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Dock Square Garage Plan Shows Limits of Building Over Existing Parking Structure

Dock Square Garage model presented at the April 5, 2018 public meeting with proponents and the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA)

The limits of building on top of an existing parking garage became apparent at last week’s public meeting with Dock Square Garage owner, Fortis Group and their architect team, Stantec. The need to retain internal ramps will result in little external change along Surface Road and the Greenway, other than recladding and new landscaping. In addition to height and shadow concerns, meeting attendees criticized the parking-centric plan which is coming at the expense of activating the ground levels around the large structure in the center of the Market District.

“Tens of thousands” of dollars are generated daily from the 698-space garage located next to popular Faneuil Hall Marketplace, according to the proponents. The garage is expected to remain open while they add 10 floors of luxury condominiums to create a 194 foot high structure. Developer Fortis Property Group of New York acquired the garage, which was built in 1980 and renovated in 2007, for $170 million in September 2017.

Proponents said they would look to see if some space could be made available, perhaps for a small cafe, along Surface Road. Otherwise, the external garage walls will remain as well as the tour buses that park on the roadway across from what is known as the Greenway’s parcel 12.

A pocket park is planned for the triangular section outside what is currently the Hard Rock Cafe.

A new pocket park is planned at the Clinton Street corner where the Hard Rock Cafe is located today. The entrance to the residential portion of the building will also be on that side of the structure. A new condo lobby would reduce the retail space from 15,000 to approximately 8,000 square feet.

Using a graduated floor plan, architects attempted to minimize shadows on Quincy Market and the Greenway parks. However, the parks from the North End Greenway to Christopher Columbus Park are still impacted by significant new shadows during some seasons. Custom House views are also significantly reduced from the North End side of the Greenway.

When complete, a 10-story, 253,000-square-foot spiral-shaped addition would include 195 condominium residences, expanding the garage to 17 stories and 209 feet tall as well as 535,000 square feet in size. The condos would include an outdoor patio/courtyard, a pool and rooftop green terraces. Twenty-five residences would be designated affordable.

Clinton Street is expected to remain open during construction that is anticipated to last approximately two years, commencing in the second quarter of 2019 and concluding in the second quarter of 2021.

The latest presentation slides are shown below and more information is contained in the Project Notification Form (pdf). A Planned Development Area (PDA) filing is also expected in the near future. The current comment period runs through April 13, 2018. Comments can be emailed to the Boston Planning & Redevelopment Agency Senior Project Manager, Michael Rooney at michael.rooney@boston.gov.

6 Replies to “Dock Square Garage Plan Shows Limits of Building Over Existing Parking Structure

  1. It’s ugly. Better to tear it down and build from scratch. Of course that would be too costly for the developers. So instead, Boston will be stuck with an ugly monstrosity in a very vital section of the city, all in the name of profit.

  2. We have two options: leave the garage as is or have it re-clad and build new housing on top to help activate this dead zone. This garage was designed when this site abutted the elevated highway, with little thought given to the aesthetics. It just served a purpose: to park cars. As more and more surface lots are being eliminated, we have to recognize that there is still a significant need for parking. We can’t just get rid of a huge garage. And, yes, its a profit center for the owners. So why not let them make an investment in the property, improve the design, add housing and make this part of the Greenway and backside of Quincy Market more active and safe with new residents? Sounds like there is an opportunity to do something on the surface artery side. Honestly, anything would be better than the current situation.

  3. What makes a city unique is in part it’s aesthetics. Too much of Boston has been lost because of expediency and and economic feasibility. New development in Boston has done little to enhance the city’s status as special or “world class.” Every development opportunity should add, not detract from the city’s appeal. Sadly, in Boston, our recent development has been ordinary, ugly, or second rate. Nothing to be proud of or worthy of a great city.

  4. This project at 205 feet is totally out of scale with the surrounding buildings that comprise the Haymarket and Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market historic districts. Allowing this sort of massive structure along the Greenway to accommodate developers at the expense of residents should not be supported. If the garage is considered an eyesore, tear it down and replace it with a more approporiate building that doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb.

  5. The future views that are not shown are the ones from the North End Park at ground level. When the addition is there the view that exist now will be gone and the North End Park will be more shut in. Is that why that view is not shown?

  6. Completely agree with Dan and Peter. What a shame, a glass building on top of a brick parking garage is laughable. The view of skyline from the Greenway will be ruined, not to mention the view of the skyline from the North End.

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