The Wharf District Council (WDC) held its February meeting on Tuesday evening at The Boston Harbor Hotel. With over 100 people in attendance, a number of notable reports and community updates were included as part of a full agenda.
Pinnacle at Central Wharf / Harbor Garage: Rob Caridad and Steve Mitchell, representing The Chiofaro Company, presented the latest details on The Pinnacle at Central Wharf with accompanying PNF (Project Notification Form) data. The much-anticipated public meeting on February 10th has been postponed due to a conflict with the Langham Hotel refurbishment meeting. A new date is expected to be announced shortly.
Attendees did ask a few questions, including “How do you expect construction to take place beginning in Q4 of 2021 with an anticipated timeline of 3 years when there’s ongoing litigation?” Caridad responded, “We strongly believe common ground outweighs divergences.”
Due to traffic/parking concerns with respect to the project, WDC President Marc Margulies announced that a WDC meeting specific to this subject is currently being planned.
MBTA/Aquarium Flood Protection Project: Revisiting the toll taken from over 3.2B worth of sustained storm and flood damage in January of 2018, MBTA Project Manager Joseph Guyder presented a Climate Ready Boston Project designed to improve the resilience of MBTA Aquarium Station and Blue Line Tunnels vulnerable to flood intrusion. Among the improvements discussed were new floodproof egress structures to be placed under the pavilion on Long Wharf, deployable flood barriers at station entrances, reconstruction of sidewalks and the installation of a potentially art-decorated flood barrier storage container located at the southwest headhouse of the Blue Line.
The MBTA has appeared before the Boston Improvement Commission and is meeting with the Boston Conservation Commission on February 5th. WDC members urged being kept informed on the process and for the MBTA to pay particular attention to construction impacts on the Custom House and Harborside Inn as well as the specificity of elevation landings. The project is set to start in March and completion is estimated at 4-5 months.
30-36 Batterymarch St: Greg Kleinn, GM for Sonder and Matt Eckels representing Drago + Toscano LLP appeared before the WDC, issuing a proposal to change the occupancy from 26 residential units to 26 executive suites in keeping with the City’s short-term rental ordinance. Complete interior renovations will be taking place, including upgrading unit 5A to ADA compliance (e.g handrails, oven knobs). Kleinn and Eckels emphasized that there will be no displacement of current occupants. No date has been set to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals, but a WDC letter of support was requested.
55 India St: Curtis Kemeny, representing the Boston Residential Group, appeared before the WDC to discuss a proposed project taking place at 55 India Street. The $75 million project would consist of approximately 67,000 sf (square feet), 12-story mixed-use building with approximately 29 residential units (reduced from the 43 requested in 2014 as Kemeny acknowledged market changes) and 4,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.
All units will be 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom with balconies and outdoor space. The affordable program is also being adjusted to accommodate 5 artist live-work spaces. Kemeny envisions a restaurant occupying the retail space. Boston Residential Group is in the process of working with The Greenway Conservancy.
A WDC member asked if parking and traffic concerns had been taken into consideration, with Kemeny responding: “We’ve purchased easements from Folio which are deeded to each unit and run to perpetuity.” The WDC has requested an update on construction progress to monitor neighborhood impact. A Public Meeting is set for February 5th at City Hall from 6-8PM.
Langham Hotel: Kelly Roche reported to the WDC that the Langham Hotel is currently in the process of renovating and refurbishing the existing structure. Project completion is tentatively set for Summer 2020, with plans for a full facade upgrade, the removal of the iconic red awnings, and ADA access made available on Pearl St. The Bond Lounge will also be offering all day and night dining. A Public Meeting is set for February 10th at 250 Franklin St from 6-8PM.
State Street Renovations: State Street Renovations were not covered at this month’s meeting, but there will be an AG (Advisory Group) meeting to discuss project status on Thursday, February 6th 2020 at City Hall.