Video: Government Center Garage Redevelopment Project Meeting of the Impact Advisory Group for the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Presentation by Thomas O’Brien, HYM Investment Group – July 18, 2011, City Hall.
Despite many unanswered questions, HYM’s Investment Group’s Thomas O’Brien received a hopeful response last night to his new proposal for a large, phased-in complex to be built on the site of the existing Government Center Garage between the West End, North End and Beacon Hill neighborhoods. O’Brien is a former director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The BRA sponsored the meeting at City Hall for its Impact Advisory Group (IAG) on the development.
The initial phase would include a 420 foot high residential, rental unit tower on New Sudbury and Bowker Streets, costing $140 million over the four years of expected construction. After that, the schedule was largely undetermined, according to O’Brien. Notably, some of the existing garage would remain on the site.
An aerial overhead view of the site showed a longer-term plan for an office tower near the JFK Building at 600 feet, or 45 stories. He estimated 2,600 construction jobs would be created for the entire project which would include 1.2 million sq. ft. of office, 900k sq. ft. of residential, 450k sq ft. of hotel, 400k sq. ft of parking and 50k sq. ft. of retail space. As far as height and density, the proposal falls within the new guidelines recently adopted by the BRA in its Greenway District Planning Study (See BRA Presents its Final Draft Guidelines for Development Along the Greenway).
For the community, O’Brien focused on neighborhood and pedestrian connections between the West End, North End and Beacon Hill with an emphasis on opening up Congress Street and activating the Greenway area. The Haymarket T and Bus station is a key part of the plan, although O’Brien’s final view showed an overall reduction in bus lanes. IAG members questioned the potential for including a new downtown school in the project, a concept that is not part of HYM’s proposal.
Some on the IAG appreciated the “lessons learned” from the last proposal made by Raymond Group that was not well-received by the group with towers up to 52 stories. (See IAG Throws Up Yellow Flag on the Government Center Garage Plan.) Still, there were many unanswered questions on schedule, shadows and other impacts. O’Brien said he expects to file a formal Project Notification Form in the Fall of 2011. The next IAG meeting has not yet been scheduled. More information on the project can be found at the BRA’s website.