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Old 09-30-2007, 01:13 PM   #1
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Brookline Developments

Quote:
Along Route 9, a hospital cuts deal to tackle a hard-hat job

By Andreae Downs, Globe Correspondent | September 30, 2007

A development that could mean an additional $1million in tax revenue annually for Brookline took a step closer to reality this month.

A large property at Brookline Place, on the Boston end of Route 9, is to be torn down, the soil cleaned up, and new offices, retail spaces, and laboratories built there.

"This is a very exciting deal for the town," said Jennifer Dopazo, the town counsel who is negotiating the details.

Selectmen last week executed documents that will allow the financing and eventual destruction of 2-4 Brookline Place, with Children's Hospital responsible for the work and remediation.

The hospital will need to clean up coal tar from a former coal-gasification plant on the site as well as oil that once leaked from underground tanks to eventually construct underground parking at the site, according to press spokeswoman Michelle Davis.

Already, 1 and 5 Brookline Place are owned by the hospital. The documents, approved 5 to 0 by the selectmen, will give the medical nonprofit a ground lease from the town for 95 years.

Rent will equal the assessed taxes for the parcel, according to Dopazo. If the hospital encounters construction delays, it has agreed to an additional $1 million in penalties.

Penalties should not be necessary, according to Charles Weinstein, vice president for real estate for Children's.

"We are eager to start," he told the selectmen. "We have a strong incentive; we need the space."

The medical office building at 1 Brookline Place brings the town $250,000 annually in property taxes, Dopazo said. As a nonprofit, the hospital is exempt from property taxes.

By owning the land and leasing it to the hospital, the town guarantees its tax income from the site, Dopazo said.

Schematic designs of the development, which will cost roughly $75 million to complete, should be ready for the town's Economic Development Advisory Board by late next month, Weinstein said.

Town Meeting changed the zoning on the parcel three years ago to allow towers of up to 150 feet. Weinstein noted that the hospital will build according to town plans for "Gateway East," released about six months ago.

There will be more open space, the area will be more pedestrian-oriented, and it also will be a more vibrant retail environment, Weinstein told the selectmen.

Destruction of the current buildings will have to wait until the current tenants, which include Jenny Craig and The New England Soup Factory, have vacated. They legally have about a year left in their leases.

Weinstein said that his department would start the state permit and demolition permit process as soon as possible, and estimated it could take six to nine months. Construction could begin after that, and the first building could be open in about three to five years, Davis said.

The site originally was envisioned as laboratory space, but the market for such space has softened, while demand for medical offices has increased, Davis said. The differences for the town in income are minimal between the two uses, according to Dopazo.

The development is expected to have three times the assessed value as 1 Brookline Place and be worth $1 million annually to the town for tax purposes, Dopazo said. Children's space in the Longwood Medical area is limited, so the hospital is moving most functions not directly related to in-patient hospital care off-site, Davis said. Currently, it leases space in the Fenway for administrative offices.

The Brookline space is roughly a 15-minute walk from the hospital and would offer more exciting lunch options for office workers and doctors than Longwood does, she said. "I'm looking forward to moving over there," Davis said.

Weinstein said that the restaurant tenants in the building will be paying market rents, and he expects they would want a dinner crowd as well as lunch.

"This will change the face of that area," Davis said. "Children's tries to do things right and has the resources to do things right."

? Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/art..._hard_hat_job/
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Old 09-30-2007, 03:40 PM   #2
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It's good to see a town that wants development.
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Old 09-30-2007, 05:06 PM   #3
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This is great news for that area. Having walked through that area from Heath St. to the D line many times, anything to improve it is great to hear.

In other Brookline development, has anyone noticed the two projects on the eastbound side of Beacon St. in Coolidge Corner? A completely new building went up next to the post office and an addition is being up onto another building (Center Place?) next to Trader Joe's which fills up a service driveway.
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Neighbors wary of hospital project


Underground garage, traffic raise concerns
By Andreae Downs, Globe Correspondent | October 21, 2007

Neighbors like the landscape designer; they aren't so sure about the rest of the project.

The property in question is 2-4 Brookline Place, and this month, Children's Hospital, which will develop the site, explored questions of building size and parking with Brookline's Economic Development Advisory Board and Brook House condominium residents.

The initial sketches of a building for the large parcel between Station Street and Washington Street/Route 9 at Brookline's eastern end show a nine-story structure set back only slightly from the street, with up to five levels of underground parking.

The hospital and the town reached initial agreement in September that the town would lease the parcel to the hospital for the cost of the potential tax revenue from the nonprofit, which is exempt from property taxes under state law.

Brookline officials estimate the site's potential revenue to the town to be around $1 million a year. The hospital also agreed to be responsible for cleaning up the soil on the site, which once held a coal-gasification plant.

Neighbors seemed unified in their approval of Craig Halvorson, a Brookline resident and the designer of Post Office Square in Boston's Financial District, as the project's landscape architect. Because Children's Hospital also owns 1 and 5 Brookline Place - essentially the entire block - it will develop the open space and manage the site as one unit, according to its vice president for real estate, Charles Weinstein. The hospital has committed to making 25 percent of the site open space.

But neighbors are leery of so much underground parking, and asked whether the hospital planned to shuttle employees from the site to its Longwood Medical Area buildings.

"We don't want that extra traffic," said John Bassett, a Town Meeting member from Precinct 6. "That's ridiculous."

Edie Brickman, a Town Meeting member from Precinct 4, agreed. "I'm not sure they need 600 spaces," she said.

Hospital spokeswoman Michelle Davis said traffic studies and a review will take place before the final plans are drawn to determine the right mix of parking uses. The development has to go through the town's design-review process and probably won't be complete for five to six years, according to Weinstein.

He noted that up to 25 percent of the spaces could be available for overnight rental to Brookline residents, and that after 6 p.m., customers at Village restaurants and shops could use the garage. The hospital also will continue to offer heavily discounted MBTA passes to employees.

"We would happily provide more parking if the town allows or requires it," Weinstein said. The hospital is now doing traffic counts on surrounding streets, and exploring the possibility of allowing a left turn off Route 9 into the building, he said.

The new building would contain one floor, or roughly 20,000 square feet, of retail space, Weinstein said. Upper stories would contain up to 250 offices, exam rooms, or computer lab space.

Much of the research the hospital could do at this site, Weinstein said, is data-crunching. "We're trying to free up space at the hospital to be more clinical space," he said.

Bassett commented: "That's a building that can easily be converted to a lab, should market conditions change. There's still a strong feeling in the neighborhood that people don't want a laboratory there."

Children's Hospital initially planned to put a level 2 biolab in the neighborhood, and the site is zoned to allow that use. But according to Davis, the hospital has plenty of new lab space nearer to the hospital, and probably won't need any near Brookline Village. Davis said the hospital is designing the space for medical offices and cannot change the space easily into lab space.

Neighbors also worry about the height of the building, which will have 15-foot-high stories on the lower floors and 13-feet ones above. Basset is concerned about shadows that would be cast on Station Street.

"If they have 11-foot floors, the upper floor will still be higher than Brook House," the condo complex built roughly 35 years ago across Washington Street. "They could go from eight floors to 10 floors if they decrease the ceiling height," he said, which could allow the hospital to accommodate the same number of offices in a thinner tower, with less shadow on neighboring streets.

The hospital is also interested in mitigating the building's impact, although perhaps not in the way Bassett envisions. Weinstein said architects are looking closely at the schedule for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System, and he believes they can reach a silver, if not a gold, standard. The higher standard probably would lower operating costs, and because the hospital has a 95-year renewable lease on the land, it might pan out in a cost-benefit analysis, he said.

For example, irrigation and storm water will be recycled on site, the exterior may be more heavily insulated than is required by building code, and bicycle cages will be installed in the parking garage.

Children's Hospital is required by town statute to contribute 1 percent of its construction costs, estimated at $75 million, to improve the streetscape around the building. Officials also are planning to overplant the landscape, Weinstein said.

"We want to make this corner sing," he said. "A thousand Children's employees live in town; we have a strong commitment to being a good neighbor."
? Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/art...pital_project/
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
The development has to go through the town's design-review process and probably won't be complete for five to six years, according to Weinstein.
Are you f-ing serious? This is the problem here.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:32 PM   #6
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Re: Brookline Developments

On Route 9, a last piece of the puzzle



With plans afoot, Red Cab parcel getting once-over
By Andreae Downs
Globe Correspondent / November 11, 2007

The redevelopment of a long-dormant site on the east end of Boylston Street could soon move forward. But first, there's an issue left over from the days of the horse and buggy.

The proposal for 111 Boylston St., also known as the former Red Cab site, offers the hope of street beautification, not to mention $350,000 in additional tax revenue that would be generated by the office/retail building. But abutters worry that this complex, though less than half the size of the proposal for nearby 2-4 Brookline Place, could cover all of White Place in shadows.



"This is a keystone in [Brookline's] Comprehensive Plan," said Ken Goldstein, chairman of the Planning Board. "It's key in the future development and improvement of lower Boylston Street."

Early this month, Leggat McCall Properties, the site's developer, showed the Planning Board a plan for a 70,000-square-foot retail/office building with underground parking for 265 cars.

Before these plans move ahead, however, Town Meeting this week will have to decide on a 500-square-foot area that is owned by the town but is surrounded by developer-owned property.

Until the mid-19th century, the area connected to Boylston via Kerrigan Place, said Joe Geller, the landscape architect and engineer for the developer. "It was given to the town to allow people to turn their horse and buggy around at the end of the street," he said.

The developer had proposed a land swap, giving the town buffer land along Davis Path, which abuts the Boylston Street Playground, but the Advisory Board and Board of Selectmen have recommended selling the property outright for roughly $85,000. Town officials reason that if the buffer zone remains in private hands, the owner can easily be required to maintain landscaping.

Currently, plans call for a three- or four-story building, but Eric Sheffels, president of Leggat McCall, said the company hopes to work with abutters and the town to mitigate shadows on White Place, which is directly across the Riverside T tracks, and downhill from the site. They were even open to cantilevering the building over Boylston Street.

"Over the course of the winter, our entire street could be cast in shadow," said Kathryn Kirshner of White Place. "This could be a huge problem with snow removal and affect our heating bills."

Sheffels stressed that his company is willing to accommodate abutters.

"We're very flexible," he said. "We haven't dismissed anything. We could have the building at the street, we could break it up."

Other neighbors argued for the building to retain the street offsets displayed in the current plan - which would allow for trees and wider sidewalks along the otherwise rather bleak roadway.

"I hope you won't forget the trees and plantings," said Ed Campion, a resident of nearby Walnut Street. "It will have a great impact on how this development feels, and be a statement about Route 9."

The town's commercial areas coordinator, Marge Amster, agreed.

"We'd love to see Boylston upgraded to look more like the rest of Brookline," she said, adding that the building "has been vacant and an eyesore for years."

All seemed pleased with the proposal to put parking underground - or, more accurately, below grade - although this would be accomplished with a hydraulic "stacker" system that would lift one set of cars enough to park another underneath. As a result, all parking will be valet, said Karl Neubauer, project manager for Leggat McCall.

Another issue that will need to be worked out before Town Meeting will be some way to keep this property on the tax rolls in case a nonprofit, such as a hospital, buys the building, Amster noted.

The project has been assigned to a five- or six-member design advisory team, including two Planning Board members, who will work with the developer on details.

Once a plan has been agreed upon, the developer will need to make a formal application to the Building Department.

Since the plan will require a special permit, they developer would then have to appear before the Planning Board for another hearing, and then go before the Board of Appeals.

Should everything go well, demolition could start in a little over a year.
? Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/art...of_the_puzzle/
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Old 01-05-2008, 04:06 PM   #7
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Re: Brookline Developments

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Originally Posted by JoeGallows View Post
This is great news for that area. Having walked through that area from Heath St. to the D line many times, anything to improve it is great to hear.

In other Brookline development, has anyone noticed the two projects on the eastbound side of Beacon St. in Coolidge Corner? A completely new building went up next to the post office and an addition is being up onto another building (Center Place?) next to Trader Joe's which fills up a service driveway.
Just walked by the new building next to the post office, and found out that it's the future home of a Staples store...give me a break. Staples? Come on! And the building is looking terribly ugly to boot. Furthermore, I come home from school to find that Qdoba Mexican grill and Panera have taken root in my old stomping grounds on Harvard St. Sigh...what happened Brookline?
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Old 01-05-2008, 04:53 PM   #8
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Re: Brookline Developments

Brookline is one of Boston's more affluent inner suburbs...did you expect the chains to pass it up?
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Old 01-05-2008, 08:53 PM   #9
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Re: Brookline Developments

No, but I assumed Brookline could do better than Qdoba and Panera...unless those are considered high end?
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Old 01-06-2008, 01:09 AM   #10
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Re: Brookline Developments

I think Panera is considered somewhat high end...Qdoba is definitely not. It's everywhere. I don't even know how it survives just across Porter Square from Anna's, for example, or who would go there instead.
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Old 01-06-2008, 01:28 AM   #11
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Re: Brookline Developments

Panera displaced a McDonalds. Qdoba displaced Zathmary's, which is a lot more unfortunate in many people's eyes, including my own.

The sad truth is as rents rise the proliferation of big chains becomes proportionately more likely. This is the curse of success really. Hopefully, Coolidge Corner allows a place for small independent retailers/restaurantours. How this works in practice is another story.
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Old 01-06-2008, 09:48 AM   #12
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Re: Brookline Developments

as long as anna's and shwarma king are left alone i don't care!!
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Old 01-06-2008, 10:44 AM   #13
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Re: Brookline Developments

I worked at a Panera in one of the richest towns in Rhode Island, and always considered it like a McDonald's for rich people. More expensive, healthier, better tasting, and you wouldn't blink twice if the anchor of the local NBC affiliate came in for a coffee and sandwich in his suit and tie (every. single. day.) -- or anyone else wearing a suit and tie for that matter
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Old 01-06-2008, 11:45 AM   #14
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Re: Brookline Developments

For a while, Panera was owned by our local Au Bon Pain chain.

I don't see why Brookline needs a Staples, when there's already a new one on Harvard Street just across the Allston line.

Last edited by Ron Newman; 01-06-2008 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 01-06-2008, 12:43 PM   #15
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Re: Brookline Developments

I've always found Panera to be incredibly over rated. I understand that we're health crazed now, and that different bread types and healthy meat selections are good, but it just seems that Panera is nothing more than a trend. "Look at my coffee cup, it says, 'Panera Bread.'" It would be much nicer to have a local organic food store run by (and i can't believe i'm saying this) hippies, than to have some ultra-trendy superchain. Panera is Starbucks with deli meats (and fewer locations.... for now).
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Old 01-06-2008, 04:13 PM   #16
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Re: Brookline Developments

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The sad truth is as rents rise the proliferation of big chains becomes proportionately more likely. This is the curse of success really. Hopefully, Coolidge Corner allows a place for small independent retailers/restaurantours. How this works in practice is another story.
Brookline has been struggling with creating zoning language for the past couple of years to limit the chains. I haven't heard any news on how things are going for a year or so by now, but I guess we can rest assured that they're aware of the problem and are working on it.
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Old 01-10-2008, 03:25 PM   #17
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Re: Brookline Developments

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Panera displaced a McDonalds. Qdoba displaced Zathmary's
You've got them reversed.

Panera, btw is a sensational success. Warm, cozy and casual, it is typically full of all types of people, and they provide free wi-fi. It is already a neighborhood institution on par with the Starbucks in the Village. They even have outdoor cafe seating in the street which is fantastic for this stretch of Harvard.

While Zathmary's is missed, Michael's Deli fills the need for knishes and deli goods and Finale the high end deserts. For pastries, Athens in Washington Sq. is the place to go.
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:16 PM   #18
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Re: Brookline Developments

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I've always found Panera to be incredibly over rated. I understand that we're health crazed now, and that different bread types and healthy meat selections are good, but it just seems that Panera is nothing more than a trend. "Look at my coffee cup, it says, 'Panera Bread.'" It would be much nicer to have a local organic food store run by (and i can't believe i'm saying this) hippies, than to have some ultra-trendy superchain. Panera is Starbucks with deli meats (and fewer locations.... for now).
Also, from what I've heard, Panera isn't actually healthy at all...Their soups and sandwiches tend to be loaded with calories/salt/etc
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:13 PM   #19
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Re: Brookline Developments

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Panera, btw is a sensational success.
Yep. I go by the place a few times a week, and it's invariably filled to capacity no matter what the time. I made the mistake of going the Monday after they opened, and it took about 15 minutes after the food was prepared to get a table.
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Old 01-31-2008, 03:37 AM   #20
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Re: Brookline Developments

Two developments just east of Coolidge Corner, both on the south side of Beacon Street. This little one connects onto the building with Trader Joes in it.





And this sits at the corner of Beacon and Charles







And one of the renovations at the town hall and library

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