Real Estate

Chiofaro Blitzes Press With New Design for Harbor Garage Redevelopment

Original plan and lower angular towers. (Chiofaro Company)

As only he can, developer Don Chiofaro stirred the press into a fury today as he presented a modestly scaled down version of “Aquarium Place” on the Harbor Garage site. The two angular towers have been cut by about 20% from the height of the original proposal and now stand at 615 and 471 feet. Of course, this is still substantially taller than the city’s recently approved 200 foot height as part of the Greenway’s development guidelines.

Interesting excerpts:

Boston Business Journal

The new plan calls for two angular-topped towers …  with a zigzagged corridor that would offset some of the objections voiced by neighbors concerned over harbor views.

Another controversial aspect of the new Chiofaro plan would convert an abutting portion of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway into a pedestrian-friendly area — long the slated destination for a wading pool and other park amenities — anchored by a four-season garden at the ground level of the Aquarium Place development.

Boston Herald

Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Mayor Thomas M. Menino, said City Hall is frustrated by Chiofaro’s tactics. “The Boston Redevelopment Authority is the appropriate agency to submit new proposals for development,” she said. “It would be best if he went though the proper channels.”

Chiofaro admitted his latest design would have “a little bit” of an impact on views for some Harbor Towers tenants.

“Don Chiofaro and partner Prudential have not shown us, his closest neighbors, anything, but it appears they went through a hollow effort to try to drum up support for a project that doesn’t come close to meeting city and state requirements, reconfiguring neighbors’ properties and ignoring their concerns in the process,” Harbor Towers Spokesman Tom Palmer said in a statement to Banker & Tradesman.

Boston Globe

In addition to reducing the project’s height, Chiofaro substantially altered the design. The revised towers, which would contain offices, a hotel, and residences, are more angular than before, twisting upward to sloped rooftops. Chiofaro also changed plans for a promenade between the two towers, making it a zig-zagging pathway instead of straight opening to the water.

“The objective is to open the waterfront to the rest of the city in a way that currently doesn’t,” exist said Chiofaro,” adding that he hopes the revised design can be the starting point for a “constructive dialogue” with the city about the property’s redevelopment.

Phoenix Editorial: “Please Mr. Mayor, Talk to Chiofaro”

This is not to say that Chiofaro’s proposal as it now stands should be approved. It’s not perfect. But it has merit. It should be considered. We discussed the plans with several architects with no ties to either the mayor or the developer and all said that they thought the central idea of towers not exceeding 400 feet was workable. Chiofaro’s plans, they said, were rough, but certainly ready for refinement.

It is important to note that this is a $1 billion-plus development, and Chiofaro is asking for neither tax breaks nor subsidies. If built, Chiofaro estimates the towers would provide 4000 construction jobs and 3800 permanent jobs. They would provide the city with $19 million in annual taxes and a one-time linkage fee of $13 million. Massachusetts would stand to garner $2 million in hotel taxes and $20 million in income taxes each year. In addition, Chiofaro has offered the city $50 million for neighborhood improvements — to either the harbor front or the Greenway. With the city facing several years of squeezed revenues, which will hit libraries, schools, parks, and public safety hard, it is difficult to understand how a prudent official can not at least talk.
Listen to an audio report from Radio Boston.

2 Replies to “Chiofaro Blitzes Press With New Design for Harbor Garage Redevelopment

  1. And we thought Donald Trump was annoying. Chiofaro should have his own reality TV show. He certainly lives in his own reality.

  2. persistent. If he would just stop grandstanding and propose something that fits the guidelines (200ft), doesn't block the harbor views, and doesn't try to include the greenway into his private property, he might actually get support from the BRA, the Mayor, the abutters, and the surrounding neighborhoods.

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