New GE building would feature large solar-panel canopy

Proposed new GE building on Fort Point Channel in South Boston

Architect's rendering. See it larger.

GE and the Massachusetts Development Finance Authority today filed their formal plans for the company's new headquarters on Fort Point Channel that will include extensive renovations to two old candy buildings and construction of a new 12-story glass building.

In a filing with the BRA, GE says it hopes to begin roughly 15 months of renovation and construction this spring. In addition to the BRA, the state Department of Environmental Protection will also have to approve the project due to its location on former tidelands along Fort Point Channel.

The new buildings will house roughly 800 GE employees along with "extensive indoor and outdoor public space" that will include space for tinkerers, public "work lounges," classrooms and a two-story museum. The company will widen the Harborwalk along the channel. Also:

To emphasize GE’s commitment to transparency and collaboration, a "vertical village," a glass enclosed core of activity, will connect GE employees and building visitors across floors and teams, encouraging seamlessness and providing a literal window into GE for passers-by.

The buildings will have "vegetated green roofs" and solar panels; they will also be designed to withstand a "500-year flood" of the sort expected with higher sea levels due to climate change. This includes putting key electrical and mechanical services above the ground floor, "adaptive landscaping" to soak up water and "walls, walkways, stairways, and railings will also be designed to withstand saltwater inundation."

The new campus will have only 30 permanent parking spaces; GE says it will work with existing garages in the area to provide spaces for building workers.

Proposed GE headquarters
Proposed GE headquarters
Proposed GE headquarters
Proposed GE headquarters
Proposed GE headquarters on Fort Point Channel
Proposed GE headquarters map

GE project notification form (39M PDF).

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Comments

huh.

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They do understand that this is on the water, with a near- constant wind that sometimes is gale force?

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A glass sail on a building

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A glass sail on a building that faces the ocean ! It's so evocative of the old sailing ships ! And if it is torn to shreds in a high gale, that too will be evocative !

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oh Noes!

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Someone forgot there are such people as structural engineers who take into consideration wind, specifically uplift and snow loads!

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A little dated

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Construction started on that in 1968. Technology, testing, and building codes have grown and changed since that time. I know for a fact that snow and wind load requirements have only gotten more stringent.

So yes, I continue to have faith in structural engineers.

I'm surprised you didn't trot out FLW's Falling Water.

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My impression was that snow

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My impression was that snow doesn't really build up on solar panels?

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Why?

And why would you think that? What do you imagine happens to the snow as it's falling onto that inclined glass plane? It rolls? Melts? Vaporizes?

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That the panel retains a heat

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That the panel retains a heat and yes, melts it as it snows. Probably no good for a nor'easter, 8 inches at once storm, but for smaller build ups, it prevents it.

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Interesting theory

Have you ever considered the fact that the sun is not out when it snows, and that the panels are in fact cold at such a time?

Heat from a solar panel would prevent only the tiniest dusting from sticking - as heat from any other surface would. Anything over say a half-inch on a cold, cloudy day (such as any day on which it is snowing) would accumulate on a solar panel same as it would on any other rooftop - maybe a little faster, because the panel would radiate less heat than a rooftop, as it is thermally isolated from the building mass whereas a rooftop isn't.

When the sun comes out, and the snow begins to melt a little, the fact that the panel has a glass top and is inclined means that the snow tends to slide off en mass, which doesn't happen on a roof covered with a rough material like asphalt shingles. This is why you sometimes see clear solar panels on a snowy roof. But while the snow is falling it is all covered.

If the panels were not inclined, it would not only be worse for electricity production, but the snow would likely not come off at all, and the panels would be useless most of the winter.

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yes, your theory is interesting

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Have you considered the fact that solar panels work even when the sky is overcast?

They aren't getting "no sun" - they are getting "less sun".

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Much less sun

Solar panels get about an eighth of the sun through heavy clouds that they do on a sunny day. Less if it is snowing.

They convert about 15% of the insolation for energy production. That makes them cooler than a roof the same color.

I'm just explaining why what actually happens happens. Go look at a solar panel in a snowstorm sometime.

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Thar she blows.

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I think the prevailing wind comes from the opposite direction there (i.e. comes off the land into the harbor, not from the harbor, so the glass is on the correct side at least). We always get hit by what we call the Vertex gust sailing back in to the harbor at night.

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Where are these new GE

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Where are these new GE employees going to live by the way, Boston is extremely expensive..
They going to buy condos in Southie or Eastie good luck finding one. It cost $300k for a 500 sq ft condo in Eastie these days..forget about Southie waterfront it's like $7000 a month for a luxury 2 bedroom.

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It looks like a Boston

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It looks like a Boston building designed from the 1960s . From the looks of it , the bottom half pretty much resembles Boston city hall and that glass canopy looking thing on top looks like they ordered it from China through Amazon.com

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Remove logo from building ,

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Remove logo from building , looks too industrial for area, building looks like it belongs on i95 in Connecticut mixed in with the rest of the manufacturing companies, it will ruin the character of the south Boston waterfront..

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what?

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One could use your argument that it fits right in with the industrial zone that that part of Southie represented back in the day.

Not that I think it looks at all industrial.

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Industrial Real Estate

It says so right on the Boston Wharf Company sign as you enter Fort Point. That's what all the brick buildings were built for -- industry (and warehousing).

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GE logo should not be high a

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GE logo should not be high a top of this building, sooner or later all the buildings on Southies waterfront will have their names high above these buildings and look like tacky route one saugus.

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Industrial manufacturing has

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Industrial manufacturing has been in a decline in Boston, old manufacturing buildings on Southies waterfront are either lofts or office space , Gillette is the only one that I can think of when it comes down to manufacturing on Southies waterfront and don't forget the large us postal facility will no longer be, The only blue collar jobs on southie waterfront are the Hotel industry jobs , that's it..

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Cool looking building, I like

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Cool looking building, I like it. Just remove the logo or in 50 years somebody will be trying to preserve it as it stands when built.

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I disagree

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Not cool. Not functional (see above references to wind and snow). And imho, it is friggin ugly.

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god, at least its different.

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god, at least its different. i know theres a lot of pressure to be 100% anti EVERYTHING in retards to GE in boston, but at this point it seems like it yall are just being contrarian.

everyone always pisses and and moans that boston is becoming the glass cube capital of the world. here we have a VERY interesting design, thats extremely different from everything i see in boston, that will improve the seapory skyline from the snoozefest it is currently (im looking at you vertex/PWC)

as for the wind/snow, these are engineers/architects hired by GE. Until the roof blows up, crushing Necco Court, i think its safe to say they have a better idea of what theyre doing than the internet.

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Ah yes

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Thank God ANON was here to set the structural engineers and GE straight. I'm sure nobody thought about snow or wind.

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Ummm

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I think you may have mis-read. I read anon's comments to mean he (or she)believes GE hired competent engineers. I don't think he (or she) was setting those engineers straight.

Unless I can't read properly. ;-)

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I think you'll find

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That no regulations below the federal level apply to GE. Certainly no city ones.

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Makeup cabinet

One of those ones with a mirrored lid and pull out drawers:

IMAGE(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/Nzk2WDEwMDA=/z/rmcAAOSwMpZUrGnL/$_1.JPG)

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helipad

why isn't there a flat section of roof for the helipad?

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800 employees and

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only 30 permanent parking spaces?

Good luck with that (and finding space in other garages).

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womp womp

parking's about to get more expensive for everyone else who works in the seaport. it's already $21/day at lots that don't currently fill up.

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Oh well

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What should parking in a major city cost?

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Bridj is pleased

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Bridj will certainly look to pick up some of the demand and who knows, maybe even expand it's service territory.

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If Bridj weren't asking every Democratic mayor for subsidies

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Bridj is the bastard child of the NY jitneys and a Democratic mayor. First, there is no technical revolution behind their pompous statements. They run on pre-decided lines, like everyone else. They use all their buses at peak time, and will buy as many as needed for a judicious coverage - no empty buses, no waiting queues - which again is what MBTA and even NY jitneys do. There is no "app-driven" Bridj bus; it's only you fingering a slab of glass, and then riding a "upmarket" jitney.
Second, Bridj is riding the wave of privatizing state functions. I am not against private buses per se. Private buses cover great portions of NYC, Hudson, Essex,and Union Counties, NJ, turn a profit, and worked great for my commute. But Bridj only open where they hope they will receive subsidies from the government. There is no city where they went and did not ask for subsidies. Bridj are the mass transportation equivalent of charter schools. Usually, this sort of public-private partnership brings losses to users and workers, and unjustifiable riches for the owners and for the corrupt officials who "oversee" and milk everyone's taxes.
If you want to see your tax money subsidize the commute of GE employees, support GE and the Democrats. The only upside is that the said commuters will still pay through their nose and moved like cattle as soon as Bridje gets the monopoly and the subsidies.

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Is

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Is it supposed to?

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Current Architectural Trend

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There seems to be a current architectural trend of buildings that look like things haphazardly or precariously stacked on top of other things. This look will date quickly.

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Now that they've showcased

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the Ministry Of Silly Walks, perhaps the Greenway needs to host the Royal Society For Placing Things On Top of Other Things.

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Mega glare

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Slanting glass wall facing south? Wouldn't want to have windows facing that thing. Glare will be insane.

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Majority Shareholder?

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Does Donald Trump own a lot of GE shares?

Should the glass have an unnaturally orange tint to it?

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Once and future tidelands

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I have to say, building anything there would seem to imply a strong opinion that climate science is bunk. If the scientists should, amazingly, be proven right, the schadenfreude will be thick upon the waters.

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Literal Bailouts

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Their climate adaption plan consists of "beg for more tax breaks and taxpayer bailouts" when the obvious happens in the obvious amount of time despite the obvious resources for planning for the obvious that currently exist.

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That's why they built a helipad

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Even when the first three floors are underwater, the important people will still be able to get in and out of the building.

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Right.

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And since when has Marty Walsh, his masters and the BRA given two shits about the fact that if Sandy had hit Boston at high tide, the "Innovation District" would have to be renamed the "Lack of Innovation District".

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C'mon, Ron

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"Lack of Innovation District"? I'm sure you, and uhub, can come up with a funnier name for this bullet that dodged us but there's more in the gun.

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Actually

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That building is sited in the best place it can be in Fort Point. Take a look at the last map here:

http://blog.ucsusa.org/calen-may-tobin/hurricane-sandy-the-map-is-not-th...

Necco Ct. at or near the Summer St. bridge is safe for a 100-year flood according to the data used by the Union of Concerned Scientists, even taking into account the post-Sandy 'higher emissions' 100-year scenario. It won't be dry in that case, but since they've taken steps to keep the mechanicals out of the flood zone, the building will/should still be operable.

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Insurance Companies

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might have something to say about how this is designed wrt resiliency and flood barriers, etc.

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just

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30 parking spaces too many. not bad

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Yes, because

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coming down from New Hampshire is such an easy commute via bicycle.

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That's their choice

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Living in NH is a choice.

Also: guess what? THE WHOLE AREA IS PARKING SPACES. No need for more.

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Not necessarily.

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Kindly see my comment to Swirly.

It does not matter how many, in general, it is whether or not there is enough available for your employees not to cause them hardship.

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Hardship?

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Honey, you have a very odd idea about hardship.

Your employer doesn't owe you parking. You find it yourself and pay for it, or stay in New Hampshire or take the T or move.

Your choice to locate far away from work is not a hardship.

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New Hampshire?

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If you move to New Hampshire when you work downtown, you deserve absolutely no incentives for your expensive and foolish lifestyle whatsoever.

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I am not saying that.

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The reply was to the "anon", perhaps yourself, complaining that 30 parking spots are too many which smacks me of anti-car bias. I apologize if I was incorrect. However, it is a fact of life that many folks commute distances because it is cheaper to afford housing farther from the city.

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Anti-car bias?

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Cars are things. Ridiculous conflation. Also, not a "bias" but a scientific necessity. Go move to Florida with the rest of the climate deniers.

There is no right to have those things, use those things, or park those things. Driving is a lifestyle. We need not subsidize that lifestyle, particularly when we already do and it is such a damaging lifestyle. That's like paying people to smoke cigarettes.

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Won't be cheaper soon

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Many folks commute distances because it was cheaper, but won't be cheaper soon as more parking transforms into more office space.

I commute by bicycle to that neighborhood (my office is in that artist's rendering) about 60% of the year and split the rest of the year between transit and carpooling. There are definitely times I want to drive, and that's going to get harder to do. Not only are they setting up 30 parking spots for 800 employees, the building displaces the parking lotI usually park in with hundreds of other cars. So it's a net minus 1000 parking spots, give or take. Unless someone builds a few more parking garages, that's a lot fewer vehicles trying to get out of Fort Point in the evening rush hour.But a lot more people on already over-crowded sidewalks.

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anti-car bias

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Stop hurting cars' feelings! Cars are people too!

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Actually, I am not saying that.

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Folks commute far for a wide variety reasons. Sometimes their jobs get relocated and they do not have a choice. You might of not noticed, but it is very expensive to live in the city and more folks are moving farther away to find affordable housing.

I do not consider a parking space provided by your employer to be "special" perk. My employer provides a wide variety of commuting/parking options which are part of my benefits - nothing special. Perhaps you do.

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When the resource is scarce

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And everybody else is paying $21-25 a day, it is a HUGE PAYOUT.

Unless you take 200 work days a year x $20-25 less in pay for the privilege.

Put it this way: why doesn't someone who does NOT drive get paid that extra $4000-$5000 a year?

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"Cheaper" or "More Affordable"?

Maybe the sticker price is lower initially.

NH has incredibly high property taxes in areas with worthwhile schools, too.

But here's the kicker: It really isn't cheaper to buy a less expensive house much further out if you end up spending $10000 a year on cars (when you include depreciation of driving all those miles and having to have two cars in working condition).

And it is that much: $24,000 car for 8 years = $3000/yr plus insurance plus maintenance plus gas/diesel/electrons plus car loan interest x 2 cars adds up very quickly. If you can spend an extra $500 a month on mortgage, that matters a lot.

Do many people even consider this when they do the affordability math? I know that we did and we are far better off for it nearly 20 years later.

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Choosing NH

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Is not always/only an affordability decision. I don't live there, so what do I know. I just know that everyone chooses to live there for their own reasons. Low hanging fruit decision is the affordability one. Sure, you can blow that one out of the water easily, but there are many other reasons why people do it, so why beat them up about it?

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nobody beat anybody up

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She pointed out that you make your decisions and you live with them.

Don't expect special subsidies for your decisions, don't claim that it is a hardship.

Don't claim "affordable" is the reason when it isn't.

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"You might of not noticed,

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"You might of not noticed, but it is very expensive to live in the city" So what's your point? I don't have the statistics, but I suspect that Boston taxpayers, who should cover the cost of your parking, make on average less than half of what a GE HQ employee will make. Should the market allow for some people:
- to be smart-asses living on the cheap, preferably in house with more rooms than people, and
- to commute in a specific, preferred way, on the cheap, and
- to ship piles of money from the city to whatever low-tax rural area you prefer?
Should the market, in counter-part, create a category of suckers who must pay higher rent, live in smaller houses, commute by public transportation, and cover the costs of your preferred life style?
And should the market fail to give you special treatment, should the voters of Boston and their representatives rig the market in a way that satisfies all your needs?
Yes, living in the city is expensive, but most of us are making the choice of living here knowing that market will adjust itself to limit the number of smart-asses. I pay for a studio the combined price of your commute and you lawn-including mortgage. You despise studios; I disdain your lack of respect for the limited time you have on this Earth. You chose to spend 2-3 hours a day in a metal cage, and you are not doing because "it is very expensive to live in the city". You wanted to spend roughly the same amount of money on the cage and the lawn. Enjoy.

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Wah wah wah I didn't want to

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Wah wah wah I didn't want to pay taxes and now I have to make lifestyle adjustments to compensaaaaate

Pay for your parking. Maybe somehow, miraculously, it'll karmically make up for the amount of damage you do to the roads

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I just used New Hampshire as an example.

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My boss commuted from Amherst, Ma to Kendall Square, Cambridge. I have colleagues that commute distance due to the affordability factor.

Not saying they should not pay for parking but there needs to be parking available to pay for it.

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No

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there needs to be parking available to pay for it.

There does not.

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800 employees and 30 spaces?

I, for one, would like to thank GE for encouraging carpooling to work. If 20% of employees live nearby, and 5 use the helipad, that leaves about 18 people per car for the carpool. That's efficiency!

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Ever look at a map?

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Seriously. Um "south station" mean anything to you?

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Unfortunately

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Designated clown car parking is over at the state house.

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Well then

Maybe GE can lead other business leaders in the area to demand better transit.

Sorry Charlie, but it's time to put down the ALEC playbook and the "WWAAAAAHHHH I WANNNA BUST A UNION AND PRIVATIZE SHIT WAHHHH THE BROTHERS PROMISED ME I COOOOOOOOOULD" strawman building routine and show some goddamn leadership in the economic interests of your state!

HMMMMM???

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Adorable!

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Someone had to say it.

Otherwise, I vote for "copier" and "wind hazard."

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But will the employees be terrified?

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Life in the Innovation District is getting pretty kushy these days. Here are some folks lining up for ice cream cookie sanwiches at 2:30 this afternoon.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/wVpwk6U.jpg)

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but ...

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But, as far as I know, GE is still planning to heat and cool the building using natural gas, instead of something modern like their own (brand) heat pumps.

Of course, if theirs are not efficient enough to do the job, maybe they should look into the ones from Mitsubishi or Fujitsu ...

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Location