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Old 05-03-2016, 09:03 AM   #1
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How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

Rather than having this discussion in every single thread, perhaps you could just have it here? Feel free to discuss:

a. Individual Buildings - Will a building be 690 feet or 695 feet? Does that include mechanicals? A spire? Is it a spire or an antenna? Can we make the antenna larger?

or b. The Entire City - Is Boston too stumpy? Why do we keep building buildings that are less tall than that other city that builds buildings that are more tall? Be sure to include a ton of data.
"You cannot take in a whole Boston street with a single glance of the eye and then lose your interest because you have thus taken the edge off future discovery; on the contrary, every step reveals some portion of a building which you could not see before, some change in your vista, and some suggestion of pleasant variety yet to come, which not only keeps your interest alive but heightens it and persuades you to go on."
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:07 AM   #2
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

Skyscraper is such a strange word in Boston.
No it really isn't that is a ridiculous statement. Boston has one of the largest skylines in the country based on buildings taller than 150 meters. It definitely doesn't get as tall at its peak as other cities but the idea that it is much shorter and stumpier than other cities as a whole isn't really very accurate.

For example:
Number of Buildings over 150 m in US cities according to CTBUH (proposed counts based on SSP diagrams)

NYC - 241 (374 with proposed)
Chicago - 116 (141)
Houston - 34 (43)
Miami - 33 (114)
LA - 23 (38)
SF - 21 (31)
Dallas - 20 (33)
Boston - 19 (28)
Atlanta - 16 (24)
Seattle - 15 (30)

Based on that Boston fits in right where I would expect and is 7th in the country overall currently.

Number of Buildings 100 m + in US cities according to the CTBUH

NYC - 765 (961)
Chicago - 302 (363)
Houston - 85 (127)
Miami - 85 (215)
SF - 83 (108)
Atlanta - 66 (92)
LA - 63 (112)
Boston - 46 (67)
Dallas - 40 (70)
Seattle 43 (98)

The order here changes some, but an interesting takeaway is that Boston has more tall buildings as a whole than Dallas yet is seen as lacking. I think part of it is the composition of the buildings and the plateau effect downtown, but regardless my point is that the perception of Boston as having a small skyline for its size is inaccurate.

tldr: Boston's skyline is as large as would be expected for a city its size based on the number of 150 m+ buildings/ skyscrapers are as common in Boston as any other city of similar size.

* Philly
Out of curiosity I just checked Philly because it just hit me it hadn't shown up in my list I made and I was surprised so I found it now and if we want to find the prime example of a city with a small skyline for it's size Philly is the prime example.

150 m+ buildings

11 (24)

100 m+ buildings

52 (78)

Even after Philly's current proposals are built it will still be behind Boston a little bit in buildings over 150 m; however, it will be ahead in buildings over 100 m. It will also have two supertall skyscrapers so its maximum height will be significantly taller still which is no surprise.
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:28 AM   #3
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

Let's add some of the data for the Global Cities with which Boston competes for example:
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:31 AM   #4
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

Shouldn't this thread be in the Architecture and Urbanism section?
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:04 AM   #5
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

To everyone who complains about the lack of height in Boston, at least we don't live in DC! Also London which is a much larger city than Boston, they don't have many more towers than us and the ones they have looked like they were designed by architects on LSD.

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Old 05-03-2016, 12:08 PM   #6
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

Originally Posted by tysmith95 View Post
To everyone who complains about the lack of height in Boston, at least we don't live in DC! Also London which is a much larger city than Boston, they don't have many more towers than us and the ones they have looked like they were designed by architects on LSD.
Ummm LSD? You mean they have creativity and think outside the box.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:22 PM   #7
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

Originally Posted by tysmith95 View Post
To everyone who complains about the lack of height in Boston, at least we don't live in DC! Also London which is a much larger city than Boston, they don't have many more towers than us and the ones they have looked like they were designed by architects on LSD.
I'm with you, I think most of the tall stuff in London is atrocious. I wouldn't wish the Walkie Talkie on anyone and the Shard isn't much better. I'll give the Gherkin some credit, but it could have been toned down a bit and been better off for it.

Creative schm-eative. London's skyscrapers are whack.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:24 PM   #8
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

London is getting some very innovative and interesting architecture and more of its buildings fit that mold than Boston; however, overall the Boston and London skylines are more similar in size than would be expected considering London is a global city equal in power to NYC. They will pass Boston in number of tall buildings pretty soon as there is a ton of developments in the pipeline there. It is interesting though.
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Old 05-03-2016, 03:14 PM   #9
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

We do 60m to 160m pretty good. After that, we are lacking considerably in height. It's just a fact. Nearly every building in the city over 50m is missing anywhere from 5 to 20 floors. Our skyline is stunted thanks to the Tom Menino nimby friendly Years.

If a few vocal individuals came out speaking loudly against any particular tower proposal, they simply shaved 20-40% of the floors off of the building/s.

Because so many of our 110 to 160m towers are so wide our lack of height makes our skyline look even more stunted that it already is.

The BRA and BCDC seem somewhat aware of this, but we still keep building short stumpy towers.

Our skyline is 5 to 10 years late on nearly every tower planned. Some like South Station Tower are 20 years late. Some like Harbor Garage Tower, not even going up at all.

Most everything is still being built too short, imo. i wish we had built some of these towers before building up the Seaport.

If every tower planned goes up, our skyline will be decent. But there are about 10 or 12 parcels already topped or completed that could have made a bigger impact.

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Old 05-03-2016, 03:30 PM   #10
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

How can you say that based on the evidence above Boston is performing exactly where it would be expected to perform with the shorter heights especially in the current development phase mostly being decided by the FAA at least downtown. The only towers that are too short for sure imo would be the Back Bay Station and North Station ones by Boston Properties. But other than that I don't really have any complaints the FAA is going to do what they want in regards to height limits and otherwise besides those two spots I think most of the buildings are as tall as can be supported right now.
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Old 05-03-2016, 04:54 PM   #11
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

Well, i am saying it (we just need a roundtable and be done with it).

Because several of our towers are getting done well-below the FAA limit via nimby.

How many? 8, 10, 15, 20?

Nimby height concessions are occuring at most of these in the current cycle including everything at TD Garden, 1 Congress and even Back Bay. Even 1 Dalton could have gone taller, except, i'm sure the threat of a futue confrontation influenced the BRA. A lack of height is still a problem with construction all over the city.

and i know you're gonna make me name them. do i really have to?

they build 700' where we do 495' in every one of our peer cities.

because they build 1000' where we do 700' in every one of our peer cities including

1. Houston
2. Miami
3. Seattle
4. Houston
5. San Francisco
6. Philadelphia

LA is also building 3 very tall towers.

in New York and Chicago, they do 780' like we do 336'.

i want a vertical city. And the FAA ain't the reason we barely have one.

the FAA ain't the reason we don't have a 600' tower going up at Harbor Garage.

You weren't at that meeting listening to Galer and his 11 minute tirade against the Good Guys from New York over the Eminent 1 Bromfield.

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Old 05-03-2016, 05:51 PM   #12
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

Don't compare NYC and Chicago they are just much larger more vertical cities. It isn't a valid comparison because the history that led to their role as skyscraper capitols of the US doesn't have any parallel in Boston. A better comparison would be San Francisco which has more and is building more/ taller buildings right now, but also faces a lot of pressure against tall buildings.

As far as Houston, Miami, Seattle, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Guess what no one in that list has just a couple miles from the CBD... Oh thats right a major airport. As far as some developers going shorter than the FAA limit yeah some have and some have even gone shorter than they are approved for although really only one developer did that.

One Dalton the developer chose not to ask for more height that tells me they had no interest in going taller they are building a new second tallest what is so bad about that.

A vertical city Boston is not. It is becoming more so and I welcome that. Height is not everything though Houston, Miami, and Dallas all have taller buildings than Boston but not a single one of those cities is as vibrant and functional a city from an urban perspective as Boston and while I would love more height I want it to help supplement the urban fabric as it exists now it doesn't in my mind make or break Boston at all. Yes Boston needs to build some high rises to reach housing goals, but a skyline does not a city make.

The FAA is a factor you can't totally ignore it and NIMBY's are a factor, but I don't see those as the biggest issues or bell weathers for where development is headed.I see the previous Mayors role in discouraging tall developments and good/innovative design as having had the biggest impact and from what I have seen the new administration has already helped to push the design of many of the proposals in a better direction and the number of proposals being approved and stalled proposals getting a new lease on life is impressive and a good sign of things to come in the future barring some sort of economic collapse.

Also Boston is a vertical city it comes in 8th for the number of buildings over 150 m and that number will be increasing by quite a bit over the next few years. No Boston isn't NYC, Chicago or Miami and it won't ever be but there are a lot of economic and historical reasons it isn't and if you want that level of tower development you will always be unhappy with Boston.
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Old 05-03-2016, 07:27 PM   #13
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

i actually like to measure above 60~65m. then we start to look good.

this will improve. i think in a few years the T will improve.

and nobody can compare anything in North America to New York.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:12 PM   #14
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

I understand Chicago and nyc for their skyline and size...but why does Miami make that list? It's smaller, no transit, not as vibrant maybe Brickell at full build why the obsession with highrises there?
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:22 PM   #15
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

Two major things from what I have seen: foreign investment/high demand for vacation homes/condos

Also there is a lack of protest to high rises especially near the water because they are a very well established part of the landscape in the area so there isn't as much protest as long as they aren't too far inland. At least from what I have seen that appears to be the case.

The reason Boston looks good above 60-65 m is because a lot of lab buildings/hospital buildings top out in that range plus the seaport is capped at 200-250 ft or 60-76 meters depending on the location and as has been discussed the vast majority of buildings in the neighborhood are planned to reach the full height that is permitted.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:51 PM   #16
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?


What i mean to say is, when you compare our inventory of buildings taller than 199', we begin to look very good amongst our peers.
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Old 05-22-2016, 07:43 AM   #17
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

for the betterment of the 111 Fed thread, i chose to post here.

Originally Posted by KentXie View Post
The quality of this forum has deteriorated drastically in quality ever since the yimbyism movement washed over. I haven't seen so many thread derailments and flame wars since Ned Flaherty posted here. The similarities are striking between the two extremes.
That's quite a strong opinion. Please help me here; are you're saying; 'if people don't agree with you that represents a loss of quality (re; sophistication, intelligence etc?) on the forum?' Ok then,

Can you please explain which of the following tall construction projects you have a problem with?

First, to be clear; Yes, i'm a 'Yimby' for these projects' respective height: (i'm happy to state i would have liked to see even more height on a few of them). i like the moderate increase in density (and that's really, all this is) i believe the height has been proposed at very appropriate sites for doing so... After these moderate highrises and low skyscrapers get done, i see rather, a long-term pause of construction over 120m in Boston: at least until someone in the .gov steps up for the demolition of the big monoliths.... my opinion may not have a lot of agreement, but i'm standing pat....

I'd like to see another or two >100m tower/s built across the street in the 52-64 Charlesgate East complex. These could be the last good candidates for height in the Fenway....

rooftop heights

above 200m
1. 1 Dalton Street/Four Seasons 61 stories 755 (roof) (2018)
2. 111 Federal Street 66 stories ~735 (2020?)
3. 1 Bromfield Street 59 stories 705 (2019?)
4. Millennium Tower 60 stories 685 (2016)
5. South Station Tower; 49 stories 677 (2019?)

above 190m
Govt Center (oval) office tower 43 stories + tall mech screen ~647 mech scr top (2021?) should have topped 700'
Copley Place Tower 52 stories 626 (2020?)

above 150m
Govt Center residential tower 45 stories 547 (2019?) should have topped 600'
TD Garden Tower 1 (office) ~21 stories over podium ~505 roof top (2021?) should have topped 550'
TD Garden Point 2 (resident tower) 45 stories 495 (2020?) should have topped 600-650'

Garden Garage/Equity Residential 44 stories 485 (2020?) should have topped 600'
Avalon North Station 38 stories 450 (2017) should have topped 500-550'
Atlantic Wharf 32 stories 436 (2011)
Back Bay Station tower #1 34 stories ~435 .gov (2021?)
40 Trinity Place 33 stories ~412 (2019?)
Back Bay Parcel 15 #1/Weiner Ventures 31 stories 400 (2021?)
380 Stewart Street/John Hancock Tower #3 26 stories ~400' (2020?)
Back Bay Station #2 (office) 24 stories ~391
45 Worthington Street 35 stories ~390'

below 120m
45 Province Street height 31 stories 367' (2009)
Pierce Fenway 30 stories 367'
Tremont Crossing Tower #1 31 stories 365' top (2018??).gov
2 Charlesgate Place 34 stories 340-370' est
Govt Center #3 24 stories ~336'
several more office residence and dormitory towers between 199-336' incl South Station, Back Bay Station and parcel 15.

i think the developers and BRA have done a very good job at policing themselves for excessive, or obnoxious increments of height in Boston. i haven't seen one yet that has been proposed; that presents excessive height in their respective neighborhoods in our urban zone.

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Old 05-22-2016, 08:42 AM   #18
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

He's pretty obviously talking about the quality of the discussion, the constant derailments, and the flame wars, and not individual buildings. Can't say I disagree with him. The board is still great for news and picture updates, and some of the info from professionals and semi-professionals is top notch. Otherwise, the discussion tends to be the same rehash over and over.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:43 AM   #19
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

Flame and insult ridden hijacks directed at Wiggy and others aren't cool.

The other ones are mostly filled with buttkick awesome.
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:58 AM   #20
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Re: How Tall Are Boston's Buildings and Should They Be Taller?

I think he's saying we're reading this:

Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
They whiffed. Blow the top right off. 390' revenue cow; Levels 10-35; luxury with affordable. Sunken garage w/ 450 spaces; 1 car/household. Massive lux tax for 2nd car. Show these rich snobs the town line ain't no different than 'across the Common.' Ruggles, Hyde Park Stations, Jamaicaway; you're next.
Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
I've been doing all i can to inform nimby readers (of Logan's articles) that 90-120m tall towers are about to happen all over the city. You listen to the anti-development types post, and i almost get the impression they reluctantly agree. All these towers going up everywhere may further drive the point home. They don't like it, but they seem to be coming to a gradual acceptance of the inevitability that density is coming to the neighborhoods. The Fenway is an urban neighborhood. i liken the Fenway to a Boston-scale Lincoln Park (Chicago). Traffic will be an issue. We don't need to add much more density, but like, Lincoln Park, the Fenway, has the potential to be one of the best urban neighborhoods in the world.
Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
i can't wait to see Boston's first 400' tower built over i-90.

it's possible we could get as many as four in the next few years: if Copley Sq Tower rises, if Back Bay Station gets done.... and the city finds a way to bring back the if at first you don't succeed Columbus Square project.
Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
damn if this thing reached anywhere close to 300' i'd be wayyy less critical.

is the roof topping even 220-230'??
Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
Needs to go 406' and be named Ted Williams Tower. i'm semi serious. Years from now the people might even be persuaded to think it was Henry's idea to build it.
Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
The possible early end of the Walsh build it yesterday administration.

I'd like to see him have at least 8 years to crush the nimby.
Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
^^i concur; The above masterpiece Photoshops demonstrate that we're not seeing so much a revoltion for the YIMBY, but rather the SDIMBY. Bring the cranes!!

btw, are you all seeing posts in arial font? Did i click where i shouldn't have?
Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
That would be awesome.
Sometime in the near future... when all the last of the big towers of this cycle are rising, i believe the next big discussion will begin. And it will be none-other than the State Service Center. Unfortunately, when it gets re-developed, the City will make the mistake of trying to do the entire parcel at once. i believe this is a mistake. i think they should take apart the building in a couple of phases to ensure we get at least 2 towers topping 700', and maybe a 3rd topping 600'.

Wheras we used to have discussions like this:

Originally Posted by ablarc View Post

Deep in Nepal's Himalayan reaches, an elixir is rumored to exist. In whoever ingests it, this potion is said to induce the most eleemosynary of impulses. Lifelong foes fall rapturously into each other's arms, Yankee fans toast Red Sox victories, Allston residents send love letters to Harvard's President and muggers put away their Glocks.

While touring monasteries in a saffron robe, Harvard researcher J. Doe was urged to smuggle back a potent dose of elixir, which he promptly slipped into the Cambridge water supply. Among many observable consequences, NIMBYism in Cambridge sank without a trace.

It was the start of the Era of Good Will.

* * *

Swept up in good feeling, politicians and planners of Cambridge immediately set about devising improvements to their neat little city. They decided to concentrate first on slightly shopworn Central Square:

Potential both obvious and unrealized.

Because all improvements they proposed made sense, no one in the attitude-enhanced city rose in opposition. Clear sailing lay ahead in every direction.

Here's what they did:

1. They banned new parking lots.
They didn't immediately ban the existing parking lots, and they didn't ban new parking garages --though they required these to have ground floor retail, mechanical ventilation and glass windows (if aboveground).

2. They lifted all reference to height limits in all parts of Central Square where buildings touched or were permitted to touch.
This constituted the de facto redevelopment district. Along Mass Ave its boundaries were set at Dana Street in the west and Main Street in the east.

3. They forbade more than two existing adjacent properties (of whatever size) to be developed by the same entity as part of a single project.
This had the effect of preserving Central Square's scale, which had nothing whatever to do with building height --something the elixirized former-nimbys readily perceived in their new-found intimacy with Truth.

4. They landmarked all nine of Central Square's buildings that had lasting architectural or historic value.
And they did so with wisdom that was applauded by historians, preservationists and architecture critics.

5. They notified all owners of unlandmarked single-story buildings and existing parking lots that they had three years to submit redevelopment plans
or have their properties taken by eminent domain (with market-value compensation). You can imagine how quickly these fallow properties sprouted development.

Parking lots just one block off Mass Ave on Bishop Allen Drive extend to both sides of Prospect Street and render Central Square as one-street shopping.

6. They requested and got permission to build additional entrances to Central Square's subway station at the southeastern end.
This had the effect of providing MIT with a second usable subway stop, while stimulating development of the parking lots on that institution's northwest fringe.

7. They founded the Prospect Street Railway, a historic streetcar line to run up Prospect Street to Inman Square and down River Street,
across the bridge, to Brighton Center. Like the old, much-lamented Huntington Avenue line, this was to have no ROW separation, therefore it was not light rail. Power is from a winter-snowstorm-heated slot between the tracks, thus eliminating unsightly overhead wires. Visitors love it and residents ride it too. Inman Square is now on the tourist circuit with even more top-notch restaurants stretching along Prospect Street Railway between the two squares. Ridership is surprisingly high (must be because it's fun).

Prospect Street Railway.

Melbourne, Milan, Budapest, Lisbon, Istanbul, Toronto and Bratislava all contributed streetcars, while Newark sold Cambridge the last six of its PCC's. Farebox revenues support the line ($3 for tourists paying cash, $1 for residents swiping a pass). Weekend and holiday drivers are unpaid volunteers, drivers at other times are non-union (most are graduate students working part-time).

8. They adjusted Central Square's zoning such that night-time entertainment uses were encouraged --including a two-block stretch for adult entertainment
parallel to Mass Ave on parking-lot-blighted Bishop Allen Drive. The good bishop's name provided the Square a droll disconnect of street name and function. Boston was glad to see combat zoning move across the river.

9. They revised the signage code to allow unlimited neon --including flashing and moving signs-- on unlandmarked buildings, while limiting backlit plastic signs
to a modest dimension. LED and plasma signs would be considered case-by-case.

Massachusetts Avenue and Prospect Street were enlivened, and parts of Bishop Allen Drive acquired bawdy neon similar to what had once animated lower Washington Street.

10. They convinced the T to run railed transport till 3am on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the MBTA system --including hourly commuter rail.
Late night drunks deserted driving in droves, and nightlife thrived.

11. They devised a system of mid-block alleys perpendicular to Mass Ave toward both Green Street and Bishop Allen Drive.
This had the effect of expanding Central Square's business district to three parallel shopping streets --Allen Drive, Mass Ave, Green Street-- connected to each other by the alleys.

12. Parking could be underground or on upper floors if ventilated and equipped with glass windows, but no off-street parking was allowed anywhere at grade.
All parking produced revenue. Residents paid by the month, workers by the day, and shoppers parked free with a store receipt; shops were assessed a monthly fee from their revenues.

13. As a basis for providing incentive bonuses, they adopted an FAR of 8 for Central Square, but they exempted retail, entertainment and indoor parking,
meaning any amount of these could be built. Thus you could build 8 stories above your retail and parking if your tower had the floor area of your lot, or 16 stories if it took up half your lot's area, or 32 stories if a quarter ... and so forth.

Since you could include floor upon floor of retail and indoor parking without any effect on your FAR, you could build a skyscraper of forty stories or more or a boulevard building of, say, 11 stories; or pretty much anything else you chose. But whatever you did, there were always those FAR bonuses gently promoting the city's goals.

14. They provided generous FAR bonuses for art and entertainment uses they wished to promote.
If you put in a nightclub, a theatre, cinemas or a gallery, you got an FAR of 14. So you could build theoretically a five-story shopping mall with cinemas and five stories of parking beneath a tower that took up a third of your lot's area and soared forty-two additional stories, for a total height of, say, 52 stories. Within that tower could be a mixture of offices, apartments and hotel rooms.


15. If on top of all else you provided Grade B back office space or affordable housing, you got an FAR of 16.
This caused a migration of clerical functions from Financial District banks, and proliferated purpose-built profit-making student housing. Commercial dormitories were developed whose only requirement was enrollment in a college --any college.

16. In a flash of inspiration, they granted a 20% FAR increase to any set of plans that included substantial ornament of durable material such as terra-cotta, stone or iron --or 7% for a bold color scheme.
Because they had been drinking the water, even the achitects agreed. A committee was empowered to monitor for blatant kitsch. Central Square became known for its ornamented architecture, and looked lke it had been around for a while. The public felt comfortable because it seemed like the developers of new buildings were motivated by something besides greed (little did most folks know about the FAR ploy); and the developers liked it because though they were motivated by greed, it didn't show.

17. With incentives, they convinced the Culinary Institute of America to open a New England branch in Central Square.
The Institute's three teaching restaurants formed the nucleus for an explosion of new eateries and cafes. Central Square became a mecca for gastronomes and students alike, who flocked there nightly from all over metropolitan Boston --attracted by transport accessibility and the critical mass of over 50 hip, new restaurants and their customers. The sidewalks and newly-created alleys filled up with tables and chairs, and folks braved the weather to eat and drink alfresco from April through October. Four-star restaurants with table cloths jostled for business with stroop waffle stands and gyro. Funnel cakes, bratwurst, even Bismarck herring vied for Greater Boston's gastronomic dollars.

18. They bought the Post Office from the Feds and leased it to a developer who converted its splendid deco presence into a multi-story shopping mall.
Bustling commerce moved in right across from City Hall.

The developer re-opened the skylights and added a swathe of shops and offices and a thirty-story sliver of condominiums facing Green Street. This spurred immediate redevelopment of that street's dismal parking lots with retail restaurants and bars, surmounted by apartments, offices and a boutique hotel.

19. They pedestrianized two blocks of Green Street between Magazine Street and Sellers Street.
The street blossomed. Exuberant color appeared spontaneously in place of former drabness.

Pedestrianized Green Street teeming with eateries.

20. At municipal expense, they built a partly glass-roofed City Market structure.
Thursdays were to be for stamps and coins, used books, music, prints and artwork, Fridays for serious antiques and collectibles, Saturdays for produce and fish, and Sundays for crafts, retro clothing and funky antiques. First Sunday in May sees the invitational Louis Vuitton Cambridge Concours d'Elegance, where each year fifty of the world's finest cars are judged and premiated.

Louis Vuitton Concours d'Elegance.

21. A mile up Mass Ave in Harvard Square, they banned further proliferation of national or multi-state chain stores and restaurants to preserve that square's ambient quirkiness.
They simultaneously welcomed the same chains' rent-inflating presence to Central Square. They allowed just one branch bank per block, limited to forty feet of frontage. The Gap moves to Central Square, and banks sprouted mezzanines for loan officers. So many clothing stores located in Central Square that Filene's Basement forsook its Washington Street location to anchor the sartorial chaos in Central Square; they got tired of waiting for their new digs to be completed. Tattoo parlors, body piercing, hair tinting establishment and designer jewelers joined the mix; the latter qualified as galleries and came with FAR bonuses, so some actually got free rent from their developer-landlords.

22. They lured consulting engineers, Arthur D. Little, to develop the Square's signature skyscraper: a slender 46 stories of green design by Christian de Pontzamparc with Jean Nouvel.
Central Square's world-class monument, the world's most energy-efficient building, features a three-story Museum of the Environment. The Little Building is Central Square's tallest. This started a migration of engineering firms to Central Square, where they became the first class office market's specialty. England's Arup opens an American headquarters. Transportation consultants proliferate.

From the rooftop restaurant of an engineering firm's building you can see for miles.

23. They invited Harvard to locate its new state-of-the-art museum in Central Square in place of one of the parking lots.
Rejected by the view-obsessed gent down by the river side and the mother hens of Allston, this Renzo Piano-designed attraction put Central Square firmly on the tourist map. Michelin gave it two stars, and two displays hastened to heep it company; the West Coast's Blackhawk Collection of million dollar cars opened an East Coast showroom ($5 admission) and Arthur D. Little unveiled the world's definitive Museum of Energy and the Environment: five stories of do-gooding.

24. For improved access from the Airport and Downtown Boston, they got the MBTA to finish the Blue Line all the way to Charles/MGH.
The whole world got a little closer to Central Square.

25. In a bold gift to walkers, they closed Western Ave. and River St. between Mass Ave and Franklin St., thus finally creating the Square in Central Square.
The big church became a focal point of the plaza, and slender towers sprang up on the fallow parcels on Green at Western Avenue and on Green between Western and River. The latter parcel welcomed the Arthur D. Little Building, Central Square's tallest.

Now Central Square was no longer just a name for an intersection. It was as real as the one in Venice, and an international competition produced for it a magnificent redesign, complete with a monumental work of sculpture by Gregg Wyatt.

Three views of a sculpture by Wyatt:

26. As a public service, the Parks Department built a recreational park for readers. It consisted of seven stories of low rent space for used bookstores.

It sat on top of a reborn Orson Welles Cinema, also low rent, that tempts with seven silver screens: two for revival double features of classic movies, two for indie movies, two for foreign films and one for non-stop Bollywood.

27. They licensed electric-assisted pedicabs (regenerative braking) to operate to Harvard Square in one direction and to Boston's Boylston Street in the other.
Tourists loved them, and the mostly-student drivers built leg muscles and cardiovascular health.

28. They required party hats atop all buildings over 21 stories.
This yielded an entertaining little skyline visible from Boston, where it caused twinges of envy.

29. They planted 400 5" caliper Sycamore trees. All Central Square streets were beneficiaries.
Mature sycamores provided dense shade and tree cover. Mass Ave came to resemble a Parisian boulevard with dense street cover.

Edit: And yes, odurandina, I'm singling you out because it's an easy way to prove a point. But it's not just you, many of our newer (and some older...) members have this height/density fetish that springs up like a teenage boy going through puberty who just noticed girls.

Perhaps it's a larger symptom of people posting from their mobile devices instead of sitting down at a real keyboard to compose a concise, articulate argument. But the point stands that if you go back a few years, the quality of discussion on this board was vastly superior. And it has nothing to do with the rants from Lexington.
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Last edited by davem; 05-22-2016 at 12:19 PM.
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