By Beth Treffeisen
The Los Angeles based CIM Group plans to build a residential tower on top of the existing Motor Mart Garage located at 201 Stuart Street in downtown Boston. The tower is currently planned to be 278 feet tall, and if built would be higher than the proposed 212 Stuart Street tower across the street at 199 feet.
The CIM Group has started their Article 80 process with the city, and has met with Bay Village Neighborhood Association (BVNA) executives. They have yet to write a Letter of Intent to the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA).
The Motor Mart Garage is a nine-level, 1,037 stall parking structure with about 50,000 square feet of ground floor retail and lower level retail space. The building is set on a 1.2-acre parcel at the border of Boston’s Back Bay and Theatre districts. Constructed in 1927, the concrete building’s exterior façade was replaced and upgraded in 1999 with stone and granite panels added at the street level.
According to Bethany Patten, the president of the BVNA the developers have met with the city four to six times and have plans to meet with the Midtown Park Plaza Neighborhood Association.
“The plans are to put the residential building on top of the existing garage,” said Patten. “They won’t change it but just improve the garage and make it look better.”
In addition, the height at 278 feet started a lot taller said Patten. The developers initial plans began at 318 feet but after discussions with the city they settled at its current height.
As far as the view from Bay Village residents, Patten said it all depends whether or not 212 Stuart Street, which is currently stuck in litigation, is built. Patten said pictures showed limited visibility because the 212 Stuart Street tower would mostly be blocking views of the Motor Mart Garage tower from the neighborhood.
The current plans Patten said include no on-street parking for residents, which will be provided within the garage. There are also plans to re-do the streetscape and make it more pedestrian friendly along Stuart Street and Statler Park.According to the Boston Business Journal, CIM acquired the Motor Mart Garage last year for $162.5 million.
Patten said the developers hope to follow an accelerated schedule, with plans to start construction next summer.
Patten said she hopes the developers can come make a presentation to the BVNA sometime in either January or February of next year.
Already, Bay Village residents voiced concerns over shadow, wind, traffic and other impacts it will have on the neighborhood.
The major difference this development has over the highly debated 212 Stuart Street tower located across the street is that it is not located within the Bay Village Historic District, leaving it with fewer restrictions to pertain to.
“We are the direct abutters,” said Sarah Herlihy, former president of BVNA. “It might behoove them to listen to us as neighbors.”
The same owners also acquired the 200 Stuart Street Garage across the street this past July. The six-level parking structure built in 1972 is connected to the 356-room Revere Hotel. It holds 826 parking spaces and over 10,00 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
Residents of Bay Village speculate that the owners eventually plan to do the same thing over the 200 Stuart Street Garage.
If the plans of the 19-story, 212 Stuart Street tower goes through, the tiny corner of Bay Village may soon look a lot taller, worrying residents.
“It’s obvious this one is going to be way taller while 212 Stuart Street is struggling across the street and it’s going to be shorter,” said Stephen Dunwell, a BVNA member. “It’s looking like [the Motor Mart Garage] is just going to swing forward – there are two different processes happening here.”