After more than 10 years of debate and still pending lawsuits over the Municipal Harbor Plan at the Harbor Garage site, the Chiofaro Company publicly released its long-awaited design for its waterfront tower on Atlantic Avenue. In a Project Notification Form (PNF) filed on Wednesday, renderings for a 600-foot tower called “The Pinnacle at Central Wharf” were issued to the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) kicking off the Article 80 development review at the city agency and the next phase of the public process analyzing the details of the project’s design, engineering, environmental impacts, and public benefits.
The tower will have approximately 865,000 sq. ft. and the outside Harborwalk will be part of 28,000 sq. ft. of open space, meeting the 50% Chapter 91 requirement set forth under the recent Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan. There will be 200 residential units and 538,000 sq. ft. of office space plus 42,000 sq. ft. of amenity space including retail and restaurant.
“The Pinnacle at Central Wharf” is a project driven by a desire to elevate Boston to the short list of truly extraordinary global waterfronts,” said Don Chiofaro, Founder and President of The Chiofaro Company. “In order to accomplish this goal, we need to deliver a project that promotes access and activity along our Harbor, honors its special location with exceptional design, and recognizes and confronts the challenges of climate change.”
The International Place developer is penning the new tower as the “Front Porch for Boston” and “a new public destination at Central Wharf offering a host of elevated experiences along the waterfront.” The architecture is designed by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates and features a climate-resilient plan with the building at 21.5 feet of elevation above sea level. The entire project site and the adjacent portion of the Harborwalk will be elevated by approximately four feet in a nod to sea-level rise. The stepped design intends to reduce wind and shadow impacts in the area, including the adjacent Greenway parks.
The Wharf District Council recently completed a public realm video that includes the Harbor Garage area showing a nebulous tower plan. Harbor Towers residents have been intensely opposed to the development as has the Conservation Law Foundation, saying the proposed height is more than three times allowed by the Ch. 91 waterfront standard.
Project proponents emphasize that the open space is concentrated on the North side, near the New England Aquarium, supporting the Wharf District’s public realm’s cultural and recreational offerings. “We recognize that, no matter how grand and beautifully designed, public spaces must be active in order to be successful,” said Don Chiofaro, Jr., Vice President of The Chiofaro Company. The plan could also consummate a deal with the New England Aquarium in exchange for $10 million in support of the proposed Blueway at Central Wharf.
Still, there are multiple hurdles before the project moves forward, as the lawsuits will now run in parallel with the city and state project review. Next up, the BPDA is expected to schedule public sessions in the Spring 2020 according to its Article 80 large project review process. Stay tuned to our Community Calendar for upcoming meetings.