Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Notes from 316 Summer St Meeting

Thanks to Mike T for writing up some notes from the meeting for the 316-322 Summer St project. Full details of the project are available on the BRA's 316-322 Summer St. Project Page. Public comments may be sent to the Project Manager, Jay Rourke: Jay.Rourke.BRA@CityofBoston.gov


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Some of the concerns raised included:

1. Another rooftop addition to dampen the original design integrity of yet another historic Boston Wharf Building in Fort Point.

2. Office conversion. This building, like many around it, lends itself to housing -a better means to extend the character of Fort Point as a neighborhood carved from the existing fabric -instead, it looks like any housing in the future will be, primarily, in new construction (yawn). Existing buildings usually offer opportunity for more affordable units as well (Less overall constr. cost). So if all the old stuff is gobbled up as office . . .

3. The BRA yields to the market when it should be planning. The feeling is that the BRA could have set aside a percentage of the historic "Boston Wharf" fabric for housing use only. I suppose that's a legal challenge, but one they coulda-shoulda risen to. Good planning should have teeth to transcend market forces -to adhere to a vision. In the eyes of most who live here, this conversion to office (and one similar planned for Melcher Street) -fails that test. Its especially annoying after many years of rhetoric about making this a neighborhood. Summer Street will simply roll up after 6:00.

Gladly, one good mitgation feature is that the owners have expressed interest in working with the artists community to possibly program their ground floor -perhaps with a gallery.

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