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Old 01-18-2018, 09:17 AM   #3641
datadyne007
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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As for getting taller, only if market forces, geology and the FAA allow it. Never for its own sake, and never at the cost of the street level.
This.

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I don't think any of this is realistic though while at the same time completely agreeing with the key point. To me the solution is better transit access to less costly places. In Boston, as shitty as the MBTA is, you can ride the train from Worcester or Fitchburg or Brockton or Haverhill to name a few and get to a job in Boston. Why everyone now feels the need to cram into an already crammed city I'll never know but I don't feel massive new subsidies are the answer when there's plenty of relatively affordable places 30 miles away. I'd rather use that money to increase the reliability of service and in some limited cases expand the service (Blue line to Lynn for example).
Living 30 miles away might allow you to take the T to work, but that's literally the only thing you can access via public transit. Living 30 miles away means car dependence; you must use your car to get everywhere else - fast food, restaurants, stores, groceries, pharmacy, schools, doctor, etc.
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:26 AM   #3642
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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Living 30 miles away might allow you to take the T to work, but that's literally the only thing you can access via public transit. Living 30 miles away means car dependence; you must use your car to get everywhere else - groceries, pharmacy, schools, doctor, etc.
Agreed. Aside from the moral implications of just allowing market forces to push everyone further away (not just from their jobs but their friends, their family, and vital services, as Data points out), funneling the money into transit is a very indirect way of addressing the problem. Expanding transit service also drives up prices in areas with easy transit access, especially in areas that didn't have service before, so in many cases the transit-subsidy approach will hurt the people it's meant to help.
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:33 AM   #3643
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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This.
Living 30 miles away might allow you to take the T to work, but that's literally the only thing you can access via public transit. Living 30 miles away means car dependence; you must use your car to get everywhere else - groceries, pharmacy, schools, doctor, etc.
Malibu Cars & Coffee....
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:16 AM   #3644
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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Malibu Cars & Coffee....
When you don't have anything useful to add, did you know you don't have to say anything?

Just want to say that we've seen this play all the way out before. Suburbs only seem to work in this country when the wealthy flee cities to escape from black people and immigrants. Otherwise we're condemning people to lower-quality lives, literally farther away from centers of opportunity and access to markets.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:11 PM   #3645
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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This.



Living 30 miles away might allow you to take the T to work, but that's literally the only thing you can access via public transit. Living 30 miles away means car dependence; you must use your car to get everywhere else - fast food, restaurants, stores, groceries, pharmacy, schools, doctor, etc.
True. However I put this on the suburbs and small cities which got commuter rail in the last few decades and have done nothing at all to capitalize on it with TOD and amenities that allow for real downtown again with the things you mention.

Also to blame in some of those towns and cities was the piss poor locations of some of the stations which require large parking area due to all the cars needed to get there.

My city is the former. One downtown stop and two more in population center already, but no new development to allow for walk to train (work), and stores or restaurants in the area to stop at on the walk home. Even making it a bedroom community with hundreds or thousands of walkable apartment would be acceptable if they don't court businesses of their own.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:48 PM   #3646
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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True. However I put this on the suburbs and small cities which got commuter rail in the last few decades and have done nothing at all to capitalize on it with TOD and amenities that allow for real downtown again with the things you mention.
Needham soon?
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:50 PM   #3647
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

The commuter rail isn't frequent enough for TOD.

That's why we need the NSRL, electrification, and increased frequencies.
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Old 01-18-2018, 07:46 PM   #3648
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

Needham has a pleasant downtown, and Masala Art and Copley MotorCars are happy destinations.
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Old 01-18-2018, 08:21 PM   #3649
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

Time to lock this one again ?
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:11 AM   #3650
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

Since at least there is something going on with this I don't see the use in closing the thread. It's too far off the rails to do anything about.
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:10 AM   #3651
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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Agreed. Aside from the moral implications of just allowing market forces to push everyone further away (not just from their jobs but their friends, their family, and vital services, as Data points out), funneling the money into transit is a very indirect way of addressing the problem. Expanding transit service also drives up prices in areas with easy transit access, especially in areas that didn't have service before, so in many cases the transit-subsidy approach will hurt the people it's meant to help.
Let me get this straight. You think we should have less transit?

Look, I appreciate the utopia you describe where people get to live in the same place of their choosing with all their family and friends around, but reality is nobody is entitled to that and your friend and family tend to move (or pass on) over time. I don't think Mayberry is something we all need to aspire to frankly. Yes, the cold hard facts of life is some people will no longer be able to afford the place they grew up in. That's been happening since people first started living in cities I suppose. Its not the governments job to subsidize this. In many cases people are able to cash out as their property values have skyrocketed and they collect a windfall as well. If my parents had bought property in the town I currently live in 50 years ago, I'd worry less about being priced out and more about where I'm going to invest the 1M profit we all reaped from the jump in housing values over that time.
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:33 AM   #3652
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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Let me get this straight. You think we should have less transit?

Look, I appreciate the utopia you describe where people get to live in the same place of their choosing with all their family and friends around, but reality is nobody is entitled to that and your friend and family tend to move (or pass on) over time. I don't think Mayberry is something we all need to aspire to frankly. Yes, the cold hard facts of life is some people will no longer be able to afford the place they grew up in. That's been happening since people first started living in cities I suppose. Its not the governments job to subsidize this. In many cases people are able to cash out as their property values have skyrocketed and they collect a windfall as well. If my parents had bought property in the town I currently live in 50 years ago, I'd worry less about being priced out and more about where I'm going to invest the 1M profit we all reaped from the jump in housing values over that time.
I can see why you're confused, and to remedy that I suggest you pay attention next time, and if you're confused and you don't understand what someone is saying, then maybe you could communicate with less attitude, and without ascribing "utopia" strawmen to them?

We were discussing what to do with a hypothetical increase in government subsidies. Someone else and I suggested that money needs to go to housing and someone else suggested it be put into rail. I explained why throwing that extra money into rail would be counter-productive for the stated purpose, which was dealing with the housing crisis, not creating a communist utopia, which seems to be the go-to accusation whenever free market types hear anything that doesn't sound like a Milton Friedman wet dream.

No one said or implied anything about reducing transit. No one is saying that prices have to be frozen or that people have a right to live exactly where they want whenever they want for whatever price they want, only that the current system is deeply unfair and damaging to far too many people. There's no "cash out" for most of them: the vast majority are renters because they can't afford to buy a home, and the current system forces them to rent farther and farther away--in most cases reducing their opportunity, which further compounds the problem.

I don't subscribe to your notion that it's "not the government's job" to subsidize housing, and neither do many others. You state that opinion as if it's a fact, and you dismiss widespread hardship with cliches ("the cold hard facts of life") and vague hand-waving about people moving around since the beginning of time, and you do it from a place of comfort, no less. It's great that the system has worked out for you, but for lots of other people it really doesn't work, and some of us think it is the government's job to do something about that.
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:37 AM   #3653
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

I'm not sure how else to interpret this quote from you: "so in many cases the transit-subsidy approach will hurt the people it's meant to help." How is that not a call for less spending on mass transit because in your opinion its hurting the people its meant to help? So, yes I am confused all snark aside.

When dealing with a housing crisis, you have limited options. First, you can build more houses. That's a problem in Boston because of limited land area and there is no fix unless we start filling in the harbor. Next you can subsidize housing. The problem you have here is that its a drop in the bucket approach that will benefit relatively few people. The state or city doesn't have the money to pay developers to build 100,000 low income dwellings.

So, what you're left with in terms of bang for your buck is bringing efficient (a key word) public transit to already populated places (ranging from Waltham, Braintree, Quincy, Brockton, Taunton, etc). That way lower income people can relocate to a place they can afford, while at the same time maintaining access to the job center of the state (Boston). Now, will a handful of people have to move to the other side of town because property prices near the train stations increase? Sure, I suppose that may happen, but you know what? You can't design a policy to please every single person or nothing will ever get done. If your friends are truly good friends, they'll still keep up with you even if you move a couple of towns over.

A few other notes: Milton Friedman was a fucking idiot and GOP hack, and my place of comfort was earned, not given to me.
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:56 AM   #3654
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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This.

Living 30 miles away might allow you to take the T to work, but that's literally the only thing you can access via public transit. Living 30 miles away means car dependence; you must use your car to get everywhere else - fast food, restaurants, stores, groceries, pharmacy, schools, doctor, etc.
Unless you manage to live in an urban neighborhood of another city, such as Worcester, Salem, Lowell, etc.
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Old 01-19-2018, 10:27 AM   #3655
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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I'm not sure how else to interpret this quote from you: "so in many cases the transit-subsidy approach will hurt the people it's meant to help." How is that not a call for less spending on mass transit because in your opinion its hurting the people its meant to help? So, yes I am confused all snark aside.

When dealing with a housing crisis, you have limited options. First, you can build more houses. That's a problem in Boston because of limited land area and there is no fix unless we start filling in the harbor. Next you can subsidize housing. The problem you have here is that its a drop in the bucket approach that will benefit relatively few people. The state or city doesn't have the money to pay developers to build 100,000 low income dwellings.

So, what you're left with in terms of bang for your buck is bringing efficient (a key word) public transit to already populated places (ranging from Waltham, Braintree, Quincy, Brockton, Taunton, etc). That way lower income people can relocate to a place they can afford, while at the same time maintaining access to the job center of the state (Boston). Now, will a handful of people have to move to the other side of town because property prices near the train stations increase? Sure, I suppose that may happen, but you know what? You can't design a policy to please every single person or nothing will ever get done. If your friends are truly good friends, they'll still keep up with you even if you move a couple of towns over.

A few other notes: Milton Friedman was a fucking idiot and GOP hack, and my place of comfort was earned, not given to me.
I think it makes sense if you read the conversation in sequence. It was a discussion about what approach to take: some people proposed government subsidizing housing construction and rents, then you countered with a transit-oriented approach. I suppose you can make an argument that it's not clear that this was about extra money, but then in that case you can ask, and not assume that people mean taking money away from transit. (For the record, I'm all for expanding the transit system. We're way behind compared to Europe. I just don't think it should be prioritized over housing at the moment.)

About the housing crisis: Boston doesn't really have a shortage of land, just a system that (in my opinion) chokes off development both by being too market-oriented and, in some areas, being over-regulated. So I would counter that with better zoning to encourage development, and massive government subsidies for construction and rents. You're right that local taxation wouldn't work because it would drive away people and employers who want to maximize their wealth. I'd favor a federal approach: tax increases on the rich, and a context-driven system of distribution based on local factors.

And just noting again that you're resorting to strawmen: no one's is talking about designing "a policy to please every single person". In fact, I doubt my policy choices would please rich people, but since they're quite pleased at the moment and are generally pleased whatever the moment, why not displease them for a change?

Finally, of course you're right about Friedman, and whether you feel you "earned" your comfort or not has nothing to do with the point I was making. (The question of "earned" in a capitalist system is circular anyway. The marketplace says Warren Buffet "earned" his billions; I don't think he did.) The system worked for you, whether you worked for your money or inherited it. It doesn't work for a lot of others.

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Old 01-19-2018, 12:40 PM   #3656
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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Appreciate all these comments of yours. I think this here is a key point: there really is no market solution for people who don't make a decent amount of money. Sane, modern urban zoning and government-subsidized housing and rent (spread around new development, not in discrete, sequestered projects) is the only answer to the housing crisis.
Completely agree.

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I don't think any of this is realistic though while at the same time completely agreeing with the key point. To me the solution is better transit access to less costly places. In Boston, as shitty as the MBTA is, you can ride the train from Worcester or Fitchburg or Brockton or Haverhill to name a few and get to a job in Boston. Why everyone now feels the need to cram into an already crammed city I'll never know but I don't feel massive new subsidies are the answer when there's plenty of relatively affordable places 30 miles away. I'd rather use that money to increase the reliability of service and in some limited cases expand the service (Blue line to Lynn for example).
Transit is one of two major solutions, the other is what GW suggests above: modern urban zoning plus subsidies to the less well-off (and not segregating the less well-off from everyone else by clustering them into giant housing projects). We can't simply rely on one, we need to do both.
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Old 01-26-2018, 05:32 PM   #3657
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

If you plan to attend a meeting this year to ask a developer, 'wtf are you doing, and what is this shit?' or possibly read the original RFP

this might be it....

http://www.bostonplans.org/news-cale...-group-meeting

Impact Advisory Group (IAG) 115 Winthrop Square

Feb 01, 2018 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
BPDA Board Room, Boston City Hall, 9th floor, Room 900

Contact: Casey Ann Hines 617.918.4244
Email: Casey.A.Hines@Boston.gov


http://www.bostonplans.org/news-cale...ission-meeting

Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC)

Feb 06, 2018 5:15 PM - 7:05 PM
BPDA Board Room, Boston City Hall, 9th floor, Room 900

Contact: David Carlson 617.918.4284
Email: David.Carlson@Boston.gov



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...this building is very cutting edge. The future is about sustainable design and this building incorporates innovative approaches to sustainability as well as other design features that make it very cutting edge for a skyscraper....

Shape and form are not the only things that make a project cutting edge, but if you look at the top of the tower and the bottom of the tower, you will see that it is far from a simple rectangle with an appendage along the side. From the terrace-like form at the top, to the cut outs of the tower at the bottom, to the appendage along its side providing express elevator service to which the "spire" is attached, this building has its share of idiosyncrasies to make it a unique object as well. While not cutting edge in this sense, the visual interest is enhanced by the use of glass with visible structural elements from bottom to top.

I think that it will be a breathtaking addition to the Boston skyline, if it is constructed. I don't know whether it will be, or in what ways the design will be modified if it is, but I certainly hope that it is built - and built in a manner that retains the essence of the proposed design.

my letter to the developer and City

115 Fed/Winthrop Garage

At some point we receded from greatness to become a stodgy, obsessive community in our architectural pursuits.

A bit over a decade ago, the Menino Administration determined the crumbling Winthrop Square garage was one of the best sites in Downtown Boston ideal for the construction of a tower rising above 400~450 feet. But, Tom Menino also determined this site was very important – because he knew it was one of the only places left in Boston where it would be appropriate to build a true skyscraper eclipsing 200m (656.2 feet). He tacitly declared this site off limits for building a run-of-the-mill highrise by declaring exactly the inverse;

On February 17th, 2006, addressing the business community, Menino called for the construction of the city's tallest building ever: topping 1,100 feet at the Winthrop Garage to demonstrate Boston's economic might on the world stage.

''We'll be looking for proposals that symbolize the full scope of this city's greatness... We will insist on bold vision and world-class architecture."

Unfortunately, not long after, the FAA instructed the Menino Admn that they could build only to about 750' but no higher. A short time later, the Great Recession hit, and the project went stale.

The Walsh Administration is carrying on Tom Menino's plan; basically treating the Winthrop Square Garage as a 'legacy' site for an iconic skyscraper. And they should be. The site rises above the very high bar set by the City for a 'true skyscraper.'

Consider a bar of 200 meters. We've built only 3 in our City's history. If you lower the bar to the lowest standard of a true skyscraper (180m), we've eclipsed this threshold only 8 times in the City's history.

We don't have many of these sites left in Boston that rise to this elite status. After running through a long list of criteria beginning with underground right of ways, infrastructure, FAA restrictions, shadow considerations, then, moving on to historic preservation including the historical significance of abutters, step ups, etc – there's almost nothing left that works.

The Boston regional economy is seeing exceptional growth. Boston's peer cities are not only growing, but (exponentially) in height and design... while Boston stagnates dismally.

Soon, the only significant parcels left in the core of Boston (might be) a few approved low highrises, with many left unbuilt. i find this state of affairs in a major American city, especially one with the economic status of Boston stunning.

It is now going past 12 years. We thought we were (finally) going to add something unique and beautiful to the Downtown Core at Winthrop Square. But now, Millennium Partners is planing build something completely different than what they originally presented to the public;

Millennium sold an acceptable design (while closing the space above ground off from the public) on the strength of the substantial public benefits.

They have withdrawn the original tower design, slashed the height (3 times) – and substituted it with a bland building that clearly does not meet the standard of the stature, urban size, eminence, or economic significance of Boston for its signature downtown Tower.

As one observer writes, "Not only did they knock the height down several times, [when the original purpose was to build something incredibly tall] but, then they took every architectural step to make it appear shorter than it is, while widening the upper portion of the tower. We need vertical lines–not grouped together windows. This parcel needs to show its height; its not Allston...."

Another observer coins, "a '70s background building in the opening for the 'Bob Newhart' show... The first and second designs are much different, better and more elegant than the latest."

We should keep the promises made to all the beneficiaries. But, also keep the promises made to the people of Boston that something truly great would be built here. What is now being presented is ill-designed to meet the future. We need a much better/more-beautiful design.

Business is good. Millennium Partners and Boston already possess the needed additional funds from this unprecedented boom. MP and Boston must consent to a deal to improve the massing and curtain wall at Winthrop Square.

Millennium Partners and Boston must demonstrate to America and area residents that we can do the right thing – and deliver a skyscraper worthy of the people of Boston... despite that they will never set foot above the first floor.

.

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Old 01-30-2018, 05:03 PM   #3658
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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So this could be a 115 Winthrop bait and switch.....
http://www.bostonplans.org/news-cale...-group-meeting

Impact Advisory Group (IAG) 115 Winthrop Square

tomorrow


Feb 01, 2018 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
BPDA Board Room, Boston City Hall, 9th floor, Room 900

Contact: Casey Ann Hines 617.918.4244
Email: Casey.A.Hines@Boston.gov
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Old 01-30-2018, 09:07 PM   #3659
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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tomorrow
Thursday...
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Old 01-30-2018, 09:20 PM   #3660
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Thursday...
https://youtu.be/kfVsfOSbJY0
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