Are You Ready For A Remodeled Harrison/Albany Corridor?

The Boston Redevelopment Authority has approved plans designed to bring new development to the area. How do you feel about this, and who would you like to move in?

Some building heights would increase as dramatically as 130 feet, up from 70 feet to 200 feet, others would just see a 30 foot increase.

And, , former editor Alix Roy noted that "the plan also opens the door for liquor stores and bars to set up shop along the corridor on a case-by-case basis with community input."

The plan is also promising "additional affordable housing or affordable commercial or cultural space," a requirement that 20% of the lot be designated as public open space, such as "private ways, alleys or pedestrian walkways, all of which would be open to the public but owned and maintained by the developer."

The Boston Zoning Commission will make the final verdict on all of the possible development in January, which means there still time for folks to weigh in.  Let us know your thoughts on what would be best for the neighborhood, and whether this plan moves the South End in the right direction.  The comments section awaits! 

South End Resident December 19, 2011 at 08:19 PM
Most of the plan is fine, but they should not be raising building heights to 150 feet in residential neighborhoods (Shawmut Ave). Why not keep it consistent with heights within all the other residential neighborhoods within the plan? Why limit SOWA and the Back Streets to certain residential limits, but then allow for 150-200 feet in the New York Streets neighborhood - especially along Shawmut Ave?
Scubasteve December 19, 2011 at 08:41 PM
I agree. The building heights should be restricted in this project.
South December 19, 2011 at 09:12 PM
i agree with both comments. This has the potential to be a great project but the having buildings that are 150 feet lined up against a neighbor with 70 foot historic builds are going to have a stark wall like effect. Hope the final result is more respectful of the neighbor they are encompassing.
Alex December 19, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Fellow Southenders: Get over your fear of heights! Increased heights mean increased density, which means more activity, vitality, and all the other things that make cities great. Boston is in a constant push-pull with strong development pressures because we don't allow greater density in places where it's appropriate, like this. Please remember that the more development is allowed here, the more pressure will be taken off the surrounding residential neighborhoods. P.S. Outside of Boston the opinion that 200 feet is too tall on a major street in a central city would get you laughed out of a room. Just sayin'.
Douglas December 20, 2011 at 05:16 PM
High density can be achieved even with traditional-sized buildings - just look at the 150-year-long success of the South End's 19th century scale. We've got a good thing here...why spoil it? And why should Shawmut Ave at East Berkeley St be responsible for "taking the pressure" off the surrounding residential neighborhoods? Just askin'. I'd be happy to be laughed out of a room in another city, as long as I get to keep living in a charming Boston neighborhood with 70' height limits!
South End Resident December 20, 2011 at 05:30 PM
Alex, this is not a fear of heights. It is an adversion to the known facts about overly tall buildings in the city. Wind, darkness, and traffic. Think about how it feels when you walk by the new John Hancock tower. Would you want that built next to your home?
South End Resident December 20, 2011 at 05:37 PM
I agree with Doug. We can achieve high density and increased development with traditional building heights or just slightly higher. 150-200 foot towers next to existing residential brownstones is not necessarily the only answer to our urban development challenges (although the developers would like you to believe so, as it supports their efforts to widen their profit margins),
Kasey Hariman December 20, 2011 at 07:42 PM
The strategic plan is now available on the Boston Redevelopment Agency's website, and it includes contact info for the BRA supervisors involved with the project. The site is here: http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/Planning/PlanningInitsIndividual.asp?action=ViewInit&InitID=135 if folks would like to go there and write or call the BRA with their opinions.
South End Resident December 20, 2011 at 08:30 PM
Thanks, Kasey. I have written and spoken with the BRA regarding this issue. Unfortunately, my feedback (along with the Eight Streets Neighborhood Association's feedback) was not enough to deter the BRA from proceeding to approve the proposal as is, or even discuss the possibility of changing it. If we can get enough people to express their concerns directly to the BRA, I'm hoping they might listen to us. I encourage everyone to email or call the BRA with their feedback.
South April 24, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Alex, One of the charms of Boston is its history and its old architecture. Also have you lived else where? Building height is a frequent issue in residential and historic areas. While progress is admirable one must look to see how it incorporates into a neighborhood. There is an entire seaport area that hasn't been developed, there is no reason to build a 200 foot building across from 4 story brownstones.


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