The recent buzz about the proposed Government Center Garage Redevelopment project has centered around its tower heights. In response to concerns regarding shadows on the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway parks and the North End neighborhood, developer Thomas O’Brien and HYM Investment Group has reduced its originally proposed tower heights from the original Project Notification Form to the current Draft Project Impact Report. The specific height reductions include:
- 72′ drop in the office tower on the west parcel from 600′ to 528′
- 118′ drop in the residential / hotel tower on the east parcel from 275′ to 157′
So, what is the shadow difference between the original and current proposal? HYM Project Team member, Dino DiFronzo, helped answer our question and provided the following shadow variance maps reflecting the seasonal periods, late in the afternoon daylight period. In Summer (shown above) the sun is high in the sky and shadows are short. The indicated changes help reduce the shadows on the North End Parks on the Greenway. In Winter (shown below) the sun is at its lowest and shadows are long. The indicated changes still produce a long shadow on the North End’s rooftops.
To fill in the seasonal gap between Summer and Winter, below is the Fall – September 21st map for 6:00 pm with the new net shadow impact extending over the Greenway into the North End.
The developer’s shadow study with maps for all the seasons at various times is available in this PDF file. HYM points out the heights for the redevelopment are lower than those drafted in the Greenway District Planning Study that is currently being codified into zoning by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Full documents regarding the Government Center Garage Redevelopment can be found at the BRA website and the HYM project site.
Debating Height in Boston
Much has been written about the oft-debated height issues related to new Boston developments including the Government Center Garage. A recent column by Boston Globe commentator Paul McMarrow titled “Scared of heights” argues in favor of higher towers for Boston’s skyline. The Globe also posted some countering letters, including “Many of the greatest cities lack tall buildings” and “Nothing ‘world class’ about sprawling up.”
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