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One guess what a developer wants to turn the old Hotel Buckminster into

Old photo of Hotel Buckminster in 1900

Hotel Buckminster in 1900, three years after it went up in what would become Kenmore Square. From BPL.

A developer says it will soon file plans to gut Kenmore Square's Hotel Buckminster and turn it into a part of a new life-sciences building next door to the life-sciences-focused Fenway Center complex it's already building.

In a letter of intent filed with the BPDA today, IQHQ of Solana Beach, CA, said it plans to keep the shell of the six-story hotel, built in 1897, then connect it to 215-foot-tall tower it plans to build after razing two buildings next door at 655-679 Beacon St. In total, this would mean a 461,300-square-foot life sciences building.

Part of the project would include connecting this new building to the $1-billion Fenway Center, which IQHQ is currently building with local developer John Rosenthal atop the turnpike and along Brookline Avenue, right behind the former hotel.

IQHQ, which focuses on life sciences, is also building a life-sciences complex in Brighton, currently better known as the project that killed the Sound Museum music rehearsal facility.

IQHQ says the Buckminster project would include roughly 28,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space and a valet garage able to hold 110 cars in a mechanical stacker system.

IQHQ bought the hotel, which closed not long after the start of the pandemic in 2020, for $42.5 million in November, 2021, according to Registry of Deeds records, which shows it has yet to purchase the two buildings it wants to raze, one owned by the Buckminster Professional Office Building Corp., the other by Boston University, which currently uses it for its Cognition and Decision Laboratory. IQHQ says Boston University will file a separate application with the BPDA to remove the building from its own "institutional master plan" to make way for the IQHQ project.

IQHQ says it expects to file its detailed plans by the end of February.

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Comments

Ugh. More pharmaceutical companies. Life science. Will health insurance pay for all these meds? Doubt it. So many meds interactions keep landing me in the emergency room with blood pressure irregularity. Nobody answers the phone except 911.

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Walk up window was so nice on warm summer nights.

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I worked at the Buck back in the day.

Your chances of getting fried chicken were on par with getting rat that had jumped into a deep fryer. The closing of Popeye's was no great loss.

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walk past there all the time, and they always had the window open. No screen. The window that was sidewalk level outside and above the kitchen inside, so all the nasty street trash could blow in. YUCK.

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Popeye's fried okra

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Imagine what they could do with all that space already designed for residential use!

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That owns nearly everything between Packard's Corner and Charlesgate and owns nearly every single residential building in the triangle between the Pike, St. Mary's Street, and Beacon Street.

If there was a nearby University who destroyed the soul of Kenmore Square......

Let's stop feeding the beast of one of the top 5 schools on the planet (Only Long Island and New Money Neighborhoods of Shanghai and Dubai surveyed) and let everyone else have a crack at things.

Vote for me for Mayor. The destruction of that Boston University sign next to the air monitoring station on Comm. Ave would be the fourth or fifth thing I do on my first day in office.

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n/t

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I'll be hitting the Sunset Cantina at about 5 p.m. before tomorrow night's game, very happy it opened back up, they get a lot of business on game nights.

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..convert its history to lab space.

One of the most prominent buildings in Kenmore Square, and the location of the creation of the Black Sox scandal that changed baseball.

Perhaps some local investor with an interest in sports and the initials, John Henry, could find some baseball related use. It's sitting right next to our local baseball theme park/entertainment complex.

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He's too busy signing one year deals for oft injured relief pitchers and not giving Liverpool the money for a decent midfielder.

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Any wagers on when the life-sciences boom goes bust?

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In 2027, what will the headlines be?

- Developer proposes turning Life Science building to massive FroYo factory
- Developer wants to convert lab space to SRO apartments.
- ChatGPT robot files papers to get rid of lab space. Needs warehouses filled with with couches and video games so useless humans can stay out of its way.
- Unused lab space becomes rehearsal space for punk bands. Musicians say it’s not easy to set up instruments between lab benches, but since the building is abandoned, they’ll figure something out.
- Affordable Housing advocates demand unused lab space be made into housing. Building experts remind them that these buildings still aren’t well suited for housing.
- Others?

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One man's plan to turn all that deserted life science space into temporary dorms for those stranded by today's MBTA fires

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This is the cycle that allowed the square to evolve into its beloved version from the 50s-90s era. After demand for upscale homes and hotels collapsed, landlords subdivided larger spaces into apartments and rooming houses and added commercial space on the ground floor. As colleges expanded, Hiltons and Sheratons got converted to dormitories, and the heavy student presence boosted demand for businesses catering to a younger crowd looking for some fun.

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Especially in this particular location I'd like to see residential on the upper floors.

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Lab Space -"Say it ain't so, Joe."

https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/redsox/2016/07/16/dan-shaughnessy-rev...

Thank you Mr.Shaughnessy

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Still waiting for someone to come out with some hard figures that we need more "Life Science / Lab Space". Because it seems this is all speculation. And we all know what specators do to anything that is investing..

Flood the market so the bottom drops out
Inflate the market so it eventually crashes.

So you know where this is heading.

2033, Boston is now a wasteland of empty Life Science space because the tax breaks have ended and Mississippi is now Life Science Home of the US. All the biotech people moved to Mississippi because of that new super low tax rates.

because we all know this is how it works. The gravy train stops at one place, and the pigs go suck some teet at another location cuz the feeding is good.

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The reason why all Boston has so much biotech is because it's so closely linked with the universities. It was never about the cheapest taxes or real estate.

The universities aren't moving so if your company wants easy access to the pipeline of postdocs, you've got to be where they are.

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Woooosh. You really don't get sarcasm do you?

Regardless, I still think it will happen. Every time you open this g-d website yet another "Life Science Lab" is being built. I cannot grasp that we need THIS MUCH SPACE other than a bunch of specators THINKING we need this much space.

And as far as students, you know we bleed students after they graduate because of.. you guessed it

High Cost of Living
High Cost of Housing

So maybe we should build more housing to retain those students instead of thinking 'life science' space is the way to go.

Also, this IS how this works. Companies will pay people to move elsewhere, and do it often. Ask anyone who's company moved from Silicon Valley to the Reserach Triangle in North Carolina. There ain't nothing there.. yet companies are moving there because its cheaper and attractive tax breaks.

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Woooosh. You really don't get sarcasm do you?

Went over my head at 30,000'.

I'm 100% in favor of making the Buckminister housing or just keeping it as a hotel. It's a good candidate for "micro-unit" type housing which is particularly attractive to recent grads. I don't know why this developer thinks there's more money to be made in Life Sciences.

But given this is the 3rd proposal for the place in 10 years, I'm skeptical anything will come of this. They are doing prep work on the Buckminister and it seems to be gutted based on what I can see through the windows.

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The universities in the Research Triangle are what attracted many of those businesses. SAS (major statistical software company, especially used in clinical trials and related areas) was founded there and is headquartered there. Duke, UNC, NCSU all have excellent biostats departments.

Meanwhile, a lot of educated workforce members don't want to move to a state that doesn't believe in funding education, and these days draconian anti-abortion laws that also affect women's care after miscarriages or ability to get meds they need for reasons having nothing to do with reproductive care are affecting people's willingness to move to certain states, including for college or grad school.

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personally I'd be pretty pleased if IQHQ left Boston alone. they've ruined enough already.

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The Buckminster Hotel was an SRO for many years, the last of the great lodging houses where people who might otherwise be homeless could live. In the 80's the landlord, a Housing Court proven slumlord, decided to convert it to condos. To circumvent having to give fair notice to his tenants and pay them a relocation fee he flooded the place with illegal eviction notices and harassed the tenants to move. The tenants united and fought him for eight years, winning a million dollar settlement, after which the tenants became less diligent about banding together because they thought they were safe. The building was eventually sold. The long term tenants were moved out, and it became a hotel.

So the suggestion that this be turned into small unit housing, which is a good idea, would mean returning this important housing resource back to the neighborhood.

When the life science balloon deflates I hope there will be enough infrastructure in the building to return it to use as housing. We desperately need it.

The city did a study of homelessness back then, and it showed that the last place of residence for a large majority of homeless persons was a lodging house.

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in the 1970s. Back then, it still had the White Fuel animated billboard on it.

Why can't it stay a hotel? The city needs hotels.

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I don’t think a life science building will be suitable for that area, the building is very close to a ballpark with thousands of spectators, what if an experimental monkey with Ebola were to escape the buckmeister life science building. How would they evacuate Fenway park !!

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There are different "bio-safety levels" for life-sciences labs. Most of the new life-sciences stuff around here is for Level 1 and 2, which is stuff you probably wouldn't want to have a beaker full of explode in your face (because you wouldn't want a beaker of anything exploding in your face) but isn't supposed to be the focus of some movie involving concerned scientists and Army guys roaming around in hazmat suits in the wasteland that Fenway has become, hunting down mutant chimps with glowing red eyes.

I really doubt the city would allow a place that would be accepting and playing around with shipments of ebola, smallpox, the more dangerous strains of coronavirus and TB and the like in Kenmore Square. That's why God (well, the BPDA and the public-health commission) gave us the BU biolab on Albany Street - which is specifically licensed for that sort of thing (it's at level 4).

In any case, it's a bit late to be worried about experiments near Fenway. As mentioned in the story, the new building would be connected to the even larger set of life-sciences spaces the developer is, even as we speak, constructing along Brookline Avenue (and there are several other life-sciences proposals in the works around Fenway Park).

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I would think a hotel would be easy to turn into housing. Studios would free up larger apartments for family that need them. Roommates are currently taking them because there are few studios.

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