Following up on previous comments related to the Government Center Garage Redevelopment project, neighborhood associations from the North End, Beacon Hill and West End have coordinated in a joint letter to the State expressing concerns along with “very specific measures of benefit and impact” on the downtown community. (Download the letter.)
“… we continue to believe that in order to realize public benefits, minimize impacts, and ensure the livability and viability of the downtown area for residents and visitors alike, the size, scale and density of the Project must be reduced,” said the joint statement.
Developer Thomas O’Brien’s HYM Investment Group LLC is proposing a 2.3 million square foot large-scale development calling for 1.2 million square feet of office space, 755 apartments, 57 condominium units, 196 new hotel rooms, 82,500 SF of retail, 850 new bicycle spaces and 1,159 parking spaces from the remaining portion of the existing 11-story, 2,310 space parking garage. The phased project will cover 2 blocks with six primary buildings, ranging from 60 to 528 feet high. (See developer images.)
The joint letter cites support for a redevelopment project while highlighting its concerns with the current proposal.
Unrealized Prospect for Benefits – There is general support in our neighborhoods for a transformation of the Government Center Garage whose design increases residential quality of life. We support expanded housing and commercial opportunities, vibrant residential and retail activity, and much needed improvements to the public realm and public infrastructure, centered on urban transportation and connectivity. We also welcome an “opening up” of the area, through removal of the massive and monolithic concrete garage that is a visual, physical and programmatic barrier between our neighborhoods. Given its critical downtown location, there is also great potential for connecting neighborhoods and enhancing the site’s function as a major transportation hub. Like recent and proposed improvements in the Bulfinch Triangle, the Market District, and the Greenway Overlay District, the Government Center Garage project could and should enhance the quality of life in the surrounding residential areas, further the public’s enjoyment of the city’s downtown, and promote broader economic growth. We are concerned, however, that the project as currently envisioned does not accomplish these goals.
The joint letter goes on to detail specific areas of concern and focus:
- Inappropriate Size, Scale and Density
- Traffic Demands and Impacts
- Public Transportation Demand and Impacts
- Public Benefits
- Infrastructure and Environment
- Air Quality
Download the 7-page joint letter (pdf) signed by Keeta Gilmore, Chair (Beacon Hill Civic Association), Jim Salini, President (North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association) and Angela Rotondo, President (West End Civic Association) dated July 11, 2014.