Representatives from The Chiofaro Company and the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) hosted a virtual open house on Thursday evening to discuss The Pinnacle at Central Wharf project.
The Pinnacle project, having recently gone through a new series of public engagement sessions, has continued to drive discussion and create community debate. Thursday’s meeting featured subject matter experts on the project team weighing in with their perspectives, before opening up for a question and comment session.
Tower Design and Program
Trent Tesch, Design Principal at KPF (Kohn Pederson Fox), reviewed early-stage concepts of the Pinnacle Project that have evolved over time. In addition to a historical retrospective, Tesch described the different geometrical and design elements that are being employed to account for wind, shadow, and solar glare impacts.
Open Space, Public Realm, and Activation
Christine Wilson, representing Copley-Wolff, and Graffito Founder & President Jesse Baerkhan tackled the elements of open space, public realm and activation.
Wilson spoke of the need for a landscape fit that factored in further integration with the public realm down to the harbor, with Fort Point’s Martin’s Playground being cited as an example. The project team would also seek to work with public artists and educators to showcase New England’s rocky intertidal zone.
Baerkhan observed that the identification of several key priorities zeroed in on building creative programming and community partnerships. Going on to state that this tactical activation strategy was designed with accessibility, equity, and inclusion strategies in mind, Baerkhan expressed the need to have “a large range of diverse actors” to complement what he hoped would be an equally diverse range of activities on-site.
Climate Resiliency and Sustainability
Carlos Cerezo Davila, who serves as KPF’s Environmental Design Director, and Consentini’s Director and Senior VP Robert Leber went over resiliency and sustainability objectives for the project with particular emphasis on carbon neutrality, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and flood mitigation.
Davila pointed out that success wouldn’t simply be determined by using the best equipment, but by thinking creatively about the utilization of resources and working to become “the first stone in a large scale wall of a solution” for sea level rise.
Referring to the project as a “fantastic experiment” with circular economic potential, the team emphasized that current plans and projections are part of a “living process” that will eventually determine the Pinnacle’s complete energy model.
Transportation and Circulation
Howard Stein Hudson’s Associate Principal Brian Beisel concluded the presentation by offering a comparative analysis between the current and projected future state of on-site transportation and circulation.
Community Questions and Comments
Joanne Hayes-Rines wondered where ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, along with paratransit services such as The Ride, would pick up passengers. Rines also asked where deliveries would be taking place. Project Manager Rob Caridad pointed to a potential opportunity for drop off zones similar to ones piloted in Fenway.
Several Harbor Towers residents raised concerns on the traffic circulation impact to East India Row, with Caridad acknowledging that increased “time, energy and conversation” will be spent in additional study.
BPDA will issue its written scoping determination following the conclusion of the public commentary period on October 9th. Comments to the BPDA can be submitted here.