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Old 10-21-2016, 09:16 PM   #1
odurandina
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what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

What's left to build near the range of 150m or taller in Boston?

If you don't like this topic.... or the people who pontificate about more tall a/r towers being added into the mix in Boston, Cambridge, etc.... or believe we should just keep building endless cube-shaped things... Or if you just can't offer friendly feedback about where it might be appropriate to build tall then this thread probably isn't for you.

But for those wise AB voices who make a good case for the occasional low to moderate skyscraper, or for those who raise the issue of height more often than they should... If you're one of those types, this thread is for you.

When completed, the 44 story 485'/148m Garden Garage tower and the 495'/150m TD Garden resident tower will be tall, and incredible new additions to Boston. They will allow a great number of people to experience the greatest city in the world within walking distance of scores of historical landmarks, the Common, Public Garden, Esplanade, Greenway, etc, and ever-improving Waterfront.

Towers at this height look very impressive at a short distance, but also make a considerable impression from a greater distance.

The political and economic challenges for building to this height have only been met a few dozen times. It is with that in mind, that i've chosen this height as the bar.

Please contribute your ideas for;

1. Where can you make a reasonable case for building ___ height.

2. Please make a case for building it within a few years.

.......

The BCDC recently stated; "Boston could use a better mix of a/r."

With all the great infill and mid rise we've done, in addition to what is now under construction, i think we should go a bit more toward the other direction for a while. A few (high~very high) a/r towers would extend the city skyward, offer a superb architectural balance, and better present the wider buildings from the '60s/70s. i love 1 Bromfield and Accordia (past tense) for those reasons. i would love to see 2 Charlesgate W go narrower and taller. Height shouldn't always be shunned as an imaginary barrier to good urbanism.

To begin, i thought i'd take a piece of a city blessed with a strong mix of tall a/r, '70s fatty, and midrise....... distort it, shorten it, splice it, etc to offer (unapologetically) what i'd like to see more of in Boston....



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Old 10-21-2016, 10:58 PM   #2
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

One Constutition Center in Charlestown. Lots of the shadows would be over water and currently a large part of that area is surface parking. The lot also has two short office buildings (2-3 floors)

VLOPE, hopefully they plan something tall there.

Of course there are numerous spots in the West End where something tall would work.

55 Court Street next to Goverment Center, tare it down and start over with something tall.
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Old 10-22-2016, 06:38 AM   #3
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

Surface parking lots along the Pike in Chinatown. (maybe only 400 ft due to Logan)

Low-rise parking structures along the Pike in the South End. (maybe only 400 ft. due to Logan)

Chinatown Garage, 86 Beach Street (Between Lincoln and Surface on the Greenway). 750 ft. possible.

Multiple highrises in the footprint of the Hynes. 950 to 1000 ft. possible.

Dalton Street garage. 1000 ft. possible.

Lord & Taylor on Boylston. 950 ft. possible.
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Old 11-01-2016, 05:44 PM   #4
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

Not Boston but the Inner Belt in Somerville. Redesign the streets and zone for some tall buildings, once the GLX is built plus the orange line on the other side this area will have great transit access.

Also if the NSRL is ever built the T should seriously consider moving the maintenance facility out to the burbs and sell off that parcel plus some of the extra train tracks that that parcel requires.
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Old 11-02-2016, 06:26 AM   #5
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

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Not Boston but the Inner Belt in Somerville. Redesign the streets and zone for some tall buildings, once the GLX is built plus the orange line on the other side this area will have great transit access.

Also if the NSRL is ever built the T should seriously consider moving the maintenance facility out to the burbs and sell off that parcel plus some of the extra train tracks that that parcel requires.
No...no...no. Transit capacity does not work that way. You can not kick all the ugly infrastructure out to Woburn in a land grab and be left with a functioning city. Did we not learn this when Boston 2024's fanciful coveting of the Red Line yard @ Cabot collided head-on with reality? New York City isn't evicting any of its train yards, either. It's covering over a couple with air rights and expanding the hell out of others. Because it's building new tunnel capacity out the wazoo. It's height fetishism taken subterranean that the tunnel is somehow this magic wand that plants supertalls over every train track in town (including at the ground level of the station that's already getting an air rights tower).

Boston Engine Terminal will always be there. Something equally beefy built near the CBD on the southside will always have to be there. NSRL will build additional outer suburban facilities IN ADDITION TO, not instead of. Because what is the fucking point of building an $8B tunnel through the CBD if there's no equipment less than 30 minutes away to feed into its portals...because we evicted the hundreds of pieces of equipment sitting right outside the fucking portals???

----------

Besides, BET has absolute garbage accessibility. This lovely thing with its even lovelier sidewalks is the only way in and out of there by road or foot. If you live within a couple miles of the Innerbelt and you aren't home when UPS has a delivery, THAT'S what you have to walk or drive through to pick up your package at their 3rd St. distribution center. Not a pleasant walk. Especially when a big-ass truck goes screaming by you while your body is pressed up against the tunnel wall on that "sidewalk".

It's cut off from Northpoint by the Fitchburg Line, cut off from Charlestown by the great wall-o'-93, cut off from East Somerville and the rest of the Innerbelt by the Lowell embankment and coming GLX yard, and cut off from McGrath by GLX and the freight wraparound. There's a reason why that was the train yard that stayed while the ones at Northpoint and Assembly both got sold off in the last 20 years: it is nearly worthless for redevelopment with how constrained the site access is from the street grid. That's why when the T razed the ancient Boston & Maine engine house and its haphazardly arranged old storage to build the new maint facility in 1997 they compacted it as far into the no-man's-land 'wedge' as possible instead of relocating down the street to Northpoint or up the street to Assembly. The real estate market already informed where the good stuff was and wasn't.

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Want more buildable land out of transit space? Advocate to the City and BRA/BDPA to get their heads out of their asses to go all-in on facilitating the Food Market's relocation from Widett Circle to Marine Terminal.
  • 30 trains of ground-level storage in the 'bowl'. Storage that can be completely covered over with the same air rights B24 "Master Developer" wouldn't touch with a stick of flaming poo, but which a permanent easement can much more attractively underwrite for the developer.
  • Get them that 30 trains of future-proofing at Widett and they can cede their senselessly acreage-wasteful Beacon Park easement, which widens the divide in the street grid and only fits 9 trainsets for its troubles. Indemnify their storage needs downtown and they can waive that easement, the Pike can get straightened a little more, you can pack dozens of acres more buildings on Harvard land, AND pack the street grid much closer around the Pike so BU isn't in a separate universe.
  • Oh...and because the Beacon Park easement stores so few cars they have to keep Readville forever and eventually expand into the recycling yard next door with or without our Jetson Shit supertunnel. Another big slab of land they wouldn't need if the Widett 'bowl' were secured, which could be land-swapped to the city for building another thousand housing units in Wolcott Square.
3 sites...all absolute 100% redevelopable around transit accessiblility because the site where the consolidation is happening can be decked the fuck over. And the land swaps underwrite the cost of the consolidation, while the one set of private tenants who have to be moved end up getting superior facilities at the port.

All it takes is institutions detaching heads firmly from asses and cooperating with the state for once in a blood moon. Chop-chop...they don't have too many more years before bridge footings have to be poured, freezing the mainline Pike alignment forever around that BP easement! Nobody needs to be looking at, much less complaining about, a frankly low-value parcel like BET as long as our institutions are doing jack shit about such easy solves at stratospherically better sites closer to the CBD. We can't have nice things any which way if the primary blockers are political hacks refusing to return phone calls from other political hacks because turf warrage. Fight the battles that matter.
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:35 PM   #6
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

Just noticed in the Logan Airspace map that you could build a whole new highrise spine out Rutherford Avenue from Community College to Sullivan Square. 900 to 1000 ft. height limits. Take over Bunker Hill Community College Site (incorporate in new digs) and the Hood Plant site. Could be very TOD with T stops anchoring each end.
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:53 PM   #7
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

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Just noticed in the Logan Airspace map that you could build a whole new highrise spine out Rutherford Avenue from Community College to Sullivan Square. 900 to 1000 ft. height limits. Take over Bunker Hill Community College Site (incorporate in new digs) and the Hood Plant site. Could be very TOD with T stops anchoring each end.
BHCC has gotten big enough that it could stand to go taller itself. My real profession is academic publishing at the undergrad level...lot of community college-level product. MA's community college system is nowhere near the heft of some other states who arguably sink more purely academic resources into their 2-year state campuses than their 4-year. But MA's been trending up with the academic footprint of its 2-year campuses. I know I target product adoptions at MA CC's more than I used to 10 years ago when I'm having manuscripts reviewed by instructors, simply because the enrollments have spiked (we chase big targets, not little zit campuses unless there's something unusually lucrative at one of those).

It's obviously a very big growth sector as the fat middle of secondary ed. demand in the 21st c. economy shifts from "pay through the nose for the piece of paper" more to trades and collecting narrowcasted career certifications with a smaller-footprint generalist degree. If the state ever decided it was going to swing for the fences on taking its CC system to the big leagues, then Roxbury and Bunker Hill are going to be the two showcase campuses that lead the way with the initial expansion surge. That campus could easily double its enrollment size and offerings by overchurning their meh mid-70's era physical plant for more square footage on the same very generous-size parcel. Stuff potentially as big as tucking an entire technical school on the same footprint as an expanded generalist school. Those institutions have been implanting themselves out in the 'burbs where startup costs for building space are cheaper. We don't have a full-blown technical ed. CC right in stone's throw of the CBD; that's what can blow the lid off enrollments when demand crests for that type of trades education.

In my somewhat more informed pure professional and non- arch-urb opinion that kind of state ed. investment has real potential for economic payback in the next 20 years. I have no doubt they're thinking about the possibilities because it's so pervasively on the brain of public ed. officials at all levels coast-to-coast. Whether they have any concept of how that growth is applicable here is something they'll have to figure out in more detail. Near/mid-term strategizing on their vision thing. We're talking a bit sooner than far-off future.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:15 PM   #8
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

Any chance they could build a building with the baseball field on-top of it (crazy, I know)? Those two baseball fields seem like wasted space (though I understand that Boston youth do benefit from having sports fields. Honestly I think that area would be perfect for the Revs stadium with it being used for youth sports when not in use by professionals.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:05 PM   #9
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

WPI built parking garage with a softball + soccer/lacrosse field on top, so you could at least take care of some parking needs that way.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ro...!4d-71.8102502
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:57 PM   #10
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

Quote:
Originally Posted by tysmith95 View Post
Any chance they could build a building with the baseball field on-top of it (crazy, I know)? Those two baseball fields seem like wasted space (though I understand that Boston youth do benefit from having sports fields. Honestly I think that area would be perfect for the Revs stadium with it being used for youth sports when not in use by professionals.
RFP for Parcel 27 [/quote]

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i'd love to see a screened in rec field on top of a parking garage done on Parcel 27, with some type of walking bridge to the other two D.O.T.

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So it seems to me that this structure means you'd have to be crazy to not include 27a (the ramp parcel) in a bid - because 5 mill for 2 acres is a pretty good deal. And it's not even close to useless - at a minimum it can host 'back of the house' functions ( a garage, inevitably), and if you were able to make the bus road the 'ground level ' on the north side you could do something pretty meaningful.
reposting from the D.O.T. Kneeland thread... http://www.archboston.org/community/...&postcount=128


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Originally Posted by stick n move View Post
the photo above is from an early, Menino era master plan for development of the Gateway Tower a decade ago. The park as shown would seem a good place to do parking garage + some combination of athletic field/s/park above + foot bridges....

Parcels 25 and 26a/b were recently determined by the BRA for a max height of 300' on each parcel as part of the master plan. ...i recall that it would work out to be 1 moderately dense resident tower for each parcel, with the rest being done as midrises. The max sq ft for the master plan seemed to be a considerably low number for these parcels.


faa by site builder, on Flickr



i love what they did at WPI.

Long live Legendary Dean, JOHN P. VAN ALSTYNE!!

(May he never be forgotten).

Last edited by odurandina; 11-04-2016 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:11 PM   #11
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

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They should put some type of a tall tower there in honor of a great legend who ran the city for over 4 consecutive terms (20 years)!
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As much as it's easy to criticize King Menino over a mediocre record of housing, and a lack of scale over his 20 year reign, He would not have hesitated to use his immense power to ram this project through in these late stages. He'd be telling the Friends of the Garden, people of Boston and Globe staff, to "BACK the FUCK OFF.... I GOT THS."
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I remember a project at the corner of Arlington and Boylston, proposed by a developer and good friend / supporter of the mayor, that was stopped by shadows.
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That's why i argued bitterly with CityLover up on Skyscraper City last fall, that we're really close to the end on >200m, >180m, >150m, and >120m.... We can push zoning just so far, for a few 110~120m, but we're not going to be building much taller until we tell the good people of Mission Hill, 'we're coming with the dozers and excavators and building 120m Vancouver neighborhood supertalls.'
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No we aren't out of space....
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You know, we tried something like that in the 60s. People kinda hated it; I don't think we need to try again.
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impossible discussion for an internet forum.
needs roundtable + big map mural + lots of coffee + AB combat engineers + shouting and cursing into the wee hours.
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Surface parking lot next to North Station (north next to the old spaudling hospital). Lower Alston once the I-90 realignment is complete. One Constitution Center in Charlestown. I-90 air rights. Southwest Corridor air rights. Every single parking lot in Downtown/back bay/Kendall/Seaport when self driving cars become mainstream. Inner Belt Somerville. Gas Stations in Fenway. Widdet Circle
Hell get good transit out to Lynn/Waltham/Watertown and start building tall there. ...Every single big box store parking lot once self driving cars become mainstream. ...Many non historical low rises could be torn down and replaced by something taller.

The possibilities are endless.
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We have more space available in our core than any other major american city. Google maps, seaport, look at computer screen.
Every one of those sites, outside the original High Spine will be death by 1000 cuts down to 90, 100, or 120m/45 Worthington height. Those are nice highrises. Love em! We're building 60-70m now. ... but stuff that punches into the sky above the 2 great walls, begins at about 180~190m. Where are city planners going to be building Copley Sq tower height, not make any shade, and still, not have neighborhood groups and city councilors threating lawsuits, and promising your political death?
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:22 PM   #12
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

I already made this thread, its even stickied. The more the merrier I guess?......
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:51 PM   #13
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

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I already made this thread, its even stickied. The more the merrier I guess?......
I guess Odura wanted to separated what is left for tall developments and what is left for shorter ones.
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Old 11-11-2016, 12:50 AM   #14
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

Theres both in the original.
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Old 11-14-2016, 07:30 AM   #15
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

Some people should not be allowed to create new threads.
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:50 PM   #16
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

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I already made this thread, its even stickied. The more the merrier I guess?......
Your thread is fantastic. But, i'd like to VET all your we can do wicked tall parcels from your thread, here. A draconian purification if only we can get you on board.

how about 590'....

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Hu...!4d-71.0938271
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Old 11-16-2016, 03:06 PM   #17
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

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Your thread is fantastic. But, i'd like to VET all your we can do wicked tall parcels from your thread, here. A draconian purification if only we can get you on board.

how about 590'....

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Hu...!4d-71.0938271
The MFA isin't going anywhere, you're crazy. And Northeastern/Wentworth/Mass art will never build a tower that tall.
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Old 11-16-2016, 03:12 PM   #18
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

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Your thread is fantastic. But, i'd like to VET all your we can do wicked tall parcels from your thread, here. A draconian purification if only we can get you on board.

how about 590'....

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Hu...!4d-71.0938271
If you look at the thread most of the thread is all tall buildings, complete with homemade renders and the whole 9 yards. If anything it would have made more sense to make a separate thread for shorter ones. Either way I don't think there needs to be two threads on the same topic, when one is already stickied. Go to the top thread in this forum and click on page 3, you even posted there. It started off small, but in true AB form by page 2 we were already rendering supertalls.
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Old 11-16-2016, 03:19 PM   #19
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

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Old 11-16-2016, 03:29 PM   #20
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Re: what's left to build 150m/~500' tall on??

i didn't see your post.
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