Mayor Walsh announced today he's lifting the snow emergency at 5 p.m. today. That means residents can save their spaces for 48 hours, or until 5 p.m. on Friday - except in the South End, where spaces can never legally be saved.
Mark Development of Wellesley and Buckminster Annex LLC have filed plans with the BPDA to add two new hotel towers next to and across the street from the Buckminster Hotel in Kenmore Square.
The two new buildings - 24 stories on Commonwealth Avenue, replacing a one-story bank building and 19 on Beacon Street, replacing three existing buildings - would add a total of 677 hotel rooms to the Buckminster's existing 132. The developers are also proposing a 145-space underground parking garage beneath the Beacon Street tower. The two new towers would also have ground-floor retail space.
The wedge-shaped Comm. Ave tower on a 6,000-square-foot lot, would be a "micro hotel" with 382 very small rooms, with "rooftop amenity space which will be open to the public." The existing Citizens Bank will get some of the ground-floor retail space.
The Beacon Street hotel would be a more conventional hotel, with 295 rooms in which guests could turn around with their arms spread out as well as conference rooms, a cafe and lounge and more "rooftop amenity space open to the public." It would also include a new pedestrian connection between Brookline Avenue and Beacon Street.
The Buckminster would remain largely as it is, the developers say.
Because the total lot size of the project is slightly more than an acre, the developers will file a request for "planned development area" designation, which would let them ignore existing zoning for the current parcels and bargain directly with the BPDA over the size and look of the buildings, rather than also having to go before the Board of Appeals. Because the project is larger than 50,000 square feet, the BPDA will appoint a citizens' advisory group to consider the plans.
In their filing, the developers discuss what they think the changes will mean to Kenmore Square:
Over the last 20 years, the Kenmore Square neighborhood has experienced slow progress towards the transformation and revitalization seen in many other areas of central Boston. Both the construction of the Hotel Commonwealth and the bus station replacement and its associated pedestrian improvements have had a positive impact on the public realm, specifically the south side of the Square; however, the remainder of the Square remains largely unchanged. The Kenmore Square Hotels Project will continue the Square's transformation, and vastly improve a neighborhood that today features dated retail uses, empty office floors, and an inactive pedestrian realm largely predicated on foot traffic from Fenway Park. A recent change in ownership on the north side of the Square presents further opportunity for redevelopment of existing assets and additional density that will complement the proposed Project. ...
The Project will create a new destination in Kenmore Square by adding new activity at the intersection of three major streets, where there is currently little reason for people to do more than just pass through. From Brookline Avenue to Deerfield Street, new opportunities for retail, an improved pedestrian experience, and a more dynamic public realm will reinvigorate this portion of Kenmore Square. The Project will develop the currently underutilized parcels and improve the streetscape with landscaped sidewalks, street furniture and comfortable and inviting open spaces. As previously described, a new, accessible connector between Brookline Avenue and Beacon Street is also proposed as part of the Project, which will allow the 24/7 flow of pedestrians from Brookline Avenue to Beacon Street and beyond, and will improve the pedestrian experience for those traveling between the Fenway neighborhood, Kenmore Square, Boston University, and the Charles River.