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Two Columbia Point buildings on the verge of extensive upgrades would be torn down under Olympics plan

Olympics calls for tearing down Bayside hotel in Dorchester.

In jeopardy? Proposed expanded Bayside hotel would have to go.

Ed. note: The first look at proposed Olympics venues.

The Boston Teachers Union last week filed detailed plans to tear down its current headquarters on Mt. Vernon Street and replace it with a new building and parking garage.

Yesterday, Boston 2024 detailed plans for Columbia Point and neighboring parts of Dorchester and South Boston that would call for demolishing that building as part of a three-year construction project to create an athlete village stretching from Carson Beach and Moakley Park to the Star Market and the old Channel 56 building on Morrissey Boulevard, which would also be torn down, to the grounds of BC High School.

Although the media has taken to referring to this part of the proposal as being at UMass Boston, in fact, large parts of it would require taking private land, some of which is owned by entities that have their own futures mapped out for their land.

In addition to the BTU buidling, the Boston 2024 proposal - which, of course, rests on the assumption that Boston gets the 2024 games - also calls for tearing down the existing Bayside DoubleTree Hotel, whose owners last fall submitted plans to the BRA to add 87 guest rooms, a new ballroom, new meeting rooms and a restaurant.

Herb Chambers, who owns the Channel 56 property, has said he wants to put a car dealership there.

All these buildings, along with the office building next to the hotel and the Santander building across the street would be acquired and torn down. The McCormack and Dever schools are shown as part of the overall athlete village, but would be allowed to stay.

At the heart of the village would be 13 residential buildings of between 10 and 12 stories, clustered where the hotel and adjoining office building are now. Moakley Park and Carson Beach would be turned into practice fields and recreational areas for exclusive use by Olympic athletes.

After the games, some 6,000 of the housing units would be turned over to UMass Boston for use as dormitories. Between 2,600 and 2,900 units would be converted into market-rate units marketed to Millennials, whom organizers say would prefer more spartan, somewhat less expensive apartments conveniently located next to the new JFK/UMass "superstation" that somebody would have to pay to create out of the current station.

The waterfront part of the village would get a mall that Boston 2024 says would become a new shopping destination for people across the region.

And some housing units might even be moved elsewhere:

[W]e are studying the opportunity to build high quality sustainable and transportable housing which can be relocated to other neighborhoods in the city where it will fill a current void in moderate-rate housing.

The plan says it's all win-win:

The Athletes' Village will revitalize Columbia Point and create a vibrant, transit-oriented, mixed-use waterfront district. The master planned redevelopment of the site will unlock transportation barriers created by Kosciuszko Circle by reorganizing the infrastructure and linking the surrounding neighborhoods including Dorchester, Harbor Point, the University of Massachusetts Boston campus and the proposed Village to each other and to Carson Beach and Joe Moakley Park. The proposed Athletes' Plaza will become a waterfront retail destination for the entire City of Boston. Joe Moakley Park, one of Boston's largest public spaces, will be vastly improved as adjacent neighborhoods will enjoy access to the sports complex and improved athletic fields. Increased capacity at JFK/UMass MBTA station will improve access to the district.

Entire Boston 2024 venue proposal (22.4M PDF).

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Comments

I have decided to take a break from your Olympics blog, I MEAN blog until these type of posts go away. I am only one person, but I will relay the word to others.

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Why didn't you say something first? But, here, for you and the others:

Universal Hub, Olympics-free zone.

All the Deflategate/bicycles/crime/MBTA stuff you know and love and absolutely NOTHING about the 2024 Olympics. Relay the word to others!

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OMG LOL!!! Adam....

I wish i could do that with my twitter feed on the bomber trial. I know its important, but do we need to know when any juror takes a leak, or wears depends, or has babies to feed and that's why they can't serve.. I mean come on. We don't need the play by play.

I'm actually kinda surprised Adam hasn't posted anything about it here... :) I guess that's a good thing tho..

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I think this Olympics idea is completely ridiculous, so for me, these posts are important.

Columbia/Harbor Point is a crappy location to live (lived there for four years, so I should know.) Instead of building a giant dormitory for UMass/Boston there should be some energy put into developing the area as a residential neighborhood with amenities that such a neighborhood needs.

So, I guess this means the trash transfer station/incinerator(?)/whatever proposal from about 10 years ago has gone away?

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a residential neighborhood with amenities that such a neighborhood needs.

What could go wrong?

the Star Market ... which would also be torn down

Oh.

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not the Star Market. the old Channel 56 property BEHIND Star Market.

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Adam clarified that in other comments, as well as posting Boston 2024's proposed map.

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...I WANT a special UHub which doesn't have any coverage of Keytar Bear or bike lanes - what about me! Why do you give other posters special privileges on your free website?

What's your address? I want to make the Citizen Connect complaint I'm filing as accurate as possible.

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Wake up sheeple- it's a local news blog. You don't think the potential for large scale development all over the city for a two week event merits coverage?

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Damn, I'm really gonna miss anon.... sad face

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I understand that we are still in planning and bidding stages, but it just seems like whoever thought this out didn't bother to actually check with property owners to see how they felt and/or if they had plans for upgrades improvements. I understand that community meetings haven't happened yet, but you'd think they'd think/talk this out before ever going public with drawings of "potential" sites, rather than piss property owners off by saying "hi we want your land, sell to us".

Honestly, since the USOC/IOC can't just take property it sees fit, makes you wonder who's going to pay for said properties (*cough* the state *cough*) because it would need to be bought for Olympic development.

I just for see a million lawsuits starting to happen when the state tries to force people to move and sell. So watch that nice 4.5million balloon up because of lawsuits and land acquisition. And who's going to pay for said lawsuits? HMMM?

Karen Twomey of WBZ 1030 was in Widdett Circle this morning.. the vibe I got from her talking to the people down there is that they are pretty "pissed" off. I would be too.

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The USOC/IOC cant come in and just take it, that is what their lackey Mayor Walsh is for. Eminent domain, the often abused process of despots and corrupt government officials is perfect for Boston and its "people." (once again this is why it is so easy to have the olympics in totalitarian countries)

Oh, and of course the taxpayers will pay for the lawsuits.

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which is why I said "USOC/IOC cannot take what it pleases"... and yes Walsh will be a lackey for them and help them take it.

If so

LET THE LAWSUITS BEGIN.

Because we know we can't have anything in MA without a few lawsuits... gotta love this state for that.

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But probably the BRA, which already has the power to condemn property via eminent domain.

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Anticipated Hurdles:
We will pursue omnibus state legislation to coordinate permitting at the local and state levels. This legislation will carefully consider land use, zoning, transportation, historic preservation, cultural celebration, environmental protection and economic benefits to ensure the successful implementation and integration of Games infrastructure. No specific permitting hurdles are anticipated.

Permitting Challenges
Boston 2024 anticipates proposal of Olympic legislation that would facilitate permitting and entitlement. The entitlement process will include significant community engagement with local elected officials, the surrounding neighborhood, as well as business and institutional leaders.

I think we all need to be on the lookout for the "omnibus state legislation" that will sweep aside all barriers to permitting and entitlement.

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You win the internet today.

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This is ridiculous. We need to work to stop this Olympic development before it gets started. If we as citizens don't look out for ourselves, who else will?

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I understand that we are still in planning and bidding stages, but it just seems like whoever thought this out didn't bother to actually check with property owners to see how they felt and/or if they had plans for upgrades improvements.

Why would they care? We've already seen the outright contempt they and the mayor have for the voters en masse - talking about "transparency" while literally at the same time refusing to release the bid documents for weeks, "dismissing" the idea of a referendum, and then banning public employees from criticizing the bid - so why do you think they would have any concern for how one or two dozen private property owners feel?

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Unless of course, your home or business is in the way. Or you can see into a stadium from your window. Or you are a tree.

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This would make the 3rd displacement of the BTU, by my count, following their current space in the Bayside Expo complex. And didn't they just file for the construction approval yesterday?

I actually think Columbia Point is one rare area that could benefit from Olympic construction, although the idea that the Olympic Village would become all UMass housing is almost laughable-- I'm sure Corcoran-Jennings has other thoughts. But why oh why could they not link up with BTU before now and plan build something usable for the union, that BTU could purchase post-Olympics?

Boston 2024 is undermining itself with it's clunky public relations and arrogant assumption that it can determine what is and isn't valuable to the citizens of Boston. The vultures circling the Newmarket area are a prime example.

I have no idea about this, but does anyone have any idea whether Ashkenazi et al in Quincy Market have a stake here? I could see Newmarket shuttering as being potentially beneficial, depending on what direction the new Quincy Market planning goes. Of course, it's no where near the size to serve the restaurant/grocer supply purpose that Newmarket does, but for those of us who hit Newmarket for cheap food in quantity, maybe the Quincy Market realignment is supposed to take that place?

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The filing showed up on the BRA site yesterday, but it's dated 1/15 (so I suspect somebody at the BRA is still having to prep documents by hand to get them on the Web rather than them being filed electronically, but what do I know?).

The interesting thing about Columbia Point and the area down Morrissey is that even without the Olympics it was about to see an explosion of growth. There's UMass, of course, sitting on that giant piece of land that used to be the expo center. Given that John Henry really bought the Globe for the land, we'd probably see something big there, and once that gets announced, does anybody really think Herb Chambers is going to hold onto his land for just another car dealership? And then there's the Sovereign, um, Santander property.

So the area's going to get redeveloped one way or another - there have been tons of planning groups and even charettes (love that word) over the past few years on the topic. The only thing missing is turning JFK/UMass into a "superstation" - which the Olympics people think the state will just pick up the tab for, because reasons.

Newmarket is interesting, and I'll be writing that up as well, because after the Olympics, Boston 2024 says it will become (no doubt luxury) housing and a mall, in what they've decided is "Midtown," so they're obviously thinking ahead about stuff like branding because, really, Midtown?

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The idea of a Superstation at JFK/UMass is good, regardless of the Olympics. UMass has been underserved by buses considering that, among other things, it's supposed to be a commuter school for Boston. And the station is decrepit.

I think you're dead right about new development on CP, and I'd love to see housing priced for UMass students and Dot residents, but I don't think any developer is going to let any remaining water-adjacent land in the city be used for reasonably priced housing. If UMass gets a teeny dorm out of this while Corcoran & Henry get a mall & luxe condos, I won't be surprised. Window dressing.

There will be some buffers, I guess. The new Edward Kennedy Center takes up a good chunk of land, the Kennedy Library land is untouchable, the property between the federal land and the Pump House is conservation land. And I'd love to see someone try to snag property from the Catholic Church via eminent domain. Even so, there's a lot of space to use on Columbia Point.

Unlike Widett Circle. I'm glad you're looking into Newmarket, Adam, because the attitude that Widett Circle is some sort of waste land because it doesn't have restaurants serving bespoke charcuterie or a college or hospital on it is inane and, yes, classist. And very suspect.

I've been helping find lodging for out of town relations coming to a family event next summer, and "Midtown" kept popping up on the VRBO sites (See nonsense here: http://www.firstbostonrealty.com/boston-midtown-condos.shtml). I thought they were talking about the area around the Midtown Hotel at first, and couldn't figure out why they didn't want to say "South End," unlike, say, the condo in Codman Square described as being "5 minutes from Down Town!"
And then I found this http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2013/11/08/stop-trying-make-midt...

So I look forward to the rumble between the Original Midtown and the Upstart Midtown gangs.

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More like Meat Town....

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If the hotel is in the middle of where they want the Olympic Village to be, why can't the hotel be used as part of the Olympic Village?

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I doubt the hotel is up to "Olympic" standards.

/remember the double toilets (because some plumber didn't understand what a bidet is) at Sochi?

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/remember the double toilets (because some plumber didn't understand what a bidet is) at Sochi?

In my earlier years as an architect I worked on the Bayside Expo Hotel. We detailed some mighty fine toilets ... way back in the mid 90's. No bidets, though. But who knows what has changed in there, I haven't had a need to go in since punchlisting. Plus, hotels typically do a full FFE change-out every 3 to 5 years. Typically.

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That's part of the problem with the Olympics. It's just amateur sports but they act like everything needs to be done to some sort of godlike specification. There are plenty of spaces good enough for them. This area is filled with college sports venues and dorms. I would love to see a truly low impact Olympics, but I don't think the monster the Olympics always becomes would allow for that.

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If the Olympians can get the city to steal take the property and give it to them for their future profit-making enterprises, why would they let the existing business remain?

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This is what I have gathered for any of the 'temporary' sites they propose, it will be sold off to developers (READ: Rich, connected people) for redevelopment after the Olympics.

More and more this 'bid' is showing its true colors.. a way to milk the tax payers out of money, take lots of large underutilized swats of land and sell (GIVE) them to developers after.

One big boondoggle that only benefits the rich and well connected.

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The owners of the hotel and the BTU are being very smart here. Both properties know they are in the Olympic crosshairs and have been for a while, the hotel is also in the crosshairs of UMass.

By filing for approvals for expansion, and the inevitable BRA approvals, your properties will have the right to expand, essentially you have added value to the properties with the regulatory blessing of the BRA.

Therefore when the time comes for takings for Olympic events or takings for UMass dorms, the owners of the properties can say, yes, our property as it exists is worth X, but we have the right to expand and even though we never actually expanded, those permits to expand, are worth an additional Y.

Remember, the Olympics aren't about who is the best at the hammer throw, it is a money pigfest. If I owned property anywhere in the future Boston citizen exclusion zones known as Columbia Point and Widett Circle, I would be happy as a clam outside a sewer pipe right now.

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There will be the sort of rezoning legacy that we see in NYC, where former industrial areas are suddenly no longer industrial areas, but wealthy housing areas.

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And this is why I'm not a property tycoon - I would never think of this.

Only thing is, I think both property owners announced their expansion plans before the Olympics proposal.

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These types of proposals (the Olympic ones) are typically in the works for at least a year.
In the late 80's or so my father had a copy of the Boston 2008 Olympic proposal. I think I finally threw it out a couple of years ago (cool to have kept for curiosity's sake). I do recall archery and other shooting events would have taken place up at Camp Curtis Guild.

The owners of the properties in question could certainly have gotten wind of it. Is Corcoran still the owner of the Bayside Expo Hotel?

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permitted means less hurdles.

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The waterfront part of the village would get a mall that Boston 2024 says would become a new shopping destination for people across the region.

Malls everywhere are dying. People from across the various regions don't go to them much anymore. Maybe it's online merchants, maybe people just don't like malls for some other reason, but they are on the way to being a historical footnote. It makes no sense to place a future vacant eyesore in a waterfront location. Leave the beach and park alone.

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One of the reasons I don't like malls in general is that most malls only have a small selection of shops, and most malls only have small outpost stores with limited selections of merchandise.

For example, in the suburbs where I live now, if I want to do my Christmas shopping, I have to hit up two malls that are at least 10 miles apart, with a few stops at isolated big box stores, navigating the hideous traffic and parking lots of each. Then, most of those stores are the small versions of the stores, with limited selections and pared-down product lines, so I often leave empty-handed, making it so I've wasted several hours of my time only to end up taking the train in to the city for the larger urban flagship-sized stores anyway, or ordering the items online, waiting a week for them to arrive, and hoping they don't need to be returned for size or material because that's another trip to the Awful Mall.

I was always partial to the Prudential Center/Cambridgeside Galleria mix, because the E line functions as a Mall Shuttle also stopping with access to DTX and Newbury, so I could hit up every store needed on one trip. But it's rare to find a neat line like that anywhere else.

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Malls everywhere are dying? Tell that to the hordes of shoppers idling their cars in a line to get into Patriot Place in Foxboro or the Legacy Place mall in Dedham or the developers who are currently slapping together a giant new luxury mall at University/128 Station in Westwood. I think the decline of '60s-style indoor malls is going to continue, and these outdoor luxury malls will continue to grow for sometime. And something tells me that Fish and company envisioned something more like Patriot Place than Square One when they submitted this proposal.

But you are absolutely correct that it makes no sense to put even a luxury outdoor mall in that location.

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Am I reading your sentence correctly, that this would also tear down the Star Market? If the post-Olympics plan is to create a new residential area, it needs a grocery store. Where are all the existing residents supposed to shop in the meantime?

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"who cares, we're building for the Olympics. Let them eat cake!"

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Proposed Columbia Point changes

This is from the Boston 2024 document. The A1/M1/V1 thing at the top left is the new 'n' improved T stop. V2 is where the Star Market is now, but would be torn down for an all important parking lot. S4, where Channel 56 is now, would be some sort of checkpoint. The grayish blobs under that would be the current Boston Globe.

But don't fret about the athletes! In addition to an all new dining center at A3, they'll also have a general store/travel agency/Internet center/hair salon at P2.

As for current Star Market customers, eh, they can always hike to the Stop & Shop or Lambert's, right?

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Thats great that the T stop will be improved. That is a critical stop that is horrible the second you leave the station, being dropped in the middle of a bunch of highways with poor pedestrian paths definitly needs improvement. And there needs to be a people mover or something like the drivers have at Wellington to get to the Umass/ JFK Museum campus.

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That people mover is long gone. Now it's just a very long pedestrian bridge over the tracks.

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Not clear on what the Boston 2024 group is thinking.

"6,000 of the housing units would be turned over to UMass Boston for use as dormitories."

Does UMass get them for free? Do they have to pay? If it's free ... well, that's fine, right?

If they have to pay, how does that work? How is fair market measured? Who decides if UMass wants them / needs them?

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UMB does not have any dormitories -- it's a commuter school. I thought that was an essential part of its mission. Now the Olympians' vision is that it's going to become ZooMass East?

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but haven't received money from the state legislature to build them.

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So I want to comment on something adjacent to the Athlete's Village that is in the big renderings, but not commented in detail in any of the proposals, because it's a small part, but I think it is indicative of the planners attention to detail and understanding of basic things they should be considering.

http://cdn1.bostonmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Olympics6.png

In the upper right hand quarter, they show a marina on the outside of Castle Island, possibly reducing the entrance to Boston Harbor by half. Not only is this blocking a major route in and out of the city for, well, tankers... the current there is... strong, let's go with strong, at pretty much any point in the tide... If hard pressed, I am not certain I could choose a worse place for a marina.

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Page 97 of this document shows 8 piers being built out into the harbor, but only one of them is used to dock (two) boats. The rest hold structures labelled M3 (Media Operation), G2 (Staff/Volunteers), and A4 (Sport Equipment), all for the Sailing event further out in the harbor.

I assume both the piers and the structures are to be temporary, but I can't tell for sure.

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Southie is overdeveloped as it is with developers trying to squeeze every inch as they can for condos thus leading to more gentrification.

Now it seems like Southie is gonna take the brunt of the Olympics building and development. And then the after effects of what's left over once the Olympics are done.

So I guess we can kiss that neighborhood gone.

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The herb chambers property, (the old WLVI building) is right next door to the globe. That property is completely polluted. The City of Boston doesn't have the budget to clean that superfund site.
I honestly think their Urban Planning team needs to be fired because it seems pretty obvious that they have never set foot in this city. According to these plans, this "athletes village”… it’s smack in the middle of the hood. The Geneva Triangle. It's a tough neighborhood and they don't take kindly to outsiders. Unless one of the events is bullet dodging, or how far can you run with stab wounds before gang members steal your shoes, it's a bad idea.

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it's Columbia Point. It was a dangerous neighborhood 30 years ago, but not now.

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How do you arrive at the conclusion that this neighborhood is "near Geneva"??? Not at all....

Does BC High survive unscathed? It's been years since I've been on that campus, but I recall that they have sports fields behind the main buildings that extend back towards the Harbor Point development (is that what it's called now?).

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Indeed it was, and before that , it was a dump. Think Goodyear had a plant down there too , kinda rusty on that one.

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Columbia Point was a very dangerous area 30 years ago. An older brother dropped off a guy who persisted in stalking and harrassing me right in the middle of the projects in the middle of the night.

Kid never bothered me again.

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I plowed over there for a contractor to the city. They would not send one plow by itself over there.No one would go in there alone. No cell phones back then , just tire thumpers and chains. Ah , the memories.......

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Don't worry, this area has only been used for industrial, manufacturing, and railroad purposes for 150-odd years. As with the properties involved with all the Olympic venues:

We do not, however, anticipate unusual site contamination issues, unusual mitigation schedule or cost requirements.

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Never forget the garbage dump!

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Seems like ECS has never set foot in this part of the city....I'm favor of the development but it seems like all the recent construction in the area wouldve been a big waste of resources. I know that Star Market was recently renovated and a Starbucks was added. All that work for it to become a parking lot for the Olympics?

If the Olympics are hosted by Boston and the Columbia point/JFK umass area is developed, I hope that means future changes for the Savin Hill and Fields Corner areas are not to far away. All of Dorchester could benefit from the Olympics, however we know that the rich people in Boston only care about the rich people of Boston.

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Saying WLVI is "smack in the middle of" the Geneva Triangle is akin to saying that Northeastern is in the H-Blocks because they are both in Roxbury.

Here's an interesting tidbit. When your plane lands in Logan, you might even fly over Columbia Point.

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Give Northeastern a few more years of expansion on the Roxbury side of Columbus, and one of these days we'll be able to say that H-Block is on the Northeastern campus.

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But is the Eire Pub safe ? They don't want to change it into a juice bar , do they ?

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Herb Chambers auto lot vs. Olympics. Hard to choose. People that are ranting against the Olympics have for the most part been naysayers from the beginning, saying we could never get the olympics or Boston could never host the Olympics before any details were announced. These same people scream when the first details are disclosed. Its not being decided tomorrow. Why not settle down and listen, look and discuss for a while before making a decision. I know some people are against any change (a disproportionate amount seem to comment on UHub type sites), but whats the downside to being open about hosting the Olympics and listening to several of the meetings, reading more of the materials as they are presented and then making up your mind?

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I would not be very happy with that, if it were my neighborhood.

As it stands now, I'm not against the *idea* of the Olympics, but this proposal has lots of problems. If we're going to do it at all, we need to do it with less disruption than is shown here.

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things I saw while scanning the various bid documents:

- a new bridge across Fort Point Channel, south of Summer Street. I think it's only for pedestrians and not vehicles, but I can't tell for sure. I could not find any description of this at all, just some lines on various maps and drawings.

- Marathon start/finish line on Charles Street, with about the easternmost quarter of the Public Garden taken over for spectator seating.

- A Somerville soccer field near Assembly Square, Draw Seven Park, completely taken over for a permanent velodrome and a BMX track. Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone is not pleased.

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I'm pretty sure that most of the waterfront is part of the Dorchester Shores Reservation and The Harborwalk Trail. I just can't see this happening, (fingers crossed) hoping it doesn't. If it does work out and the tides are timed right; they can just swim on Morrissey Boulevard.

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Can't wait for the Dorchester neighborhood associations get a load of this. This is going to get ugly.

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I thought I heard that the head/chair/whatever of the Columbia-Savin Hill Association was very pro-Olympics; I may have to start going to meetings. Too bad their website hasn't been updated in 4 years.

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That's yet another good reason for Boston not to host the OIympics!!

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The buildings that would be torn down are all commercial buildings near and along Morrissey Boulevard, not the apartments.

But that does raise an interesting question of how residents will get in and out given the tight security around the Olympics venue that would sit between them and the outside world.

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