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Old 06-27-2016, 05:45 PM   #881
CSTH
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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We've had no air rights development in Boston since 1983...
To the contrary - I think it's instructive to describe the new buildings in the bullfinch triangle as 'air rights' projects.

Without the tunnel roof, I-93 in that part of the town would look a LOT like I-90 between allston and the channel. The differences of course are that for the CA/T project, the state (/feds) decided to build the deck / roof ahead of time and then lease it out - and the tunnel walls were built to be load-bearing from before day 1, because they had to hold up the old artery.

(And fwiw, Terminal A, Atlantic Wharf, and part of City Square in Charlestown are also both built on top of CA/T tunnels)

As we've seen, that set up lends itself to construction that is more than competitive with 'terra firma' work - in fact in a lot of ways it is easier and faster (because the 'foundation' is already in place.)

The lack of air rights development on the pike is a big missed opportunity for the state, and should be something close to a scandal (..the opportunity cost of idle assets is just as much a waste of 'money' as unproductive spending would be....imagine "State Spends $150M a Year to Prevent Development of New 'Pike Greenway").

The only reason we put up with a highway tearing though the heart of town is that we're numb to it after all these years (and no I don't think the tracks that were there for decades before were nearly as disruptive as the highway is). The old artery gets all the attention; but the pike is very similar - and the wound is still open.
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Old 06-27-2016, 09:23 PM   #882
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

Dump this developer immediately. State should co-partner with an established kingpin like Millennium. Ensure Millennium doesn't lose money on it, or even guarentee a modest profit, with Millennium also being allowed to reap profits above the minimum - ending the 33 year air-rights dought.
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:04 AM   #883
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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Dump this developer immediately. State should co-partner with an established kingpin like Millennium. Ensure Millennium doesn't lose money on it, or even guarentee a modest profit, with Millennium also being allowed to reap profits above the minimum - ending the 33 year air-rights dought.
Wow, make the losses public but the profits private! What a novel idea. I'm sure people would buy into that!
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:49 AM   #884
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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It's a gamble. Those parking lots are valuable land and I'm sure other developers would be willing to develop them if Rosenthal walked away. We might get something worse than the first phase that Rosenthal is proposing, though.
Might as well rebid the project as just the first phase unless they can negotiate a penalty (lien on the first phase) in case of failure to complete the full development in 15 years of something like that.
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:26 AM   #885
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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The lack of air rights development on the pike is a big missed opportunity for the state, and should be something close to a scandal (..the opportunity cost of idle assets is just as much a waste of 'money' as unproductive spending would be....imagine "State Spends $150M a Year to Prevent Development of New 'Pike Greenway").

The only reason we put up with a highway tearing though the heart of town is that we're numb to it after all these years (and no I don't think the tracks that were there for decades before were nearly as disruptive as the highway is). The old artery gets all the attention; but the pike is very similar - and the wound is still open.
No, the reason we put up with it is because it's economically unfeasible to build there when there are better sites elsewhere in the city. Boston is hardly the only city to have a highway canyon, and honestly the Turnpike is less disruptive to the urban fabric than a lot of those others. When walking between Kenmore and Fenway, for instance, you hardly notice it.

I don't disagree that "priming the pump" by building initial infrastructure helps development along, but the CA/T were a much bigger project of which the structural supports were such a minor piece that I wasn't even aware they'd built them until recently.

Also, what is the "missed opportunity" for the State here? They'd be spending $200M or so for zero return. They also still think they can get air rights done on their most important parcels around Hynes and Mass. Ave, with the Viola headed for approval and construction over the next couple of years. As a taxpayer in MA, do I want $200M that could be spent on deficient bridges or the Core MBTA going to deck the Pike, an aesthetic exercise that we already know the market doesn't support? The City doesn't have the warewithal to pay it either, and given the state of the schools, nor should they.

If MassDOT were to start working on a PPP to work with developers and invest a relatively small amount of State funds in a way that aligns with the bridge replacements they're going to have to do on that trench in the next ten years, that would make sense. I definitely don't think it's a "scandal" that MassDOT isn't diverting statewide transportation funds to beautify the South End.
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:28 AM   #886
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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No, the reason we put up with it is because it's economically unfeasible to build there when there are better sites elsewhere in the city. Boston is hardly the only city to have a highway canyon, and honestly the Turnpike is less disruptive to the urban fabric than a lot of those others. When walking between Kenmore and Fenway, for instance, you hardly notice it.

I don't disagree that "priming the pump" by building initial infrastructure helps development along, but the CA/T were a much bigger project of which the structural supports were such a minor piece that I wasn't even aware they'd built them until recently.

Also, what is the "missed opportunity" for the State here? They'd be spending $200M or so for zero return. They also still think they can get air rights done on their most important parcels around Hynes and Mass. Ave, with the Viola headed for approval and construction over the next couple of years. As a taxpayer in MA, do I want $200M that could be spent on deficient bridges or the Core MBTA going to deck the Pike, an aesthetic exercise that we already know the market doesn't support? The City doesn't have the warewithal to pay it either, and given the state of the schools, nor should they.

If MassDOT were to start working on a PPP to work with developers and invest a relatively small amount of State funds in a way that aligns with the bridge replacements they're going to have to do on that trench in the next ten years, that would make sense. I definitely don't think it's a "scandal" that MassDOT isn't diverting statewide transportation funds to beautify the South End.
Serious question. If the state decked the pike in this area for $200M, how much could they sell the decked land for? I'm assuming more than that.
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:29 AM   #887
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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Serious question. If the state decked the pike in this area for $200M, how much could they sell the decked land for? I'm assuming more than that.
Similarly serious question: How much did they sell the Merano site for, and how does it compare to what they're getting for the Viola site?
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:17 AM   #888
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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Similarly serious question: How much did they sell the Merano site for, and how does it compare to what they're getting for the Viola site?
Palindrome gave me a quote over on the Bulfinch Triangle thread

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Interesting project. You'll have to poke around on the suffolk county deeds site here:http://www.masslandrecords.com/suffolk/
and the Boston city assessing site here: https://www.cityofboston.gov/assessing/search/ to compile info.

Looking quickly I found Avenir is on an 87 year lease from the MBTA for $20,000,000 and then paid the city $1.4m in taxes last year.
Note also that - especially in the Bay Village segment - you might expect an increment in the tax value of the adjacent parcels as well once the pike is covered.

Equilibria, I don't disagree with anything you've said - I just have somewhat more optimistic assumptions about cost and value. But I also acknowledge that those assumptions are not rigorously sourced.
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:18 AM   #889
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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....The only reason we put up with a highway tearing though the heart of town is that we're numb to it after all these years (and no I don't think the tracks that were there for decades before were nearly as disruptive as the highway is). The old artery gets all the attention; but the pike is very similar - and the wound is still open.
CSTH -- you need to take a look at what was there before

Depending on where you were between South Station and say the soon to be former Beacon Park rail yard -- there was either just a few tracks or dozens

For decades that stretch was as pedestrian unfriendly as Kendall in the 1980's or the Seaport a few years ago

Quote:

View of the sprawling Boston & Albany yards from the Lenox Hotel, on the corner
For orientation purposes:
The "St Peter's like dome" is the Christian Science Church and Symphony and Horticultural Halls are near the top

You are essentially looking through what would be the site of the Pru complex

I'd have to say that -- "the tracks that were there for decades before were nearly as disruptive as the highway" -- if not more so
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Old 06-28-2016, 10:53 AM   #890
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway



Or it looked like this and was barely noticeable and didn't really divide the city as the pike does. That image is so misleading as it was a large yard that at the time was necessary for rail operations and getting from Copley Square to the CSC was as easy as it is today it did not really divide the city.
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:01 AM   #891
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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Or it looked like this and was barely noticeable and didn't really divide the city as the pike does. That image is so misleading as it was a large yard that at the time was necessary for rail operations and getting from Copley Square to the CSC was as easy as it is today it did not really divide the city.
Both of the areas circled on that image are on the current D Line ROW. In fact, the bigger circle is literally where the terra firma Fenway Center would go.

Here's the equivalent view today:



Remember that we're only talking about the segment from Fenway on. Did the line of warehouses along Newbury really contribute that much to the urban fabric?
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:18 AM   #892
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

Comparing Rosenthal's Follies to the CAT or Prudential is ridiculous. Those projects changed the city fundamentally. Rosenthal's project will add a few apartments and fill in a hole. The state should only get involved if the project will really make an impact (ie GE, Liberty Mutual, etc). There's no reason to "save" Rosenthal, he's a millionaire and will be fine either way.
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:25 AM   #893
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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Comparing Rosenthal's Follies to the CAT or Prudential is ridiculous.
We're comparing it to the Merano and the Victor, etc. Apples to apples etc...
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Old 06-28-2016, 04:23 PM   #894
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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We're comparing it to the Merano and the Victor, etc. Apples to apples etc...
I don't know if I'd say it's apples to apples, though... the CAT was decked from beginning to end, paid for by the government. Mass Pike insists on passing along that expense to the developers. So Merano and Victor have incredibly less financial risk than a fully-realized Fenway Center would.

Just sayin'...
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:36 PM   #895
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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I don't know if I'd say it's apples to apples, though... the CAT was decked from beginning to end, paid for by the government. Mass Pike insists on passing along that expense to the developers. So Merano and Victor have incredibly less financial risk than a fully-realized Fenway Center would.

Just sayin'...
Indeed - that's the comparison (maybe you missed a few posts??)
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:39 PM   #896
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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Indeed - that's the comparison (maybe you missed a few posts??)
Yeah, maybe... I tend to skip a few posts whenever whighlander starts telling a story...
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:15 AM   #897
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

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I don't know if I'd say it's apples to apples, though... the CAT was decked from beginning to end, paid for by the government. Mass Pike insists on passing along that expense to the developers. So Merano and Victor have incredibly less financial risk than a fully-realized Fenway Center would.

Just sayin'...
my understanding, without looking at the documents from the time of the CAT, is that Merano and Victor are built on supports that had to be put in anyway to keep the elevated central artery from falling down while the tunnel was being built. So, the government wasn't taking on the expense just so an apartment building could be constructed. It was just a side benefit of having built the supports for a different reason.
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:57 AM   #898
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

it's pretty clear at this point, the developer has changed his strategy; and will attempt to do the easy $$$ part of the project, and then walk.

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Rosenthal's project will add a few apartments and fill in a hole. The state should only get involved if the project will really make an impact...
Fenway Center is wayyy more than that.

Thereís no middle ground above the Pike

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/...miP/story.html

The SPAN of the Massachusetts Turnpike between Brookline Avenue and Beacon Street is nothing right now. Itís a windswept bit of emptiness. It should be the type of place where Boston builds its future. But right now, that future is a shaky one.

Developer John Rosenthal wants to build shops, offices, and hundreds of apartments atop the Turnpike behind Kenmore Square. Rosenthal has been pushing his half-billion-dollar Fenway Center development ahead for years. The project is now at a precipice. Rosenthal says Fenway Centerís future hinges on a city property tax break.

Fenway Center could start construction in the fall and wind up looking like Copley Place or the Prudential Center, two wildly successful developments built atop the Pike. Or it could end up looking like the stretch of Turnpike where Columbus Center was supposed to rise. There, the Pike stretches east from Clarendon Street for acres, a chasm that scatters pedestrians and cleaves neighborhoods. It looks the same today as it has for decades. Columbus Center tried to breathe some life into a corner of town that has no business being empty and forlorn, but it failed, and now, itíll likely be years before the next shot at bridging the Turnpike at this spot comes along.

These are the stakes Rosenthal is facing in the Fenway. When projects like Rosenthalís succeed, theyíre home runs, but when they fall, they tend to stay down. When building on air in Boston, thereís no middle ground. The difference between the two at Fenway Center is less than $10 million.

It shouldnít have come to this. Rosenthalís project was ready to go when it got its development permits four years ago, but a nasty, protracted lawsuit by a neighbor set it back years. By the time Fenway Center emerged from the courthouse, its construction costs had soared by $50 million. Redesign work has eliminated most of that overrun, but Rosenthal is still faced with a $7.8 million gap.

The $7.8 million figure happens to be the size of the tax breaks former Boston Mayor Tom Menino handed to mega-developments at North Station and Fileneís last year. Rosenthal sought the same deal, and was stonewalled. Heís hoping for better luck with the new mayor, Marty Walsh. And heís describing this as a ďdo or dieĒ moment for Fenway Center.

The late Boston Mayor Kevin White and Governor Ed King sat in office the last time Boston successfully started a development project above the Pike. The projects that tried to follow Copley Place and the Pru have failed spectacularly. Millennium Partners, now building the Fileneís tower, instigated a heated battle between Menino, Back Bay residents, and the Turnpike Authority when it tried building a 59-story tower above the corner of Boylston Street and Massachusetts Avenue. Columbus Center imploded, and left a campaign finance scandal in its wake.

Rosenthal hates comparisons between his project and Columbus Center. There are some key differences between the two: The road and rail network running underneath the Fenway Center construction site is less complex than the one underneath Columbus Centerís site, and Rosenthalís site has far more land to build on, making his deck smaller and much less expensive than the one Columbus Center required.

Columbus Centerís unwieldy size ó it would have spanned 2.5 more acres than Fenway Center, and cost hundreds of millions of dollars more, but would have contained the same square footage ó also led to its swift unraveling.

For all their differences, though, Rosenthalís project has much more in common with the Turnpike developments that preceded it than with Fenway Centerís neighbors.

Scores of apartments and shops are now rising around the corner from Rosenthalís development site; theyíll all start with a hole in the ground and a foundation, like any conventional construction project. Rosenthalís starts with a deck above the Pike, and his buildings rest on this deck. It adds roughly $35 million to Fenway Centerís upfront price tag.

This is why developments above the Pike fail so regularly: They cost more to build, and are harder to finance. Rosenthal insists a property tax break would reduce his costs for long enough to get the first Pike development in a generation up and running. If he falls short, Fenway residents had better get used to looking at the highway, because itís going to be there for a while.
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Old 06-29-2016, 10:10 AM   #899
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

^ Props to Paul McMorrow - great analysis and call to action.
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Old 06-29-2016, 01:50 PM   #900
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Re: Fenway Center (One Kenmore) | Turnpike PARCEL 7, Beacon Street | Fenway

...Too bad that call to action is over two years old. It's an article from February 2014.

Plus, it got that tax break in April of that same year. And Rosenthal has still failed to deliver!
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