge zoning. The government seeks a new building of 390,000 gsf. How high do you (developer) want to make it?
Well, assuming that the building has a typical Kendall footprint of between 20,000 and 40,000 square feet, you're talking... 10 to 20 stories. Probably not going to piss off the NIMBYs with that.
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Old 12-31-2014, 12:18 PM   #22
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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Well, assuming that the building has a typical Kendall footprint of between 20,000 and 40,000 square feet, you're talking... 10 to 20 stories. Probably not going to piss off the NIMBYs with that.
The government says it requires 40,000 gsf of single floor space, and an additional 350,000 gsf of vertical space, the latter on what presumably would be a smaller footprint, plus an unspecified number of parking spaces for 1,300 employees. I'd bury the parking, put a park on top, and credit that to the open space. The security-related setback, if a landscaped buffer, might also be credited to open space.
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Old 12-31-2014, 01:08 PM   #23
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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The government says it requires 40,000 gsf of single floor space, and an additional 350,000 gsf of vertical space, the latter on what presumably would be a smaller footprint, plus an unspecified number of parking spaces for 1,300 employees. I'd bury the parking, put a park on top, and credit that to the open space. The security-related setback, if a landscaped buffer, might also be credited to open space.
Stel -- the 40,000 single floor which is likely to be underground could extend outside the tower footprint to include a "security park" a la the Federal Reserve Bank "security Garden" above
The parking levels could also extend outside the footprint

Then the 350,000 could be accommodated by a 35 story tower with a 10,000+ sq ft footprint in the midst of the 40,000 sq ft security footprint -- setting the tower back from any public access and hiding the parking and the high security conferencing and "Mission Control" underground
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Old 12-31-2014, 08:11 PM   #24
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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Stel -- the 40,000 single floor which is likely to be underground could extend outside the tower footprint to include a "security park" a la the Federal Reserve Bank "security Garden" above
The parking levels could also extend outside the footprint

Then the 350,000 could be accommodated by a 35 story tower with a 10,000+ sq ft footprint in the midst of the 40,000 sq ft security footprint -- setting the tower back from any public access and hiding the parking and the high security conferencing and "Mission Control" underground
I don't think Volpe is going to need the same kind of "security park" that the Fed gets. It's DOT, not DOD. The security will be the same as other GSA buildings around Boston: bollards and a setback. It's currently surrounded by lawns because it had more land than it needed and it was built during a time when Kendall wasn't nice. The larger ground floor is probably for a conference center and lobby space.

If they wanted 390k and 40k is the ground floor, then you have 350k left. For reference, Millennium Tower sits on a 30,000 sqf footprint. One Boston Place is 22,500. 10,000 square feet is basically the same as that little condo tower being proposed for Tremont and Avery.

The best you can hope for is probably 20,000 sqf, which would translate in this case to 18 stories, so not much more than 200 feet, which is the typical height for office towers in Kendall.
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Old 01-05-2015, 07:13 AM   #25
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

Not to nit pick too much..... but.
18 storeys of office would be taller than that. Let's say a minimum of 12.5' per floor, but probably at least 13'-0" to allow for 9'-0" ceilings, ductwork and steel. That's 234'. First floor is generally going to be a taller for a number of reasons. If conference centers, then lots of air = bigger ducts. Pitching waste and storm pipes need room to offset (overflows to grade). Etc. etc. So 15-18' for the ground floor. They probably want some big ass lobby as usual.

Probably add a mechanical penthouse on top at roughly 18'. So let's call it about 257' Pretty much right in line with the new zoning anyways....
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:59 PM   #26
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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I don't think Volpe is going to need the same kind of "security park" that the Fed gets. It's DOT, not DOD. The security will be the same as other GSA buildings around Boston: bollards and a setback. It's currently surrounded by lawns because it had more land than it needed and it was built during a time when Kendall wasn't nice. The larger ground floor is probably for a conference center and lobby space.

If they wanted 390k and 40k is the ground floor, then you have 350k left. For reference, Millennium Tower sits on a 30,000 sqf footprint. One Boston Place is 22,500. 10,000 square feet is basically the same as that little condo tower being proposed for Tremont and Avery.

The best you can hope for is probably 20,000 sqf, which would translate in this case to 18 stories, so not much more than 200 feet, which is the typical height for office towers in Kendall.
Equilib -- The Volpe is not just a typical GSA building full of bureaucrats, e.g. the JFK and most of the ONeil -- there are things that happen inside Volpe that need a very high level of security and have to be isolated from the general environment by space and dirt

You don't get into certain areas of the building without very high level security clearances with which people knowledgeable about DOD facilities would be acquainted

For example -- If you remember the famous pix of all the flights that the FAA landed after 9/11 -- well that pix is on a giant giant screen in the basement of the Volpe as are more sensitive real-time information
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Old 01-05-2015, 01:10 PM   #27
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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Equilib -- The Volpe is not just a typical GSA building full of bureaucrats, e.g. the JFK and most of the ONeil -- there are things that happen inside Volpe that need a very high level of security and have to be isolated from the general environment by space and dirt

You don't get into certain areas of the building without very high level security clearances with which people knowledgeable about DOD facilities would be acquainted

For example -- If you remember the famous pix of all the flights that the FAA landed after 9/11 -- well that pix is on a giant giant screen in the basement of the Volpe as are more sensitive real-time information
I'm not intimately familiar with security at Volpe, but I highly doubt that just because a couple of rooms require a special badge and security clearance, the entire building would have to have wide open space all around it. The only reason you do that is because you want to be able to shoot anyone who starts to run across it or impede/destroy any unauthorized vehicle driving at the building. The White House, Capitol, Pentagon, etc. have those restrictions, as do embassies and some DOD and DOE research facilities. The BioLab in the South End has them as well. One command center in the basement does not mean the building must be a fortress (If it did, GSA wouldn't even be considering renting space off-site in Kendall).

The new Volpe will be just another office building with a set of turnstiles, nothing fancier.
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Old 01-05-2015, 02:15 PM   #28
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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I'm not intimately familiar with security at Volpe, but I highly doubt that just because a couple of rooms require a special badge and security clearance, the entire building would have to have wide open space all around it. The only reason you do that is because you want to be able to shoot anyone who starts to run across it or impede/destroy any unauthorized vehicle driving at the building. The White House, Capitol, Pentagon, etc. have those restrictions, as do embassies and some DOD and DOE research facilities. The BioLab in the South End has them as well. One command center in the basement does not mean the building must be a fortress (If it did, GSA wouldn't even be considering renting space off-site in Kendall).

The new Volpe will be just another office building with a set of turnstiles, nothing fancier.
Equilib -- I can not go into the details of the security employed to protect information accessed and in some cases controlled in a place like the Volpe

Hower, think of things this way -- when ever you turn on and off an electric current you produce rising and falling electric and magnetic fields. Turn the current on and off many millions or billions of times per second in a computer and you are generating a UHF or microwave radio signal. When you have wiring connected to the electronics -- these wires function as antennas to transmit the radio signals generated internally by the operations of the computers, monitors, etc.

Shielding can reduce the strength of the signals, but the ultimate protection is a combination of distance, with external physical security and / or putting a bunch of dirt between you and any potential eavesdropper.

Another little-known function of the Volpe Center is to provide local industry and academics with classified government contracts a secure facility in which to conduct classified meetings, teleconferences, etc., which is easily accessible to Downtown Boston without having to visit Hanscom, etc. -- these kinds of facilities don't really coexist with typical open office environments accessible to the general public
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Old 01-05-2015, 02:21 PM   #29
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

FWIW, DARPA (in Arlington, VA) is set back about 50 feet from the street with some small bollards along the sidewalk. I wouldn't think Volpe needs any greater security park than that, likely less. 50 feet in all directions from the building is a lot of wasted space, but compared to how many acres will become developable, that is not the end of the world. There is an airport style x-ray conveyor and walk-thru metal detector at the front entrance and that is it for physical security.
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Old 01-05-2015, 03:03 PM   #30
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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FWIW, DARPA (in Arlington, VA) is set back about 50 feet from the street with some small bollards along the sidewalk. I wouldn't think Volpe needs any greater security park than that, likely less. 50 feet in all directions from the building is a lot of wasted space, but compared to how many acres will become developable, that is not the end of the world. There is an airport style x-ray conveyor and walk-thru metal detector at the front entrance and that is it for physical security.
Fattony -- 50 ft is plenty for explosion protection from the street + the usual stuff in the entrance area handles the people & hand carry

I was mostly talking about an underground "bunker" which might extend outside the visible footprint of the tower -- as it does currently

A perfectly viable functional design for the New Volpe beginning at the Corner of 3rd & Broadway:
  • wide sidewalk & small plaza with landscaped security garden extending toward the building
  • parking garage entrance and small outbuilding for loading and receiving along 3rd St.
  • 2 story Bunker & parking garage extending under landscaped security garden mostly along 3rd St.
  • 1 to 2 story lobby & auditorium pedestal mostly extending along 3rd St.
  • 20 story Tower situated as close as possible to Broadway with about avg. 20,000 gross sq ft per floor

The other major part of the redevelopment is to reestablish the street grid:
  • Potter realigned to extend Kendall from 3rd through 5th and on to an reconnected 6th
  • Monroe realigned to extend Linskey from 3rd through 5th and on to an reconnected 6th
  • 6th reconnecting Binney to Broadway with intersections @ 5th & 6th

This would create 5 new buildable blocks not counting the corner reserved for Volpe Gen 2.0

Last edited by whighlander; 01-06-2015 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 01-05-2015, 03:46 PM   #31
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

Of course the talks of land swaps to get Volpe out of the area in question would open the whole thing up to proper development.

From what I understood, Volpe wanted to stay in the area, but on this site in particular wasn't necessary.

5 buildable blocks on that property is still a gross underuse of the space. My guess has always been around 9 new buildings. I think some of the (three I believe) options for redeveloping this space agrees with that estimate.
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Old 01-06-2015, 06:13 PM   #32
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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Of course the talks of land swaps to get Volpe out of the area in question would open the whole thing up to proper development.

From what I understood, Volpe wanted to stay in the area, but on this site in particular wasn't necessary.

5 buildable blocks on that property is still a gross underuse of the space. My guess has always been around 9 new buildings. I think some of the (three I believe) options for redeveloping this space agrees with that estimate.
Seamus:

5 blocks -- some of those blocks are quite large and can easily support several development lots -- I would think there are at least 7 to 10 buildings + the newly relocated Volpe complex
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Old 01-07-2015, 06:42 AM   #33
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

I'd also be wary of too much new road construction through whatever it gets developed into. Keep them small, and not all of them need to support cars. They haven't for decades, and the area as a whole is doing fine. I find the whole campus to be more a hindrance to pedestrians and those getting around on foot or human powered wheels.

Right now there is just the north/south crossing for those walking from Broadway to Binney. East/west is a mess, and a long way around if you're down at 3rd.

Kendall should be careful and keep there car reliance down as they are becoming the reference for areas succeeding while reducing auto traffic over the last decade or two.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:40 AM   #34
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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I'd also be wary of too much new road construction through whatever it gets developed into. Keep them small, and not all of them need to support cars. They haven't for decades, and the area as a whole is doing fine. I find the whole campus to be more a hindrance to pedestrians and those getting around on foot or human powered wheels.

Right now there is just the north/south crossing for those walking from Broadway to Binney. East/west is a mess, and a long way around if you're down at 3rd.

Kendall should be careful and keep there car reliance down as they are becoming the reference for areas succeeding while reducing auto traffic over the last decade or two.
Seamus -- remember that there were streets long before there were cars and conceivably there may be streets long after personal cars -- as until we get to the Jetsons or Amazon gets some really big quadcopters -- big buildings will always need a continuing flow of stuff as well as people

The stuff arrives by truck and that means streets
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:33 PM   #35
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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Seamus -- remember that there were streets long before there were cars and conceivably there may be streets long after personal cars -- as until we get to the Jetsons or Amazon gets some really big quadcopters -- big buildings will always need a continuing flow of stuff as well as people

The stuff arrives by truck and that means streets
That is fine, let's just keep them small.
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Old 01-07-2015, 05:05 PM   #36
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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Seamus -- remember that there were streets long before there were cars and conceivably there may be streets long after personal cars -- as until we get to the Jetsons or Amazon gets some really big quadcopters -- big buildings will always need a continuing flow of stuff as well as people

The stuff arrives by truck and that means streets
Not necessarily... most college campuses have many buildings that are only accessible by truck by going on "shared streets" (wide sidwalks) through restricted bollards. Airgas makes tons of deliveries to MIT like this.
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Old 01-08-2015, 04:08 PM   #37
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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Not necessarily... most college campuses have many buildings that are only accessible by truck by going on "shared streets" (wide sidwalks) through restricted bollards. Airgas makes tons of deliveries to MIT like this.
Cozzy -- these are hardly "Wide Sidewalks" -- when you use the term sidewalks you attach the connotation of something like a minimally paved pathway of which there are many bordering and passing through various MIT green spaces

However, the "sidewalks" used for the delivery of compressed and liquid gases are officially "Fire Lanes" -- and are built to the standards sufficient to support multi ton trucks akin to municipal Streets -- and are Cambridge Streets -- by all but the simple fact that they are wholly contained on MIT property
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Old 01-09-2015, 07:11 AM   #38
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

Perhaps the best thing would be to relocate the bunker outside of the Kendall Square area. Get the program for the new Volpe down to stuff that doesn't require special security.
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:44 AM   #39
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

NY Times article.
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:40 AM   #40
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Re: Volpe Transportation Center Development Cambridge

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NY Times article.
Government expects to select a developer by spring 2015 and have the new transportation building by 2020...

Which obviously means longer than that, just look at the old courthouse redevelopment.
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