The public got its first look at the proposed 1033-1055 Washington St. development in the South End during the city’s initial Impact Advisory Group (IAG) meeting for the project, which took place virtually on March 1.
The Druker Co. is proposing a project comprising two life science/office buildings – 1055 Washington St. (the north building) and 1033 Washington St. (the south building), respectively – with an above-grade connection between them. Both buildings would stand approximately 150 feet high to the roofline sans mechanicals, with an aggregate gross floor area of approximately 588,000 square feet. The project will include ground-floor retail and restaurant space in both buildings, 8,000-9,000 square feet of community/non-profit space, a landscaped pedestrian plaza between the buildings connecting Washington Street and Shawmut Avenue, and related site improvements and amenities.
David Manfredi, CEO and founding principal of Elkus Manfredi Architects, said the project would contain two levels of below-grade parking, with 108 total spaces, including two ADA spaces and 33 Electric Vehicle (EV) charging spaces, below 1055 Washington St.; and 71 total spaces, including two ADA spaces and 21 EV charging spaces, below 1033 Washington St.
Besides 192 bicycle spaces provided inside the new buildings, the project also includes opportunities for new bike parking along Washington Street and on the sidewalk and streetscape on Shawmut Avenue, said Mikyoung Kim, a landscape architect for the project.
Sean Manning of the Boston civil engineering firm, VHB, added that a project of this size is also committed to creating a new station for the regional Bluebikes bike-sharing network, “whether it’s on site or somewhere else.”
Manning also said a traffic study for the project would be released in about 10 weeks, after public comments and city feedback have been collated and taken into account.
“We don’t see traffic impact chunking up at any one location,” said Manning, adding that the project would allow for the dispersion of traffic.
As part of the project, five curb-cuts on the site, including four on Washington Street and one on Shawmut Avenue, would be reduced to four total, said Manfredi.
The project would also create a path that would connect pedestrians from Albany Street along Traveler Street, past Washington Street, and onto Shawmut Avenue, said Manfredi, before eventually reaching the Castle Square apartment complex on Tremont Street.
Deborah Backus, executive director of the Castle Square Tenants Association, said she doesn’t support changing the curb-cuts as she’s particularly concerned about the safety of pedestrians crossing Washington Street.
Additionally, the project would create an enclosed service path between Washington Street and Shawmut Avenue, which would run through the buildings, he added.
Washington Street will also have a “generous” sidewalk that could accommodate plantings and provide opportunities for seating, said Kim.
IAG member Adam Schepp asked whether an undeveloped open parcel located adjacent to the project site along Shawmut Avenue could be incorporated into the proposal.
Barbra Boylan, vice president of The Druker Co., said while the open parcel wouldn’t be part of this current proposal, the Druker Co. has twice responded to a Request for Proposals (RFP) from the city for its development.
Boylan said it would “make sense” for Druker to develop the open parcel to complement the new courtyard and added that the company is “trying to get the timing right.”
Likewise, Kim said Druker has committed to developing the open parcel, “but whether it happens in the first phase remains unclear.”
The project is expected to create 900 jobs, while $7 million in linkage would help support affordable housing and job training, said Harry Collings of The Druker Co.
The BPDA was scheduled to hold a public meeting on proposal virtually on Wednesday, March 8.
The public comment period for this project is open through March 17. Visit the BPDA’s project website at https://www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/1033-1055-washington-street to submit public comments or learn more about the project, or email public comments directly to Sarah Black, BPDA project manager, at [email protected]