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Old 11-06-2006, 12:49 AM   #1
Sofla951
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A New City Hall? Maybe

Tobin: Mr. Menino, tear down that Hall
By Scott Van Voorhis
Boston Herald Business Reporter

Saturday, November 4, 2006 - Updated: 10:58 AM EST

The idea of bulldozing City Hall and selling off the land underneath to a developer is getting a thumbs up from one its more influential denizens.

Boston City Councilor John Tobin, who says working in the drafty and dim 1960s-era concrete bunker is no joy, is calling upon Mayor Thomas M. Menino to explore the possibility of demolishing one of the city?s top eyesores.

Tobin envisions a new, sleek modern City Hall being built in its place, but said he would also be open to developers interested in paying big money to redevelop the key stretch of downtown real estate.

?I would level the thing,? Tobin said. ?It?s a shame we have these hulking, brutalism era buildings.?

The councilor?s comments come after a Herald column that described interest on part of at least one downtown real estate executive in a deal to buy and redevelop the site. City Hall and the sprawling plaza in front of it are about 11 acres and have been valued by one top downtown real estate executive at more than $200 million.

The hulking structure opened in the late 1960s, part of a massive slum clearing drive that leveled colorful Scollay Square and nearly all of the West End. But City Hall has not aged well and is beset with problems ranging from leaks to windows that won?t open.

?I think they should entertain those offers,? Tobin said of possible interest by developers in the property.
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Old 11-06-2006, 02:10 AM   #2
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Re: A New City Hall? Maybe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sofla951
Tobin envisions a new, sleek modern City Hall being built in its place
I think we should NOT hire Morphosis for the job

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Old 11-06-2006, 02:19 AM   #3
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I like the idea someone once suggested: Let it become a private museum. Then the land around it could be sold off and developed so that the building would be shadowed by other buildings. Even though it is despised by many, it is still a famous example of a specific school or architecture. If it were hidden behind buildings, it would be available to the eyes to those who want to see it, but no forced so much on anyone.
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Old 11-06-2006, 06:53 AM   #4
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Re: A New City Hall? Maybe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sofla951
Tobin envisions a new, sleek modern City Hall being built in its place

And then in 40 years we can rip down that piece of crap and build a newer one!
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Old 11-06-2006, 08:41 AM   #5
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When Tobin is elected mayor, there's a good chance he'll try to make this happen. I think he's in a pretty good position to succeed Menino.
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Old 11-06-2006, 08:48 AM   #6
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Tear down City Hall and the Plaza and bring back the old street grid as much as possible.
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Old 11-06-2006, 09:23 AM   #7
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could be interesting to see proposals.
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Old 11-06-2006, 06:41 PM   #8
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Tobin: bad idea.

The Bostonian: good idea.
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Old 11-07-2006, 09:17 AM   #9
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100% agree with TheBostonian and ablarc. City Hall would be a great sculpture museum, especially if returned to its original open floor plan.
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Old 11-07-2006, 09:29 AM   #10
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Is there a way to intregrate it with Congress St a little better? As it is right now, it's a little less than 'friendly'.
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Old 11-07-2006, 11:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfectHandle
100% agree with TheBostonian and ablarc. City Hall would be a great sculpture museum, especially if returned to its original open floor plan.
And if some of the burned out light bulbs were replaced.

I honestly think City Hall is purposely kept in a state of dark, miserable decrepitude to convey to unions seeking raises that the city is near busted.
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Old 11-07-2006, 11:13 AM   #12
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Is there a way to intregrate it with Congress St a little better? As it is right now, it's a little less than 'friendly'.
Yes. They should remove the executive garage behind the brick wall and open it up as retail space on Congress St. Maybe with inset storefronts and a covered pedestrian walkway.
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Old 11-07-2006, 11:30 AM   #13
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ablarc once mentioned that Congress St should be narrowed. I can see the appeal in such a move but how would you redevelop along the street? A new row of buildings on each side? Boxing in Faneuil Hall and creating a more enclosed plaza around the Sam Adams statue might be nice. What could be done on the City Hall side?
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Old 11-07-2006, 11:32 AM   #14
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There should be a 24-hour covered indoor escalator between Congress Street and City Hall Plaza.

I don't agree with "boxing in" Faneuil Hall. It has the proper amount of prominence now.
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Old 11-07-2006, 04:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Newman
There should be a 24-hour covered indoor escalator between Congress Street and City Hall Plaza.
This is a good idea, Ron -- let's take it to a logical (and beneficial) conclusion...(Sure it'll cost tons of cash, but so do most things worth doing in an historic city like Boston)

Let's build Ron's escalator, but have it go underground to a passage beneath ablarc's narrowed Congress Street...Beneath the cobblestone plaza, 24-hour retail/dining, with an underground walkway to the State Street T...on the City Hall side of Congress, shopping arcade (at or below grade) leading to Government Center...Don't think it can be done? Visit Kyoto...

And City Hall: Have Foster, Renzo or Zaha fix what ails it (radical changes are needed)...Tearing it down would be an an architectural infamy...
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Old 11-08-2006, 01:30 PM   #16
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Don't think it can be done? Visit Kyoto...
No need to go so far, just visit Montreal or New York and you'll find a similar thing.
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Old 11-08-2006, 03:32 PM   #17
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There is nothing wrong with Brutalist architecture as long as it is built where it belongs, or at the very least is designed with its surroundings in mind. Government Center is neither.

I vote for tearing it down and replacing the whole plaza with human scale buildings and street patterns. They should reconnect Hanover Street with Cambridge Street and try to blend the North End, Quincy Market, and Govt. Center together as much as they can. Maybe they get get some ideas from this.

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Old 11-08-2006, 05:32 PM   #18
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Maybe they get get some ideas from this.
Haha, ouch!
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Old 11-08-2006, 11:39 PM   #19
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When was photo taken

What year would you say the photo was taken?
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Old 11-09-2006, 02:13 AM   #20
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Photo, updated (1)

Hmm. I was curious which streets still existed, in that photo.

Most of the photo is of the North End, which, fifty (sixty, eighty?) years' later, looks about the same.

That huge water tank is gone. I think there is a school playground there, now?

If you look closely at the photo, you can see the North / South rail link, I think. It's a shame that went away!

Faneuil Hall is still here, today. So is Lincoln Wharf (the old MBTA power station, in the upper right-hand corner).

In the older photo, Hanover Street continues on through Scollay Square.

Do I have all the street names right? I'm confused about Merrimac / Portland - Merrimac curves into Haymarket Square, but if I do that, there's nowhere to put Portland.


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