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Old 09-24-2018, 02:01 PM   #281
Beton Brut
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Re: Kenmore Square North

I'm so sorry to miss this, but I'll be at a conflicting BPDA meeting in East Boston that I'll be posting about in Events shortly.

I hope others are available to attend and hold Related/Beal to account. Good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drubinoff View Post
Interestingly, professor Sara Wermiel has stated that 541 Commonwealth is one of the few surviving building in Boston which used the innovative Roebling fireproof floor construction system.
^ Fascinating detail, and more evidence that there's more to a building than how it looks...
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Old 09-24-2018, 05:09 PM   #282
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Re: Kenmore Square North

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Folks, back to 541 Commonwealth Avenue, "The Westgate", the western gateway to both Kenmore Square and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, with the other bookend being the Public Garden:

The Design Committee of the Boston Civic Design Commission will meet tomorrow (Tuesday, September 25, 2018) with the following agenda:
@5:00pm City Hall Room #937A 144 Addison Street
@6:00pm City Hall Room #933A Kenmore Square (North) Development
All are welcome to attend. I would strongly encourage those of you interested in seeing 541 Commonwealth preserved within Related Beal's proposed development to attend and speak in favor of preservation; there will be an opportunity for you to comment. It's appreciated...and necessary!

Interestingly, professor Sara Wermiel has stated that 541 Commonwealth is one of the few surviving building in Boston which used the innovative Roebling fireproof floor construction system.
The Roebling who built the Brooklyn Bridge???? I'd say that would make this building even more historically significant.

I wish I could be there, but I live in Maryland and have soccer league/school afflicted children. Please folks, if you're in the area and don't have pressing family matters tomorrow night, lend your voice!!!!
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Old 09-26-2018, 04:21 PM   #283
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Re: Kenmore Square North

Any update on the meeting?
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:08 PM   #284
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Re: Kenmore Square North

Globe....

Citgo Sign debate but nothing about 543 Comm Ave...

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business...ciO/story.html

Last edited by odurandina; 10-09-2018 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:21 PM   #285
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Re: Kenmore Square North

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Globe....

Citgo Sign debate but nothing about 543 Comm Ave...

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business...ciO/story.html
I am likely in the minority but I would like to see the Citgo sign join the cows and cactus from the Hilltop Steak House in some kitsch museum, preferably in Western Massachusetts.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:18 PM   #286
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Re: Kenmore Square North

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I am likely in the minority but I would like to see the Citgo sign join the cows and cactus from the Hilltop Steak House in some kitsch museum, preferably in Western Massachusetts.
You're not alone, I too could care less if it goes. Nothing remarkable about it.
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:12 PM   #287
Proposition Joe
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Re: Kenmore Square North

The Citgo Sign is the only interesting thing left in Kenmore Square.
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:43 PM   #288
stefalarchitect
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Re: Kenmore Square North

If the citgo sign goes, how likely is it that Related Beal will change their plans? The building with the sign was sold to Related too, was it not? I'm honestly a bit against this project as a whole, only because I'm attached to all of the buildings it is replacing. They have really quirky insides, with a long history too. Even the admittedly ugly and outdated NESOP building. But not the citgo sign. I couldn't care less, honestly.
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:49 AM   #289
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Re: Kenmore Square North

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You're not alone, I too could care less if it goes. Nothing remarkable about it.
Remarkably dumb to keep the Citgo=murder sign. I like having a big sign there, just make it a Boston RedSox sign.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:01 AM   #290
Justin7
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Re: Kenmore Square North

Has anyone here considered applying for a seat on the commission?

https://www.boston.gov/departments/l...ommission-info
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Old 10-10-2018, 11:26 AM   #291
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Re: Kenmore Square North

The Citgo sign is staying for the next 30 years at least with the new development. The question at hand is whether or not it becomes permanently protected forever.
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Old 10-11-2018, 01:50 PM   #292
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Re: Kenmore Square North

wtf.... really disappointed.

http://boston.siretechnologies.com/s...doctype=AGENDA

"Request authorization to schedule a Public Hearing on November 15, 2018 at 5:50 p.m.; or at a date and time to be determined by the Director, to consider the Development Plan fort Planned Development Area No. 121, Kenmore Square Redevelopment; and, to consider as a Development Impact Project."

http://boston.siretechnologies.com/s...a&itemid=28405
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Old 10-11-2018, 02:49 PM   #293
tangent
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Re: Kenmore Square North

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The Citgo sign is staying for the next 30 years at least with the new development. The question at hand is whether or not it becomes permanently protected forever.
Last time I checked (last week I think) Citgo doesn't have a lease with the owners and Citgo is likely about to be liquidated to Venezuela's creditors. I would be surprised if they are going to be making a new multi-million dollar advertising deals at the moment.

I'd give Citgo a 33% of still being a viable brand in a year. Either Venezuela hangs on to ownership and the company faces increasing sanctions in the US and brand damage, or they fight it out in court and the brand suffers... or they sell and it depends what the new owners want to do with the company.
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Old 10-11-2018, 04:06 PM   #294
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Re: Kenmore Square North

Agreed.

With due respect, That's not what it's entirely about.

i'm sympathetic to this point of view. But i also recognize that it holds beloved status with enough people that i'm happy with keeping it.

But the idea that its sightlines can't be obscured by highrise urbanization in the Fenway is utter bullcrap.
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Old 10-20-2018, 04:27 PM   #295
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Re: Kenmore Square North

Hi Everyone,

We have what I understand to be a final public hearing with the BPDA this Monday, October 22, at 6 pm. The meeting will be held at 565 Commonwealth Avenue.

I need to strongly encourage any of you who can attend to please do, because both Alison Pultinas and I have conflicts Monday night and can’t attend. This is frustrating, but I don’t think I can move my other commitments.

To update you, we have been working on pressuring Related Beal and those involved with their project’s approval to push for the preservation and adaptive reuse of 541 Commonwealth Avenue. There are creative approaches the development team could undertake to integrate the beautiful facade of 541 Commonwealth in a way that would augment their proposed development; Boston Preservation Alliance and members of the Boston Landmarks Commission have amplified our call to Related Beal for integration of the existing 541 Commonwealth facade.


So far we’ve generally received a “silently listening” response, which means they are just waiting it out. Boston Landmarks did not accept our petition (over 30 people signed, mostly Kenmore residents) because the building, in their view, did not meet state standards for regional or national significance. Never mind that “The Westgate”, as the building is called, is the western gateway to both Kenmore Square and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, bookended on its other end by the Boston Common.

This is going to take more pressure than we’ve been able to exercise so far with our limited resources (including time). It’s necessary for your to act, if you are able. Katherine Greeenough has been rallying the Audubon Circle Neighborhood Association, but we need your help.

I would strongly encourage all of you to attend and speak at the meeting, if you can. Furthermore, if you can make time, please consider doing any (or all) of the following:
  • Reach out to your city councilors
  • Write the Globe
  • Contact the BPDA; Tim Czerwienski is the contact, tim.czerwienski@boston.gov
  • Contact Boston Preservation Alliance, Alison Frazee (afrazee@bostonpreservation.org)
  • Contact other local media to bring attention to this story
  • Contact Related Beal
Make noise!

I’ve attached below my grouping of key talking points about this building. Let me know if I can answer any questions or take your suggestions. Thank you so much for your efforts, they shape the city we share.

Appreciatively,

Derek Rubinoff, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB
inquiries@derekrubinoff.com


Important notes re: 541 Commonwealth, “The Westgate”


• Many of the letters of support to the BPDA shown in the Request for Supplemental Information Document are form letters signed by people in communities far away from the square.
• Architect Arthur Vinal
o Was the Boston City Architect from 1884 thru 1887
o Designed this and the Belvoir at 636 Beacon are the two oldest buildings in Kenmore Square
 The 6-storey scale of the Westgate is echoed in the Buckminster Hotel diagonally across.
o Chestnut Hill Pumping station (Boston) and Fisher Hill Gatehouse (Brookline) are both protected by preservation easement and the pumping station is a Boston Landmark
 Fisher Hill won a preservation award in 2017 from the Massachusetts Historical Preservation Commission
o Dennis De Witt wrote a book about the Pumping Station and Vinal’s work
o Back Bay Fire and former Police Station on Boylston St., (formerly ICA, now BAC Annex)
o Dorchester Temple Baptist Church
o Globe Theater, 690 Washington St.
o Ashmont Hill mansions
o Back Bay Houses
o Also designed several significant buildings elsewhere in New England
 Methodist Church; Farmington, ME
 Bangor Opera House; Bangor, ME
 Mt Kineo House Hotel; Moosehead Lake, ME
 Calais Free Library; Calais, ME
 Franklin Buildings; Portsmouth, NH
• Significance of 541 Commonwealth
o The Westgate acts as both a bookend and a gateway to the square, and is identifiably Bostonian, which the proposed replacement is not.
 The character of 541 Commonwealth is particularly significant given the loss of other Victorian buildings for the Hotel Commonwealth
 A bookend to Back Bay architecture, as well as the square and the terminus of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, one of the most beautiful civic masterpieces in America
 Highly visible to both a local and tourist audience due to its proximity to Fenway Park transit
o An excellent example of Victorian Bostonian multifamily architecture
 Innovative use of copper bays integrated with stone and yellow brick
 Building is beautiful both the scale of the square and the pedestrian
o One of the first multifamily buildings in Boston with an elevator
o Originally residences for important doctors and attorneys
o BAA and Olympic runner Lloyd Hahn was living there as of 1927
• Concerned citizens
o Audubon Circle Neighborhood Association is concerned
 Kathy Greenough and others
o Several other individuals
• Issue of deterioration
o BU, which owned the block from 1987-2016, was required by the Massachusetts Historical Commission to create a preservation plan and to proactively protect significant historical properties
 The 2006 plan recommended NRIND status for 541 Commonwealth Ave.
 MHC recommended a National Register District including this building
 Boston Landmarks Commission historian Roysin Younkin, in a letter, concurred with the MHC and including the Kenmore NRDIS in that recommendation as well.
 The state’s MOA with BU required proper maintenance for the historic properties
• Instead, at 541 Commonwealth, BU left the interior upper floors abandoned. BU’s neglect is the reason for their deterioration.
• Proposal
o Related Beal should find an innovative way to preserve the façade and integrate it into their proposed building.



Derek Rubinoff, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB
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Old 10-20-2018, 06:19 PM   #296
theSil
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Re: Kenmore Square North

I want to express a sincere thank you Derek for the work you've done thus far. I no longer live in Boston so won't be able to attend the hearing, but I will be emailing and encourage everyone else to do what they can.
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Old 10-20-2018, 07:39 PM   #297
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Re: Kenmore Square North

i will be back in Boston for November's Board meeting....

Madam Secretary, Director Golden, etc;

It runs a few seconds over.

Members of the public sometimes offer ideas that appear 'half baked' to a seasoned Architect. But, a correction mid-course can be the determining factor that carries a project over the finish line--where the City, developer and future tenants all win.

As proposed, the design inflicts unnecessary damage to Kenmore Square & Boston. It risks undue resentment blowing back to Related Beal and the BPDA.

Cut the corner facade into sections, remove and reinstall it with a mason's skilled hands to achieve the taller floor to floor height. Build an extra floor on one of the buildings to allow Related to achieve their economic objectives. i urge the Board to table final approval to allow the developer to devise an elegant facadectomy, or such reasons that rule it out.

...

Last edited by odurandina; 10-21-2018 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 10-21-2018, 06:54 PM   #298
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Re: Kenmore Square North

Thank you Derek, if registration to this forum wasnt closed, it might be easier to get more eyes on this
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Old 10-21-2018, 11:46 PM   #299
Beton Brut
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Re: Kenmore Square North

I'm going to do my best to be there tomorrow evening. I hope the turnout is at least as good as the last meeting that I attended in late August.

Derek, thank you for your research efforts and advocacy.
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Old 10-22-2018, 11:09 AM   #300
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Re: Kenmore Square North

Great to hear and thank you all!
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