Members of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) debated the proposed redevelopment at Dock Square Garage. Head of the group’s zoning committee, Victor Brogna, presented opposition to the height (00:00 in video) based primarily on the loss of the Greenway view corridor from Haymarket to the Custom House Tower.
The current plan, shown above, is to build a seven-story, 220,000 square-foot addition on top of the current garage and add 30,000 square feet of residential space for approximately 180 units. The original plans called for a 209-foot tall building, but have now been reduced to 160 feet tall.
Some NEWRA members supported the proposed development, questioning the group’s opposition to the project. Maxime Devilliers said, “I walk by that garage everyday and it is hideous” (13:00 in video). At a recent Impact Advisory Group meeting sponsored by the Boston Planning and Redevelopment Agency (BPDA), the revised plan was well-received. Proponents emphasized the height reductions and added green space around the perimeter of the building and retail space on the side facing the Greenway.
Height targets along the Greenway corridor were set for 125 feet through the multi-year Greenway Planning District Study guidelines, contrasting with the current proposal for a 160 foot development at Dock Square Garage.
Former NEWRA President, Mary McGee, spoke against building “more luxury housing for the 1%.” (10:50 in video) She added, “this is a historical area of the city, even the country, and this is what makes Boston unique. We don’t want to be just like any other city.” Brogna notes the Boston Civic Design Commission might also object to the plan given the reduced views. He was also worried about parking for patrons of Faneuil Hall. There are currently about 650 public parking spaces and the new development will use 150 to 200 of those spaces for residents.
NEWRA member, Jared Alves, said he has also been going to the development meetings on the project (16:00 in video). While originally opposed, he favors the recent changes and supports the current plan. An advocate of city housing to mitigate climate change, Alves said, “If we don’t build transit accessible homes in the city, these 180 homes will be built elsewhere and those commuters will just add to Boston’s congestion.”
The comment period for the project ends on February 22. Comments can be submitted here: www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/dock-square-garage.