Not just a 4,000-seat music hall: Charlestown could one day also get a hotel, cinema, bowling alley and pool hall

Architect's rendering of proposed music hall and garage.

The developer of the Hood Park complex off Rutherford Avenue has filed a request with the BPDA to be allowed to change its original plans for a business and residential development into a business, residential and entertainment park - possibly with bees.

Colliers International won permission in 2000 to convert the 20-acre former H.P. Hood headquarters and dairy into an 1.2-million-square-foot office park. Last year, it won permission to add a 177-unit apartment building, which is now under construction.

Now, the company is seeking BPDA approval for a 4,000-seat music venue and a restaurant and the possibility of one day adding other uses that could include a hotel, a movie theater, a billiards parlor, a bowling alley and shops. A day care is also listed as a possibility.

Also included in its proposal: "Accessory keeping of honey bees." Two hotels downtown already have rooftop apiaries.

Colliers says it could do all this without changing the total square footage of the project.

The key to is the 990-space, five-level, 95-foot high, 75,000-square-foot parking garage Colliers wants to build on land where it currently only has permission to build an 812-space garage.

The 4,000-square-foot music venue and a restaurant, for which Colliers says it has operators, would go into the first floor of the garage. The company says that the upper floors will be designed for conversion from parking into commercial, residential space or hotel space if the need for parking spaces decreases.

To account for the larger size of the garage, Colliers has proposed shrinking an approved but un-built 102,000-square-foot office building to about 27,000 square feet.

Colliers is counting on nearby traffic improvements from Sullivan Square to the North Washington Street bridge being paid for by the city and the impending Wynn casino to help it handle the extra traffic.

The company adds that the garage should be able to handle parking demands from both the offices in the park and the music hall, since the former requires day parking and the latter night and evening parking.

Notice of project change (12.3M PDF) - has renderings and building and traffic overviews.
PDA development plan (3.2M PDF) - the drier zoning-type changes required.

Third person to be charged in connection with East Boston man's murder

Demetrius Cast, 20, of Everett, was arraigned today on charges that include armed robbery in connection with the pot deal turned murder that left Duncan Ketter's body on the street at Orleans and Marginal streets on Sunday, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.

Cast was arraigned in his hospital bed at Mass. General, where he has been since the incident, which authorities say started when a friend of Ketter's arranged to sell pot to a 16-year-old and ended when Thorus O'Brien sprung up from the back of the SUV the kid, Ketter and the alleged pot seller were in, demanded the pot and, when an argument began, started shooting.

According to prosecutors, Cast was in the back seat with the victims when O'Brien fired and was struck in the arm.

A judge set bail at $350,000, but Cast won't be going anywhere but jail after he gets out of the hospital if he can make bail, because his bail on outstanding charges out of Malden and Woburn was revoked, the DA's office reports.

Innocent, etc.

Convicted law-school laptop thief in trouble again

David Scher of Newton, already convicted for stealing a laptop from Suffolk University Law School and for trying to alter court records related to that conviction, was arraigned yesterday on a charge of falsely claiming to be a lawyer, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.

Scher was ordered held for violating his terms of parole on the document-tampering charge by a Boston Municipal Court judge, the DA's office says.

According to prosecutors, Scher was released on parole on the records-altering conviction on Oct. 16:

On Oct. 23, Scher allegedly submitted a resume to a Boston recruitment agency in which he falsely claimed to hold a juris doctorate from Suffolk University Law School - a violation of Chapter 266, Section 89, of the Massachusetts General Laws. He also made false statements that he was currently employed as a patent attorney at an Abington employer.

After receiving the resume, the company contacted the Suffolk DA’s Special Investigations Unit, which had investigated Scher’s forgery and perjury offenses, prosecutors said. As a result of the new allegations, Scher was arrested for violating his probation on Nov. 21 and has remained in custody since that time.

Scher, who never returned to Suffolk Law and did not receive a JD degree, faces up to a year in jail if convicted on the new charge. After he pleaded guilty to trying to alter documents on his laptop-theft conviction, he was sentenced to a 2 1/2-year jail sentence - with most of that suspended if he stayed out of further trouble.

Innocent, etc.

Globe could be out $600,000 in Herald bankruptcy; Herald workers, freelancers could get screwed, too

The Herald's bankruptcy filing reports that among the debts the paper owes is an estimated $600,000 to the Boston Globe for "trade services," i.e., the cost of printing the Herald on its Taunton printing presses.

Also facing a possible loss: The Herald's landlord at 70 Fargo St. near the South Boston convention center, out a possible $150,000 in rent.

According to Herald workers, though, one potential creditor was paid in full: Brown Rudnick, a downtown law firm publisher Pat Purcell hired, at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars, to advise him over the past couple of months on filing for bankruptcy - even as he was skipping out on more than $700,000 in payments to pension funds for Herald workers.

Purcell wants to sell the paper and its Web site to GateHouse Media, which doesn't want to take on the pensions.

Also possibly getting screwed: Herald freelance writers, who will now get to call themselves "unsecured creditors" in exchange for not getting paid for the past couple of months' worth of work.

BPS says it will use some of the savings from schedule changes to pay the Y and community centers for more after-school programs

School Superintendent Tommy Chang is hearing all those complaints from elementary-school parents facing start times as early as 7:15 a.m. next year - and is doing something about it. No, not changing the schedules, but:

We are working with the Boys & Girls Club of Boston, the YMCA of Greater Boston, the Boston Centers for Youth and Families, and a number of community-based organizations to provide expanded before- and after-school care that will be custom-tailored to each individual school’s needs. This additional programming will be designed to support parents and families impacted by the new start times. The district is committed to reinvesting a portion of the savings created by the new start and end times into expanding before- or after-school programming where needed.

Chang also announced a series of meetings in different neighborhoods next week for parents and administrators to discuss the new times - in addition to tomorrow's school-committee meeting, at which parents are planning a large protest. State Rep. Ed Coppinger of West Roxbury, has hired a charter bus to bring some of his constituents to the meeting, planned to start at 6 pm. in the Bolling Building in Dudley Square.

Chang added he remains committed to the change process, because it will mean later start times for high-school kids who can use a bit of extra sleep and will reduce the number of elementary-school kids who get out after 4 p.m.

Start times are being changed due to an abundance of research that shows academic outcomes improve for secondary school students when they start school later and for elementary school students when they start earlier. We believe that the new times will better and more equitably serve our students.

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