Newbury Street shoppers could one day stroll to a park and sip coffee as they watch the sun set over the roaring traffic on the Massachusetts Turnpike, under a proposal unveiled this week by Samuels and Associates, which wants to make an overhanging park part of its mixed-use complex along Massachusetts Avenue across from Newbury Street.
Samuels showed off drawings of its proposed park at a meeting of the Parcel 12 Citizens Advisory Committee earlier this week. The developer is seeking permission from the city and MassDOT to build a complex that would include two buildings - one office and one containing either residential units or a hotel - sitting on a two-story commercial "podium" atop the turnpike and what is now the ramp from Newbury Street to the highway - a ramp Samuels is seeking to move further down the lesser known end of Newbury Street.
Samuels said it added the park to its proposal after hearing concerns from residents that the Mass. Ave. end of Newbury about the lack of open space there. It says it will also shift four floors from the residential building, which is directly visible from Newbury Street, to the commercial building after hearing concerns that the height of the residential/hotel building in the company's initial proposal would pretty much blot out the western sky from Newbury Street.
Previously limited terrace turned into a fully public area:
At the meeting, an architect on the project assured residents the overhang would be designed with redundant carrying ability - a truck taking out one of the supports would not bring down the whole thing. Designers will also figure out how to minimize glare from the setting sun on the park's wraparound glass wall so that inbound motorists are not blinded.
In addition to building over the turnpike, Samuels would also pay to redesign Massachusetts Avenue along the building line to make it friendlier to pedestrians (this will include a new entrance to the Mass. Ave. Green Line station on the other side of the street), bicyclists and bus riders.
Parcel 12 slides (11.4M PDF).
Notes from the Citizens Advisory Committee meetin (112k PDF).