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Don Chiofaro to get at least one tower

Chiofaro's proposed towers

One of these might have to go.

The Globe reports that City Hall is about to give the developer permission to put up at least one 600-foot tower at the site of his ugly Aquarium garage. But life is full of compromises and so City Hall will only let him build a total of 900,000 square feet of sheer awesomeness instead of the 1.2 million he feels is his due, which might limit the size of the second tower he wants to put there.

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Comments

Menino Tower

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Menino's priorities were always aimed for the disadvantage and poor, when Chiofaro approached Menino countless times about building a high rise near the Aquarium for himself and for others with deep pockets.
Menino placed Chiofaro on a shelf for a long time. You can probably write a script on this ordeal about Chiofaro and Menino and make a Movie.

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You always request way more than you want, and negotiate down to what you really need.

I bet he's a happy man today.

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I am sure this is because Walsh is more receptive to developer gifts than Menino was [not that he was untarnished]. Thus our other debacle of the Boston2024 land grab.

And Chiofaro needs to stop compensating for what is [not] between his legs. Because it has to be about more than just money. When you are already a multi-millionaire, boo hooing about how at 40 stories you'll not make enough money and you need 60+ is sickening to those of us without millions. Hell, if he really needs money so badly he should learn what all the builders in Allston/Brighton have found out. That if you slap crap over wood framing instead of using real building material you can charge $495K for a 400 sq ft unit.

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In our imperfect world I'd rather developers be bribing the paste eating bag men in city hall to build something out of decent quality materials than resort to filling out city with buildings made of cardboard.

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He was the all time grand champion of developer gifts - not personally, but you (and your executives) better pony up and give the max $500 to the re-election fund. And you will be cursed to developer hell if you give to any of my potential opponents.

And for the "regulars" he apparently had some kind of magic charity that he used to sprinkle good will around the city with. With all the good works being done by so many organizations in this city (Boston is truly a world leader in this regard), why else would you be inclined to give generously to "The Mayor's Fund"?

From what I've read here and elsewhere - Chiofaro wouldn't play that game - and he paid the price under Menino.

That said - the building looks cool, and there definitely should be something nicer than a garage there - I just think this building is a bit overwhelming for the site. I prefer a gradual ascent in heights from the water to the financial district. For evidence of why I think this is a bad idea - see Harbor Towers - and I don't care what you put on the outside. It's not our problem if Chiofaro overpaid for the garage in the hopes of getting approvals, although sadly it sounds like his patience will pay off - encouraging future developers to do the same.

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Last time this was discussed, most all commenters seemed to be outraged with the plan and its blocking access to the waterfront, and shade on the new park.

What can we do to stop it now?

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I'm not downtown much - is this really much of a park, where people hang out like on the Common or Esplanade? I know there's the water features over by the Aquarium and it's certainly nicer than the elevated highway, but it's not exactly the Emerald necklace. Why do we need to stop this? The open space will still be there and this would be on the east side of the park area so only an issue in the morning really.

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The park is what makes Boston a beautiful, unique, world-class city, and its enjoyed by tourists, locals, and workers all the same. Get out and look and use your soul.

Who do you work for?

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^^^^^

Looks Like we found the Harbor Towers resident

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Are you trolling with the world class part? As I said, miles better than what was there before but let's not make this into the Emerald Necklace yet.

I don't work in real estate or even downtown which is why I asked about it. Getting downtown on the weekend with public transportation from Roslindale is inconvenient so I'm almost never there unless I'm going to NEAQ.

Thanks for your dismissive answer though!

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That but up against hulking concrete parking garages. Imagine a city without that sort of character! Imagine Boston without City Hall Plaza and the Government Center Garage, what kind of city would that be? A terrible one, filled with, you know, less concrete and car parking. Ick.

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I'm not downtown all that much either, but I love the greenway. Some parcels are really great, others are merely fine. The parcel in front of the garage is, for me at least, more in the latter category - nice enough, but nothing special. In fact, for me one of the problems with that particular parcel is that it is too exposed - especially on the side that is basically just a wide walkway, it's very bright and hot.

I do think that public access to the harbor is important, but the garage is already kind of a disaster in that respect. Beyond the fact that it's ugly and directly between the harbor and the park, crossing the current garage entrance is the most unpleasant thing about walking to the aquarium from the greenway. I don't have much of an opinion about height restrictions close to the harbor, though - I'd be curious to better understand why it's considered to be such a problem.

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That garage is ugly; but after all it is a parking garage. Nearly as ugly without any functional reason for being ugly are the aquarium buildings.

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This OPENs up access more to the waterfront than what is there now, the harbor garage. There will be more water views, not less. The harbor garage blocks a lot of views and unlike this tower there aren't public spaces inside to enjoy views from inside (unless you sit in your car).

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The garage currently on the site does a wonderful job of blocking access and views of the harbor. From a pedestrian's standpoint, they're strolling along the Berlin Wall - nothing but bleak concrete and not a drop of ocean to be seen.

The proposed development will remove that obstacle completely and open up a direct vantage point and direct access to the harbor. Not just for people in buildings across the street, but for those on the sidewalk.

The notion that the development would block access to anything is a bit nonsensical, as it's getting rid of a parking garage and replacing at least part of that with a glass atrium open to the public - leading directly to the harbor.

As for shadows... I don't know what to tell you. I've never understood the fear of having a park experience shade for a few additional minutes per year. It's such a non-issue that I've come to believe the shadow paranoia is really something used by people who want something to latch onto. An issue they can get upset about and use as leverage to make demands and inflate their own sense of self worth in the process.

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You would rather look at the hideously ugly parking garage that sits there (blocking harbor access) now? I love the greenway and I am 100% for this development. I miss Mayor Menino for a lot of reasons, but this is the bright side to a new administration. Let's get it done.

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You would rather look at the hideously ugly parking garage that sits there (blocking harbor access) now? I love the greenway and I am 100% for this development. I miss Mayor Menino for a lot of reasons, but this is the bright side to a new administration. Let's get it done.

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So given the choice between an ugly 270' long, 8 story high brick of concrete that completely blocks the view of the harbor from street level and two, more slender towers that provide public access between, you would prefer the former? It is impossible to "block access to the harbor" on this site anymore than it does today. It can only get better.

Shade on the park? Before 10 AM? This is what we worry about in the City these days?

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People would prefer neither the parking garage that is there now, nor a giant tower. People want something medium sized and while we know we won't get Rowes Wharf II, perhaps something not overly large, like Russia Wharf has.

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In the same way that he can't force the city to allow him to build big, they can't force him to build small. He's well with in his rights to just leave it as is for another 30 years. Maybe instead of focusing on trying to get him to build something he'll never build, the opposition should focus their efforts on trying to improve his proposal with realistic goals.

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Has anyone tried walking along the Hancock tower on a Windy day, I could see it now, Kids waiting in line to get into the Aquarium on a windy cold day across from this tower, hold on to your hats.

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Imagine how devastating it would be if it were suddenly windy by the ocean. That is so unnatural.

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is more attractive than the dull concrete of harbor towers.

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That reminds me of a quote from a friend in East Boston.

Pointing to the beautiful Boston skyline he quips;

"They pay millions to look at me and an airport. I pay a few hundred K to look at that beautuliful view"

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Nice timing. No good city plan would alow this kind of construction so close to the water in Boston. So before the plan get written lets see how much Marty can push through. Boston as a city let's so much horrible development get build. It's really sad. And it doesn't have to be this way. If our pols had spines we could have beautiful things.

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... approval of this plan and the peremptory firing of Mr. Shen might possibly be connected, in one way or another?

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I believe your dislike of Walsh is connected to elitism.

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In fact, I voted for Walsh and had reasonably high expectations -- which have been massively disappointed.

Was my overall liking of Menino due to elitism also?

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No.

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Dislike of a post turtle politician isn't connected to elitism insomuch as it is a dislike of the paymasters twirling the marionette.

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It has been a number of years since I have worked with Kairos, but I admire and respect him and I would be surprised to learn that he would have gone for that kind of height that close to the Harbor.

That said, I do have a vague recollection of him speaking fondly of the laptops/quarter pipes/whatever-the-hell-they-are just south of the Harbor Towers, so there is that!

In any event, it will be an improvement over the garage, but the maximum number of public amenities to further enliven the Median Strip must be part of the deal.

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Yes. Kairos Shen had stated his opposition to this kind of height on the water side of the Greenway. I wasn't a particular fan but I believe that he was looking out for the public interest on this one. I don't live on the waterfront but as a city resident I am opposed to the concept of walling off the water with skyscrapers. I don't subscribe to the notion that this will somehow improve my access to the harbor.

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I keep seeing this issue raised, but I'm unclear how a high rise obstructs access more than a low rise.

It would seem that the square footage occupied on ground level would be a more relevant metric.

A high rise that uses 60% of the space on a lot would seem to be preferable to a low rise that uses 90% of the space, if harbor access is the real issue.

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Skyscrapers belong in the financial district, keep them away from Rose kennedy greenway and the waterfront area near the aquarium. This skyscraper will lead into more skyscraper development around the waterfront in the future. Boston needs more open public spaces.

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How does a skyscraper that uses 60% of ground level space on a lot take up more open space than a low rise building that fills the lot?

Also, how does a skyscraper near the harbor in any way threaten the Greenway? Please be specific.

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There should be a cap on height restrictions near the waterfront, whatever it is for the Intercontinental hotel, Boston harbor hotel, marriott longwharf hotel should be the same as this proposal, Did'nt they (The city of Boston) learn anything from Harbor Towers the ugly duckling buildings, how odd they look near the edge of the waterfront, poor planning on the city's part, back then, and now.

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- How does a high rise that fills part of a lot block access to the harbor more than a low rise that essentially fills a lot?

- How would a high rise on the site harm the Greenway?

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How will it harm the greenway, it will harm the greenway in many ways, on windy days people who will be walking by that part of the greenway will feel the effects of a downward wind coming near this building, The area will have increased vehicle traffic all around this monster building, double parked uber taxis, buses, and commercial vehicles driving in and out on an already congested area especially during summer months where you have families enjoying a day at the Aquarium and families waiting in line to get on a harbor cruise. Think of all the sunlight the area around the Aquarium will lose.That area will look dark and dreary just like the streets behind the John Hancock building.

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all the people living there will be able to walk nearly everywhere. Let's assume they (or a lot of them) work in Downtown - makes sense, people generally prefer shorter commutes, and there are plenty of high-paying downtown jobs. Living there they won't be clogging the streets or subways. But if they can't, because people won't let the towers be built, they'll have to live further out, and put more cars on the roads or bodies in crowded transit vehicles.

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I would actually prefer 90% be occupied than 60, generally. 60% creates a "tower in the park", with the park usually just being cosmetic greenspace that no one actually uses and is windy and desolate. Continuous streetwalls with skinny store-fronts make good urban places! Also, lower heights on slightly more coverage can be just as dense as towers: the federal reserve complex has about the same FAR as many blocks in the North End. Now, if you combine the two - skinny towers atop dense bases (a la Vancouver) - you get a lot of room for people who want to live in Boston.

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better suited to killing birds if you tried: glass on both sides with a clear line of sight through. Birds haven't evolved to detect and avoid glass. As designed that will kill thousands of birds a year. Who cares? It's just sparrows and pigeons, right? No, there's a migratory flyway that passes through downtown Boston, which means tens of thousands of wild birds migrating through every spring and fall. A regular, opaque, un-lighted building will kill some anyway, it can't be helped, but this design is about as bad as can be. There are already lots of offending buildings in the area, the lobby of the Federal Reserve building a particularly bad example. And for what? It looks pretty? It's completely unnecessary.

Nationwide the numbers are in the hundreds of millions, maybe more than a billion, of wild birds killed by building collisions every year. There are laws in some jurisdictions to require building designs to minimize their impact, unfortunately not in Boston.

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Install something like this: http://www.ornilux.com/

We don't have to make every building look one One Beacon to make them bird-safe.

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another bland, boxy glass highrise surrounded by 'green space'.

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The city should be full of round low-rises with no windows and no green space.

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