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.
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.
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.
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.
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.