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The SimCityfication of Boylston Street in the Fenway continues

Closed Burger King on Boylston Street in Boston's Fenway neighborhood.

Chad O'Connor noticed today that another low-density commercial square is being replaced by a high-density residential square. Or more specifically: The Boylston Street Burger King has closed - to make way for a 240-unit, 17-story apartment building by Skanska USA, as shown in this architect's rendering submitted to the BRA:

Proposed residential building on Boylston Street in the Fenway

No word if the traffic advisor is shaking his fist and turning red.

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There's an entire blank wall on 1330 Boylston (neighboring property) that I always thought was blank so they could abut a new development directly. It seems weird to me that they're leaving so much of it blank (as shown in the photo).

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This aggrivated me too. The Fenway Health building was clearly set up with a party wall as that lot was a sure thing for a future development a la McDonalds. To completely ignore it when designing the new structure is surprising. Especially because inverting the tower and roofdeck locations would be a nice "step down" from the Fenway Boylston buildings to the Fens (for a counterpoint, see the Viridian by Sweet Caroline's, where it juts abruptly and jarringly into the sky).

Even doing something like what the Van Ness just down the street, where the deck is encapsulated by two towers, would at least make some architectural use of the otherwise blank face.
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/tS9hNYg.jpg)

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Damn, I really enjoyed being able to tell my friends that visited that that Burger King is sitting on a multi-million dollar piece of land. Always seemed funny. Not so funny anymore now that there will be another luxury residence in Fenway I'll never live in.

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a) Request Minutes of the most recent and previous Public Meeting of the Zoning Commission, email zc at cityofboston.gov
http://www.reddit.com/r/alternativeboston/comments/314lm7/b_request_minu...

b) Request Minutes/Notes of the Zoning Board of Appeals, email zba at cityofboston.gov
http://www.reddit.com/r/alternativeboston/comments/314k69/a_request_minu...

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I used to go to that Star Market to get groceries for my cooperative living group. That area has already changed a great deal, and is changing still. I think the move from a bunch of suburban-lite businesses to a full-blown city scape is overall a positive one.

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I think this area's proximity to Fenway Park actually kept it from developing for some time. In the early 2000s much of the area was parking lots, or gas stations that turned in to parking lots on game day, or a BK that had a nice side business parking cars on game day. 80 home games, $30 or $40 or more for parking, that's $3200 in ancillary income per space. Oh, and it comes in in cash. So there was a calculus that these properties made decent money without having to be developed. Of course, it was this bizarre suburban strip mall scar right next to one of the densest neighborhoods in the city.

It's good to see it change. The dense housing is good for two reasons. First, every time a brogrammer decides to splurge on the $1800 per month apartment that they can afford, it's one less person driving up demand, and prices, in older, cheaper housing stock elsewhere in the city. (In theory, anyway; in practice, there is so much latent demand that it doesn't make a difference, but you have to start somewhere.) And one has to assume that these don't get through without having some affordable units, and paying something in to the affordability fund, or however that works. They're not displacing any existing residents, or really any useful businesses (no, decaying garages aren't exactly useful). And they're filling in a pretty big hole in the cityscape.

There are still some properties in that neighborhood that could be developed, but it's good to see it go from a wasteland to something useful. Even if I might not be able to afford it, it should at least relieve some pressure on the housing market overall.

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Around $3,000/month for a 1 bed.

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1800 gets you a 1-bedroom in an old wood frame building in Somerville. Not a 1-bedroom in a new 'luxury' building that close to downtown.

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....and I said nothing.....you all know the rest.

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First they came for D'Angelos, and I shrugged.

Then they came for the Burger King, and I shrugged.

Finally they came for El Peon and there was no where left for me to go to lunch.

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they'll have to pry el guapo out of my cold, dead hands!

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My question is where are all these people living now? Boston seems to be building and building these rental buildings, like ink block, the Avalon at the Prudential, all those buildings near Lechemere. These places aren't affordable so who is the customer? We can't have that many students directly in Boston.

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These places aren't affordable so who is the customer?

You answered your own question.

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What makes you think "students" are the ones moving into these buildings?

Boston is home to world class healthcare, legal, financial services, bio-technology, and R&D companies. The people that work at those high paying jobs want to live close to their employer with all the amenities the city has to offer.

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That location is a ten minute walk to Beth Israel, BWH, etc.... it will probably fill up with doctors/residents/etc

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$3,000 a month for 1BR is way too much for residents, even Partner's residents who make more than most. We don't make the big bucks.

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They're clearly affordable to someone.

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Increasing density should be a major goal for the city. From my personal experience, if I was playing SimCity I'd knock down ALL of the automotive related businesses on Brighton Ave and put in high density residential development, then start doing the same with the more decrepit low density housing stock.

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Put in some improved and extended rapid transit.

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Just make sure you plunk down lots of police stations right around it. Automatically makes crime go down. Parks are cheap, too, and raise desirability.

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turn off disaster mode or Godzilla might come rampaging through your town.

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What's sad is.. a Boston as a region in SimCity 4 (yes there is one to download here & here) doesn't work well for gameplay. Both the road layout and the transit systems (if built like they are currently) are horribly insufficient for the game. (Maybe the game is trying to tell us something? :-) )

In order to make it work you end up having to build a Paris-style subway system (that goes everywhere underground), upgrade many roads to boulevards, and add more highways. OR just abandon the idea of copying the current road/transit layout and build your own from scratch. (This works out the best)

(And yes, I've tried to build a "Boston" region a few times..)

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I think I can count on one hand the number of residential developments I've been against. I'm not against this one except that the Fenway neighbors have been pretty good about accepting housing and its effects (traffic, people) on Boylston Street and then this developer came along and wanted a tower 2x the height of other buildings on that stretch - zoning that had been approved just years before.

Like I said, I support almost all development, and this, too.

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then this developer came along and wanted a tower 2x the height of other buildings on that stretch

Seems a bit excessive. But hey, of course since somebody from somewhere changed the zoning to allow it, it's all good, right?

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How do you post a PDF from a gmail message?...

>"Boston Zoning Board Hearing notes 3/24/15

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Sent-From: Derric Small derric.small at boston.gov
> Date: Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 9:20 AM
> Subject: Hearing notes 3/24/15

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Sent-From: ISDBOA at cityofboston.gov
> Date: Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 4:05 AM
> Subject: Scan from a Xerox WorkCentre
> To: DerricS Derric.Small at cityofboston.gov
>
> Please open the attached document. It was scanned and sent to you using a Xerox WorkCentre.
>
> Attachment File Type: PDF
>
> WorkCentre Location: machine location not set
> Device Name: ISDBOAXE
>
> For more information on Xerox products and solutions, please visit http://www.xerox.com
> Attachments area
> Preview attachment DOC.PDF
> PDF
> DOC.PDF

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Save the pdf to your computer. Upload it to scribd. Post the link.

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so this is no great loss to anyone.

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Then it will be a corner high rise also. Of course, there will be a monorail running over Boylston to Longwood and to Mass Ave.

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to quote uhub...

"Citation Please"

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dupe

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I had thought that one of the reasons this area wasn't more developed was because, like the Back Bay, it's landfill and couldn't sustain the weight of a lot of high-rise buildings without potentially causing damage to existing structures by increasing the pace at which the land is sinking. I haven't heard a word about this amid the flurry of new development over there. Does anyone know anything about this?

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So the land isn't actually sinking - or at least it isn't because of large buildings. Settling is common for areas built on tidal flats or marshlands - which the Fens used to be, with the exception of Sewall's Point around Kenmore Sq - but the Back Bay in particular is stacked with an array of timber pylon supports that prop up all the buildings. If those supports are submerged in groundwater they are essentially permanent - they won't deteriorate at all. It's when the groundwater recedes and exposed portions of the pylons rot that settling occurs. This has been an issue previously with construction in and around the Back Bay dewatering nearby areas - though construction engineers today are very good about monitoring the water levels to ensure surrounding pylons are not disturbed.

All new builds, including the high rises, must include groundwater recharge systems and water table monitors, there's also the groundwater trust which monitors the water table as a whole in the area. It is a bit imprecise, we don't actually know where are the pylons are and how tall they are - once building may have pylons that extend and extra meter than the neighbor's - because the plans for the area burnt in a fire. Even if the pylons rot, it's possible to save the building - all it requires is to dig down to preserved portion of the timber, cut out the rotted section, and install a steel support structure. It's expensive, but not that difficult from an engineering perspective. This happened to a few townhouses on Brimmer St for example.

So, yes and no. There's no immediate threat to settling from these new buildings, but the water table must be monitored constantly to ensure that it's at appropriate levels to ensure the pylons don't rot. This winter will actually help that as snow melts and recharges the water table. I'm not sure if this section of Boylston is propped up by pylons to the extent that the Back Bay, but settling is certainly an issue in this area so I'd imagine the BRA wouldn't be approving such developments in ignorance of that threat.

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Even if the pylons rot, it's possible to save the building - all it requires is to dig down to preserved portion of the timber, cut out the rotted section, and install a steel support structure. It's expensive, but not that difficult from an engineering perspective. This happened to a few townhouses on Brimmer St for example.

Famous examples of this process include both the BPL McKim building, rebuilt in 1929, and the Old South Church bell tower, rebuilt in the mid-1930s. Their pilings rotted away after the St James Street sewer rapidly drew down the water table around Copley.

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I'll always remember saying hi to Jason Veritek at this drive thru after the 2004 sox parade. Yea i was a dumbass that walked up to his car after he ordered.

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If only you remembered his name...

Is that a New England thing to change "ar" to "er", like adding "er"s to "a" and vice versa? See Jerry Remy's butchering of Carlos Baerga as Cah-los Buy-ay-ger, etc.

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...the way none of the knuckledraggers can say "sriracha" or "chipotle". Some great butchery there.

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If I'm counting correctly, that makes 2 BK's that have closed within the last 18 months or so, leaving Boston with only 1, right across from the Common, correct?

I do like the fact that we're getting rid of all the shitty fast food joints, but something about it also makes me kind of sad that it's getting harder to satisfy my occasional and irrational craving for a Whopper.

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From what I can see, the old-line fast-food burger places (McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's) are being slowly replaced, about one-by-one, by the new-style UBurger, Tasty Burger, Boston Burger Company, Shake Shack, Five Guys, etc.

KFC has also pretty much disappeared from our area ... but we now have Popeye's (again)

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Is still around.. there's one on Revere Beach Parkway in Everett, and one on Squire Road in Revere, and one in Edward Everett Square in Dorchester. Route 1 in Saugus probably has one also.

Not totally gone.. just far and few between (there weren't many here to begin with anyways)

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On Washington Street at the Dedham line.

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On American Legion Highway, across from the mall with the Popeye's - and the McDonald's - in it, all just down the street from the Wendy's.

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Anyone know why the Everett KFC is a little different from the others? Every other KFC I been has "Crunchy" as the other option from original. The Everett has "Spicy", and I'm pretty sure it does has a different taste so it not just semantics (don't get it rid of btw, I like it). But my understanding of franchises has standardized selections. Why is the Everett one slightly different?

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there.. since I rarely eat at KFC anymore (mostly because I worked at KFC in high school and know what the kitchen is like.)

I'm going to guess that they have spicy chicken due to the high latino population. If you get fried chicken at Polo Campero, it's spicy and has flavor. (its better than KFC) so I guessing it's KFCs answer to Latin Chicken.

PS - I refuse to eat this location anyways.. always so dirty inside and they always make you wait..

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To add to Cybah, I think all KFCs in grittier, urban (non-white majority?) neighborhoods sell spicy (which is also crispy). I prefer it also. Columbia Rd KFC, spicy. Hancock St KFC in Quincy, crispy only. It was the same story in the suburbs I grew up in, all crispy, no spicy.

I also think the Everett KFC location has the freshest KFC in Eastern Mass. They always have a line and huge turnover of food, so I guess it's gotta be fresh. So I think KFC has actually given franchise owners a choice, and the owners know what their customers want. Or KFC has some crazy map mandating the crispy vs spicy line.

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There's a BK between Packard's Corner and Union Square. Drive-thru and everything.

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Open kind of weird hours, being in a very 9-to-5 neighborhood.

Don't even get me started on how you need a sled team and three weeks of provisions to get to the nearest Arby's.

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IMAGE(http://crooksandliars.com/files/mediaposters/2014/04/29227.jpg)

I didn't think you'd like the Hannity of Roast Beef sandwiches

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Good lord, man, you live in Eastern Mass. Do you know how much I've been craving a real roast beef sandwich since I moved away? Complaining about the lack of Arby's makes as much sense as complaining about a lack of Red Lobsters.

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Yeah, Michael. You don't need a team of dogs to get to Brookline Village where you can get the Roast Beef 1000 at Cutty's.

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There's one at Park Street too. It's a haven for homeless tho..

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It's on Washington at High Point Village. And I believe there is also one in Dorchester (Columbia Rd.)

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is another year and a half to two years of construction a block away from my office, and all the parking spaces being taken up by construction workers. Not to mention the swampy smell once they start to dig out the foundation. Then after that the building that had the D'Angelos sandwich shop is coming down to make room for a 22 story building. It will all probably be done just about the time I retire in 4 years and the West Fenway will be totally transformed. It's the new UPTOWN BOSTON! It's going to be really nice though, actually. This neighborhood has been such a sleepy little place for so long it's nice to see it injected with some life.

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and the Muddy River project as well...

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From my perspective, having it be a "sleepy little place" was a major feature, not a bug. The neighborhood had a few decent and affordable restaurants, a supermarket and a pharmacy. Who exactly is all the "non-sleepy" development for? Tourists, that's who. I loved coming home, dropping my stuff in my apartment and going for a walk in the park. It was nice, it was green, there were birds and trees and all that good stuff. I loved it. You can keep all the UPTOWN BOSTON crap.

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Please leave town, find yourself a sleepy suburb to live in, and stop trying to hold this CITY back. Thanks.

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...that you are the arbiter of what a CITY should be like. You're not, so shut your pie hole.

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We were here long before you were here and we'll be here long after your greasy tourist ass leaves.

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As long as they put up a plaque to mark where Jeremy Renner died after that botched Fenway Park robbery.

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Trying to post Minutes/Notes from the most recent Public Meeting of the Boston Zoning Board... also available by email derric.small at boston.gov

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