Video: Parcel 9 (Haymarket Hotel) BRA Impact Advisory Group meeting on January 13, 2016
After extended bidding and selection at the State level, a hotel proposal by Harbinger Development /Normandy Real Estate Partners to develop Parcel 9 at Haymarket continues to be in a state of transition as part of the Article 80 Large Project approval process at the Boston Redevelopment Authority. At an Impact Advisory Group meeting last week, BRA Project Manager Christopher Tracy said that the proponent is planning to come back to the BRA in the coming months for a PDA (Planned Development Area) approval. A PDA will enable a re-zoning of the project area at Haymarket and the Blackstone Block along the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Presenting on behalf of Harbinger Development was Eamon O’Marah who said they are considering further iterations on the project’s design in response to a letter by the Massachusetts Historical Commission’s Preservation Officer, shown in full below. The MHC has raised concerns regarding the impact of the 10-story (103 feet high) building on the surrounding Blackstone Block.
The MHC is very concerned that the proposed project’s negative impacts to the historic Blackstone Block can only be mitigated through project re-design with a significantly lower building height and more sympathetic design.
The hotel project has gone through several iterations, including some controversy over the design height that has increased by two floors (from 84 to 103 feet) since it was awarded designation by MassDOT, the State land owner of Parcel 9. Some changes by the developer were attributed to sea level rise and storm surge concerns that required mechanical equipment be moved up to the second floor of the hotel, which would have resulted in the loss of hotel space without the addition of the two hotel floors.
At the meeting, there was also extended discussion regarding the height and design of the Market Hall located facing the North End side of the parcel intended to support the operations of the Haymarket pushcarts. The image below shows the latest changes to the Market Hall proposal, with the original proposal in red.
The MHC letter says the Federal Highway Administration “must develop a plan to involve the public in its consultation for this project. The MHC recommends that you consult with Victor Brogna and Dianne Royle, at a minimum, as they have expressed an interest in the Parcel 9 Project. (See Mr. Brogna’s September 15, 2015 letter here.)
The January 8, 2016 letter from the Mass. Historical Commission is shown below.