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BPDA, Chiofaro reach secret deal to allow his Greenway tower that involves tearing down the Aquarium IMAX theater

NorthEndWaterfront.com reports how the BPDA and developer Don Chiafaro have figured out how to get around pesky open-space requirements that would otherwise limit the size of his perpetually proposed plan to replace the Aquarium garage with a mega-complex: Buy the IMAX theater and then raze it.

The thing is, the BPDA added a little coda to the Municipal Harbor Plan, which sets out waterfront development guidelines, to allow that only after the conclusion of endless public meetings on the plan, without telling anybody, except, of course, Chiofaro.

The Globe, meanwhile, reports the Aquarium says it will keep fighting Chiofaro's plan unless he can guarantee it the revenue it would lose during construction.

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Comments

The proposal to raise the IMAX theater for that tower has been in the media for a little while now. That was not a secret. Also, wasn't the construction of the IMAX theater something that jeopardized the Aquarium's license as an aquatic marine center (or something like that) several years ago?

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If we're just going to accept corrupt zoning agencies, this is a plea to the town of Belmont: Seize Don's house by eminent domain as it is blighted by his scummy presence.

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He's trying to turn the woods of his backyard into five McMansions. The town is opposed but he's fighting it.

The Waterfront is only one of his games.

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Comment by a BRA official to Shirley Kressel many moons ago. New name, same game.

Winthrop
Long Wharf
Donny C's

The list goes on.

Boston is officially selling its soul, piece by piece, one of the points Wu and Dukakis make in their op-ed today about incrementalism.

Or maybe it's already gone.

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Council President Wu wants to have it both ways. She preaches density and more housing to advocates on those issues as if she's their champion. Then she writes pieces like this that appeal to wealthy NIMBY advocates (with Dukakis to boot) who don't care about mitigation funds for city services and decry an extra hour at worst of shadow on the Common a couple days a year.

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I see it the way Stevil sees it, which is not common occurrence.

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Boston is officially selling its soul, piece by piece

The soul of Boston: a parking garage and an IMAX theater.

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Guessing you're the guy that signed off on demolishing the west end. It's not always what yiu take down. It's what you put back up. Boston used to be very "human" in its charm. It's a lot less human and charming.

And contrary to opinion, you can often get more density into shorter buildings a la back bay and south end if you do it right.

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Guessing you're the guy that signed off on demolishing the west end

No

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It is very fitting that some of the ugliest structures on the waterfront, the Aquarium/IMAX and Harbor Towers, are opposing the construction of the new tower.

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Norm Levenson is rolling in his grave!! How come nobody ever protests the BRA in City Hall Plaza? All they care about is the almighty dollar, squeezing as many towers in Boston as possible, and nothing about fresh air, sunshine, and trains that are packed like sardines.

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I hate the BRA as much as the next guy but downtown is the place for skyscrapers. The failure of the MBTA isn't the fault of the BRA -- people have been predicting this sort of growth for decades and the state keeps dropping the ball. It's foolish to deny building until the T is expanded.

The problem is the BRA is deceitful. The waterfront garage is a horrible use for that space and should be redeveloped. How they're going about it is the problem.

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If you don't like the BPDA, then pressure the elected mayor and city councilors, to change it or shut it down.

Don't like the BPDA be a tool to do what elected officials want, but don't want to be held responsible for.

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Demolishing the IMAX theater was talked about last year. The Aquarium was all for it. I guess people are just surprised that after months of discussing it, they've actually arrived at a decision. From September 2016: "The aquarium is willing to move its stand-alone IMAX theater, which opened 15 years ago, to make the park possible. This vision goes beyond the proposed open space, an area as long as 1,000 feet and up to 85 feet wide that aquarium officials refer to as “the Blueway.” The Aquarium is the entity that was pushing for this Blueway and saw this tower as a way to move their own plans forward.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/09/27/aquarium-seeks-park-with...

Also, the parking garage shouldn't exist in general, and those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones (aka Harbor Towers people who live in their walled-off waterfront compound with only a sliver of harborwalk available for the public. Not to mention, oh my, the shadows of their towers!)

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But the fact the regs were changed to allow that to count towards the open-space requirements, I'm gathering.

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Changing regs is just one. A few years ago a project needed a full acre to qualify for certain tax breaks. There was no way for the project to qualify, so they included the public sidewalk and the street to get the space to qualify.

If the rules aren't in their favor, they change them.

And if you want to challenge them, somehow nobody has standing. And if you find someone with standing, they don't have the stamina. And if they have the stamina, they don't have the money.

At least that's what they count on.

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IMAX is a horrible use of waterfront.

It would be great if someone could find a way to tear down the Museum of Science, too. It's a garage and a giant brink wall with the best views of the city.

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What do you have against the Museum of Science?

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It's a parking garage and giant brick wall facing the waterfront.

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Fishy, is that you?

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But the gripe isn't about the museum, just the building and the space its in. I'm sure you know, but the land the MoS is on used to be part of esplanade park. Now, its the museum, which is fine I guess, but also a huge parking garage which is ugly and does block the amazing view and the neat little parks building.

At one point, you could walk from the corner of Storrow and Monseignor O'brien Hwy to the park on mem drive, without ever leaving a park or having the views of the river basin/Boston/Cambridge obstructed. Now you have to walk on a crappy highway sidewalk with a big brick Museum and parking garage on one side and a 6 lane highway on the other.

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they could just put some walls around each parking spot and a cot within and have some new luxury/efficiency river front apartments

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As part of the magnificent Esplanade 2020 proposal, the suggestion was made to demolish/bury the MoS garage, build a large waterfront park on the surface, and extend the esplanade on basin side of the museum (including under the columned overhang). This would recapitulate some of the original contiguous park without too much or any loss on the Museum's part.
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/X3Y0S4J.png)
(Don't get hung up on the ferris wheel, it's a placeholder for some sort of "landmark" or gateway feature given the prime location)

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No thanks, that ferris wheel is awful.

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(Don't get hung up on the ferris wheel, it's a placeholder for some sort of "landmark" or gateway feature given the prime location)

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I'm still confused on the parking issue. The Aquarium has no parking, but insists that the parking garage they don't own is critical to their profits. That seems a bit precarious to begin with. How can you force someone else to provide you with parking? What if he just closed the garage and built nothing....

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