By Dan Murphy
The public got a look at preliminary design plans for the $1 billion Back Bay/South End Gateway project during a meeting sponsored by the Boston Redevelopment Authority the Boston at the Common Hotel and Conference Center on Wednesday, May 11.
Boston Properties Inc. intends to transform the MBTA Back Bay station and the existing 100 Clarendon St. parking garage, along with the entire block bound by Dartmouth, Stuart, Clarendon streets and Columbus Avenue, as well as four air-rights parcels, into a sprawling 1.26 million square-foot, mixed-use complex. The new development includes plans for three new towers that would accommodate residential, retail and office space, including a 26-story office tower with retail on the ground level at Dartmouth and Stuart streets. As part of the plan, a second floor would be added to the T station and the Boston Concourse would also be restored and improved.
Mike Cantalupa, senior vice president of Boston Properties, said the ramp for the Massachusetts Turnpike at the project would remain open in the base study, although the design team would look at other alternatives.
Melissa Shrock, Boston Properties senior project manager, said the developer is currently working to bring current retail tenants at the existing garage to the new location.
Charlie Denison, advocacy chair for the Cambridge non-profit Livable Streets Alliance, urged the design team to ensure that the new station provides adequate space for access and to accommodate waiting passengers.
While findings from the pedestrian-level wind study for the project have yet to be released, the deign team has identified the scope of the study and monitoring sites.
The project’s shadow impact would be minimal, although it would cast a small shadow on the northeast corner of Copley Square at noon on Dec. 21 – one of four days selected each year to study its impact, the deign team said. South End resident Bill McCarthy objected to the description of the project site as a “blighted area” in the Project Notification Form (PNF) and asked that it be removed from the document.
“It demeans our property values by using language like that in public filings,” McCarthy said.
The public comment period for the project has been extended to June 17. Comments can be submitted to Christopher Tracy c/o Boston Redevelopment Authority, One City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA 02201, or via e-mail to Christopher.Tracy@Boston.gov.