Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Public Meeting on Seaport Square Tomorrow, Artists for Humanity

There's a meeting tomorrow night on the Seaport Square development project:

Seaport Square Meeting
Public Meeting, Artists for Humanity, 100 W. 2nd St, SB
Wed, 04-30-2008 06:30 PM - 08:30 PM



Some background on the project:

GALE International (the developer) has a Seaport Square Marketing Website
(obviously take this with a large grain of salt; Tony Goldman had a similar glossy picture of the future before he came into Fort Point)

And there's an ArchBoston Thread discussing the project.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Photos from Boston Shines

The cleanup:



The Party:

Fort Point Shines

We'd like to thank all of the volunteers who came out and helped clean up the neighborhood as part of Boston Shines, especially Jennifer Amadeo-Holl, who organized the tree mulching. The neighborhood looks great!

We'd also like to thank the city, especially Casey Flynn from the Mayor's office, for getting all of the brooms and shovels and having the street sweeper crew pickup all of the collected dirt and trash; we gave them a lot this year. In addition, thanks to the local businesses for donating supplies for breakfast and the party:

flour
St. Alphonzo's Kitchen (aka Potbellies)
Kimball Borgo Real Estate
Sagarino's Market
Salvatore's
LTK
Lucky's

And of course, our own Cam Sawzin for organizing another successful cleanup.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Boston Shines Globe Article

From Scores helped to clean up the city:

...Near the Fort Point Channel in South Boston, neighborhood residents cleared debris from tree beds that lined A Street and spread new brown mulch around the trunks.

"The wonderful thing about this is that there are artists her, there are new residents here, people that have a lot of money and people that don't," said Cam Sawzin, a 3-year resident of the neighborhood and an interim board member of the Fort Point Neighborhood Association, which helped organize the group clean-up effort.

About two dozen residents from the Fort Point neighborhood lined A Street and swept and shoveled litter and debris into the street just ahead of a street sweeper that picked up the waste.

"I think this neighborhood has so much potential to be a vibrant part of the city," said Dan Palese, a resident of the neighborhood who helped remove trash from A Street with his family . "For someone like me with a family, what's important is the green space and not only to clean it up, but to show that there are people living here."

Friday, April 25, 2008

New Restaurant: Sophia's Cafe

Sophia's Cafe, a new restaurant on Dot Ave across from the Broadway T stop is open for business. I haven't been, but the Globe enjoyed it: Sophia's is a simple place with admirable ambitions. The menu gets no fancier than soups, salads, and sandwiches, as well as baked goods and coffee. Neither Jennifer, Dominique, nor his brother, Sebastian, who helps run the place, are trained cooks, but they put a lot of love in their food:

Cafe is home addition to neighborhood

Jones Lang LaSalle to Develop Postal Annex Site

Developer picked for 16 acres at Fort Point
Postal Service moves plan to redevelop annex site forward
By Thomas C. Palmer Jr., Globe Staff | April 25, 2008

The Postal Service has named the big real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle to develop the annex site it will vacate, 16 acres on Fort Point Channel in a rapidly developing section of downtown near South Station.

Jones Lang LaSalle beat out a team made up of the Beal Cos. of Boston and the Related Cos. of New York, as well as three other companies in earlier bidding, for the right to turn the property into a bustling mixed-use urban development.

Last year, the Postal Service said it would sell the site and move farther down Summer Street, next to the Reserved Channel on the South Boston Waterfront.

The selection of a developer begins a long process. Permitting for the annex's redevelopment and construction of a new Postal Service facility could take five years or more, officials said.

Read full article...

Post Office Cleans Parking Lot and A Street

You may have noticed that A Street is looking much nicer. FPNA has been working with the Post Office on taking better care of their grounds. Yesterday they did a great job of cleaning up their parking lot on A Street as well as the fence and sidewalk alongside it. Just in time for Boston Shines! We'd like to thank Captain Chris "Tiger" Stockbridge from ISD for his help and Bob Canon from the Post Office.

Boston Shines Saturday

An update on Boston Shines from Cam, who's coordinating it, is below. We'd thank to thank all of the local businesses who donated food for the party afterwards. Looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday.

--
The pre-clean up planning is going well. This year so far we have flour for pastries in the morning. Sagarinos for morning muffins, coffee, Kimball Borgo Real Estate at 21 Wormwood is giving us wine for the party, Luckys is donating pizza and beer, Salvatore's is sending soft drinks and 5 pizzas, (for expert comparison of course), St. Alphonzo's Kitchen's famous mac and cheese, LTK clam chowder- a gallon!

We all well know this kind of commitment sends a message to stakeholders (the USPS for example) and elected officials, but that shouldn't be the only reason we buff up Fort Point Channel. Many thanks to Jennifer Amadeo-Holl for rounding up 10 volunteers to help mulching trees along A street.

We will start at 9:00 AM Saturday April 26th. The city will tow cars on A Street, so Anthony at CB Richard Ellis is looking into parking for Sat. It's tricky because of the filming this weekend but he's working on a spot for us. Stay tuned. We will post alternate parking signs on the Street. (Need help with that too).

There are two meeting places, one in front of 300 Summer and one on A Street in front of Channel Center.

Several members of the Fort Point Neighborhood Association are helping with coordination, as well as other residents. If you want to join us give me a call at 617-797-2307. We still desperately need someone from 300 Summer to help with distribution of tools, etc.

The after party will be in the little park on Binford Street in front of 35 Channel Center. It was to start at 7 but it will be chilly by then, so set up will be 4:-4:30 and party will start at 4:30 or as soon as the food is out :-)

Hope you can join us! This is just the kind of event that brings all the populations of the community together.

Best,

Cam

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Annual City Census

The annual census conducted by the city is underway. You can either send in the form you should've received in the mail, or fill out the online version:

http://www.cityofboston.gov/elections/arl/

This is used by the city to direct services as well as for voting, so make sure you get counted.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Help Mulch Trees At Boston Shines

As part of Boston Shines, Jennifer Amadeo-Holl is looking for volunteers to help mulching trees:

Dear Fort Point Neighborhood,

I am coordinating a tree mulching of A-Street, as part of the Boston Shines Day on Saturday April 26, starting at 9am.

WHAT THIS INVOLVES:
1. The A. Street trees are covered in sand. This is detrimental to their health as the sand heats up in summer, causing high soil temperatures and excess evaporation. It can also interfere with gas exchange & the conduction of water from the roots to the leaves, as the root collar (lower trunk) is part of the root system. So the sand layer needs to be dug out (requires shovels) and brushed off, if loose enough (requires strong brooms).
2. I will buy the the mulch (minimum 64 bags) and pay for the delivery, but I need a group of people to do the digging and mulching. Unfortunately I cannot at this time help with the physical labor.
3. There are 34 trees (including the 2 on Melcher St), and I imagine the sand is heavy & packed in after the last several winters, so the work may be a bit tiring, but ultimately very satisfying & visually rewarding! If we have a sizeable group it would mean several trees per person.
4. The City will provide shovels & brooms, and will street sweep later in the day, thereby removing the sand we push into A.Street.

MEETING PLACE:
A. Street in front of Channel Center.

REPLY TO VOLUNTEER: to ; include your cell phone if available:
Please let me know if you can help out, for whatever amount of time you can spare. Even if you have already replied to Cameron Sawzin indicating interest in Boston Shines, please also reply to me directly so I know who wants to work on the trees. If I cannot get a group of at 6-8 people, I don't think the project is feasible because of the number of trees. Therefore I would need to cancel the purchase & delivery of mulch in advance. Further, I need to let the city know how many shovels & brooms we'll require. Please send your cell phone #, so we can coordinate on Saturday.

Many thanks in advance,
Jennifer Amadeo-Holl
300 Summer Street
jennifer@nber.org

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Boston Shines, Saturday, April 26th

Our own Cam Sawzin is running Boston Shines for Fort Point again this year. Please come out and help keep the neighborhood looking good, and stop by the party for some free food:

Boston Shines
Saturday, April 26th, starting at 9 AM



---
Greetings friends and neighbors!

It's almost Boston Shines time again. The past two years have been very successful, and the party afterwards is worth the work. Local restaurants (Luckys, Sagarinos etc) have been great about providing snacks and beverages, and the clean up is a great opportunity to get to know new and old neighbors. We all well know this kind of commitment sends a message to stakeholders (the USPS for example) and elected officials, but that shouldn't be the only reason we buff up Fort Point Channel. We will start at 9:00 Saturday April 26th. Last year there were two meeting places, one in front of 300 summer and one on A Street in front of Channel Center. I will check with Joe at Channel Center to find out the logistics for this year, which will depend on construction etc. Several members of FPNA have offered to help and if anyone else is interested, just shoot me an email!

Best,
Cam

P.S Wormwood park looks fabulous- not much to clean up THIS year.

Achilles Seeking 2 AM Liquor License

FPNA has learned that Achilles, the new restaurant on Summer St., is seeking a modification to their liquor license to allow them to serve until 2 am. Since it opened, there have been issues with valets using resident spots and noise, and residents are concerned that the extended hours will cause more problems. Below is a letter written by Peter Agoos, who lives near Achilles that discusses some of the objections:

---
I’ve learned that Rebecca Donahue, on behalf of the Achilles Project at 281 Summer Street, has begun an effort to extend the closing hours and change the licensing restrictions granted to this establishment. As an abutter I want to be clear in my opposition to the proposed changes.

I attended the Licensing Board hearing on March 21, 2007. The Board, in response to the numerous objections – mine included – voiced by abutters and other neighborhood owners and residents to a 2 am closing and live entertainment license, asked the applicants to make revisions to their application. After the revisions were submitted, the Licensing Board approved a 12am liquor license; the ABCC approved the granting of the license on June 13.

It’s terrific to have a new restaurant in the neighborhood, but its success does not depend on overturning the very reasonable restrictions of the current licensing. Those restrictions, made at the suggestion of the Licensing Board itself, create a reasonable likelihood for co-existence of this new entity with its long-established residential neighbors. Growing pains are already evident: as recently as last Saturday the restaurant’s operation has caused disturbances after midnight – not for the first time – with patrons leaving and continuing their socializing until 1am directly under the bedroom windows of an abutter at 50 Melcher Street. (50 Melcher Street also shares a party wall with the restaurant, through which both noise and cooking odors are transmitted whenever the restaurant is open.)

Granting a closing time 2 hours later and allowing the restaurant to morph into a nightclub at the same time is guaranteed to create an incompatible use and a contentious battle. I urge you to oppose any change from the current licensing.

Respectfully,

Peter Agoos
326 A Street
Boston, MA 02210

Monday, April 14, 2008

Reminder: Street Cleaning

It's that time of year again: street cleaning has started. Don't forget to watch where you park or you could get ticketed or towed.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Seaport Square Development Meeting, April 17th and 30th

Community meetings are being held to identify planning principles to guide the development of Seaport Square, the 23-acre area in South Boston owned by Gale International, Morgan Stanley, and WS Development.

Thursday, April 17, 2007
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Room 251
415 Summer Street, South Boston
6:30PM

Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Artists for Humanity
100 West Second Street, South Boston
6:30PM


Valerie Gingrich
waterfront | south boston
Boston Redevelopment Authority

Friday, April 11, 2008

Congress St. Bridge Opening April 28th

From the Metro:
Congress St. Bridge set to open April 28

BOSTON. The Congress Street Bridge, which has undergone major rehabilitation work for three years, is slated to reopen to traffic later this month after several delays.

The bridge, one of the financial district’s chief passageways to the South Boston Waterfront, will open to drivers on April 28. Crews will then finish the remainder of the work by the end of July, according to Executive Office of Transportation spokesman Adam Hurtubise.

The cost to fix the bridge has spiked more than $2.5 million since work began in 2004, when the project was pegged at $16.3 million. The work is now estimated to cost nearly $19 million. Over this last stretch of maintenance, workers have been replacing the main deck, completing extensive sidewalk repairs and cleaning and repainting the bridge.

Last year, a state transportation official attributed the delays and increase in cost to the bridge’s conditions being “worse than expected.”

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

SAND's Response to Melcher St Project

Steve Hollinger from SAND (a community group voicing a public vision for the development of Fort Point as a vibrant, urban neighborhood) wrote a great response to the BRA's stance on the Melcher St project which I wanted to highlight. To be clear, the FPNA doesn't necessarily agree with the BRA's interpretations and most members have great concerns about the project overall, but I believe it's important to post as much information directly from the sources as possible and let residents make up their own minds. In that spirit, here's Steve's response to the BRA's stance on the 49-63 Melcher St project:


---
Whether the BRA representative stated "a variance is not needed" for a building addition on top of a historic building instead of Archon/Goldman's assertions "as of right" is a distinction without a difference, since our ears had never heard either of these positions before.

That was the first time in Fort Point's 100+ year history that anyone (even seasoned community members who participated on the BRA's Fort Point Advisory Committee in the 100-Acre planning process) had ever heard that additions on top of historic buildings would be allowable without the due process we were accustomed to over the past ten years.

As for consistency, the BRA's statements are entirely inconsistent with what we were told during the 100-Acre process. We were ensured that the PDA would capture ALL of the elements of the 100-Acre plan including public realm components, and that the PDA would ensure that the 100-Acre process would unfold incrementally -- not phased according to the whims of the market.

We were never told about future "cooperation agreements" and other agreements that would somehow have to be retroactively tied back to the height and density captured in the PDA to ensure development of critical greenspace, civic space and cultural space along with commercial projects. Unfortunately, that is what we are hearing today, while the developers capture valuable height and density "as of right" without the need for zoning variances.

The 100 Acre PDA has effectively replaced the former zoning, and the developers have begun reaping the rewards without fulfilling the promise of the residential devlopment, the parks and civic spaces expressed in the 100-Acre plan.

On a more technical level, our (limited) conversations regarding rooftop additions during the 100-Acres process didn't discuss or support the aggregation of square footage across three buildings, as proposed by Archon/Goldman. And, although I'm not a lawyer, in my reading of the PDA, it makes no allowances for aggregation of building square footage.

The wind studies are troubling because they displayed a willingness to see the project swiftly approved. The current articulation of historic light wells on Necco Court are among the most beautiful in the neighborhood, and surely moderate windflow. Of course, it’s impossible for us to argue with a wind "expert" when we question the premise of a stark block-long fa├žade of newly infilled masonry behind Melcher Street. Approximately 79 historic windows on Necco Court will be filled in. This is a stunningly mediocre bit of architecture -- as was pointed out during the community meeting by one of Fort Point's renown urban planners.

These few details suggest why it is important for the BRA’s statements put into the context of the past decade of planning -- not absent the experience many in Fort Point have shared in expressing an “urban neighborhood vision”. We can’t be expected to respond to blog pages on every site, so I’d recommend a visit to www.bostonseaport.com.

Thanks for the opportunity to weigh in.

Steve Hollinger