BPDA Holds IAG Meeting Regarding the Motor Mart Garage Project

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) held an Impact Advisory Group (IAG) meeting regarding the Motor Mart Garage project on Oct. 2. The purpose of this meeting was for the architects to present the project to the IAG, which is a nominated group of individuals who are residents of the project area or work closely with the community, to get their feedback and suggestions on the proposal thus far.

The public was invited to attend the meeting, but the discussion was prioritized between the IAG and the development team. However, there was some time at the end for public questions and comments.

Philip Casey, a principal at CBT Architects, said that they would like to preserve the full facade of the Motor Mart Garage, and add a 20-story residential tower on top with 306 residential units. Right now, there are a little over 1,000 parking spaces, but the proposal only includes 672 parking spaces. There would be a mix of public and residential parking, and a combination of self parking and valet.They would also like to table Church Street to better connect it to Statler Park.

Casey said that the first constraint of this design was the shadow regulations for the area. They are not allowed to cast any net new shadow on the green spaces, including the Public Garden and the Boston Common. They worked to configure the building to be complaint with these regulations.

The ground floor is proposed to have a residential lobby and retail space, with a possible supermarket or pharmacy on the basement level, Casey said.

There is also an amenity floor for the residents on the first floor above the garage. Casey said there would be “two different characters and uses” for the amenity floor. The southern deck would be more active, with a possible pool and active fitness area, while the northern deck would be quieter and “more contemplative,” with something like a yoga class going on, Casey said. There was concern from the IAG about noise on the decks, but Casey said that there is a lot of incentive to keep it under control because the residents of the new building will be affected as well.

As for sustainability, the architects are looking at such things as rain water harvesting, enhanced indoor air quality, effective orientation, and transit-oriented and multi-modal accommodations.

The blue Motor Mart Garage sign will stay, and though there is no name for the residential building yet, it is being discussed. There was also a question raised about the reflectivity of the building because it is mostly glass. “Our intent is not to make this a reflective building,” Casey said. “We don’t see that having a strong glare impact.”

The cooling towers will not be located on the roof, and any mechanical equipment that is located on the roof has to be shorter than 10 feet in order to keep the shadow compliance.

IAG member Meg Mainzer-Cohen said that she really likes the architectural of the building and thinks that the architects have “done a really great job.”

Other residents from the abutting One Charles had concerns about how this building would affect theirs; one resident said that while she thought the presentation was informative, it did not address that side of the building enough. The One Charles residents and other abutters will have concerns with things like traffic, access, not blocking the garage, work hours, and noise and the IAG wants to make sure that these things are addressed by the development team.

The project is estimated to have a 30-month construction period, and they are working with the current restaurants to see who might want to come back after construction. Legal Seafoods has expressed interest in staying, and the development team and the BPDA said they would work with them if possible.

There will be a public meeting on Oct. 9 at the Revere Hotel where the public will be invited to make comments and suggestions and ask questions. The comment period is still open for submissions until Oct. 12. They can be submitted to project manager Michael Rooney at [email protected] or on the project site on the BPDA website.

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