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Tower at Aquarium-garage site might actually happen

The Chiofaro Co. told the BPDA today it will soon file detailed plans for a 600-foot-tall tower to replace the garage in front of the New England Aquarium - a garage Donald Chiofaro has been trying to replace for more than a decade now, at first under the specter of a feud with then Mayor Tom Menino.

In a letter of intent, Chiofaro says its proposed tower will have 900,000 square feet of residential, office, retail and possibly hotel space and will come with more than a half-acre of public space aimed at further opening Boston Harbor to the public though "a destination outdoor gathering space" - and a new underground parking garage that will have enough space for both tenants and the public.

Chiofaro adds the project will include measures both to make the building itself able to withstand flooding from rising seas and to begin work to helping to protect downtown Boston from such flooding.

At 1.3 acres, the garage site is large enough that Chiofaro can file a "planned development area" proposal with the BPDA, under which it and the agency would toss the site's current zoning and negotiate just what can go on the parcel. As a large project, the project will also require extensive traffic studies and creation of an advisory group to study the plans in detail, as well as a public hearing before the BPDA board votes on it.

Since 2009, Chiofaro has proposed numerous ideas for the property, which at various times drew opposition from the mayor himself, the BRA, the residents of Harbor Towers and the New England Aquarium.

PDF icon Garage tower letter of intent116.91 KB


It will finally wall off the waterfront, forever


The harbor couldn't be more walled off than it is by the existing parking garage.


and that POS parking garage that is there doesn't???


... to tall for that location. It will loom over the Greenway and the Harborwalk.


Harbor towers: 400' (and really, can someone on the ground tell the difference between 400 and 600 feet?)

International place: 600' (and right on the Greenway)

One financial: 590' (also right on the Greenway)

Custom house tower: 496' (one block off the Greenway, about 100 yards from the proposed site)

Atlantic Wharf: 436' (on the Greenway and the harbor walk)

There's no reason at all to believe that we can't have another tall building on the Greenway/harborwalk. We should hold him to his promise to have great public space at the base, but if he can deliver we should let him get on with it.


doesn't mean there need to be more.

cramming the greenway/harborwalk area with towers is just going to create a narrow, dark windtunnel that will make the greenway absolutely miserable in the winter and much less inviting in the summer.

and just because chiofaro is a whiny narcissistic developer (hmm.. where have I seen one of those, very recently, all over the TV) doesn't mean he should get his way. he wants to develop the garage? great, he can get creative instead of dropping another fugly tower on the city.

The difference between 400 and 600 feet is shadows--the taller tower shadows half again as much area on the ground. That might not matter if you're right next to the tower, but it will for people near the edges of the shorter building's shadow.

There's also the whole concrete canyon, no visible sky effect--that's not a problem when you're walking along the Greenway, but can be for the narrower streets nearby.

This might or might not be a good argument against this proposal--if I were involved in this decision, I'd be asking about traffic and transit congestion and other infrastructure, more than shadows--but yes making a building 200 feet taller is noticeable.

There will be shadows.

A tower could be 6000 feet tall here and I would not care so long as you can actually see and walk to the harbor and the aquarium from the greenway, instead of being blocked by an ugly antiquated parking garage.


Greenway is an over rated lawn, got one at D street anyway. Aquarium fiasco tied up by political posturing, so it goes to the head of the class to resolve, things arent getting any cheaper to build. Next , !


Tall building isn't necessarily bad but the effects need to be looked at.

They'll also have to produce a shadow study. Anybody know about wind?

will be on each floor. High ceilings make areas harder to heat and cool necessitating the use of more fossil fuels which contributes to climate change.

Someone should write a book detailing this most obstacled project, its epic !

let's relocate all these people worried about shadows to the South Shore where they can incessantly annoy their neighbors over petty issues.

Our only worry should be to locate them in deforested areas. Those trees after all create all sorts of pesky shadows.


The view of the sky from public space, and the daylight that falls on public space, belong to us, not to whatever developer you’re shilling for here.

The view of an awesome building also belongs to all of us, whether we actually use that building or not. Personally, I enjoy watching the city grow and the tallest buildings equate to the most visible progress. (and usually, in Boston at least, have lately been well designed and executed)

what a ridiculous argument.

go build your fantasy town in your basement, you want to look at tall buildings in the dark so bad.

... your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins.

... which is another way of saying that the developer doesn't have a unilateral right to block the sun from reaching public space without entering into some kind of negotiation with the owners of that public space.

between 600 ft. energy consuming, climate changing sky scraper vs. 60 ft. air cleaning tree.

how the new underground parking garage will be built to "withstand flooding from rising seas" and how the building itself will help protect city streets from flooding.

Building more tall buildings right along the harbor doesn't seem wise.

It floats.

The world's first skyscraper built out of Ivory soap?

Maybe they could ask Monaco who has a 7-story garage right on the sea (OK, it's not the ocean, but still) https://goo.gl/maps/1xCqh4GBkpenLAgE6

Don't forget, we ourselves have a bunch of underwater tunnels here.

which seems to flood often.

I can't wait, well, yes I can, to see what ugly PoMo crap Chiofaro comes up with this time. International Place is hideous.

I fully support turning a POS garage into SOMETHING useful, but had to lol at this:

will come with more than a half-acre of public space aimed at further opening Boston Harbor to the public though "a destination outdoor gathering space"

because that's worked super well with the supposed publicly accessible observatory, the lawn that the ICA blocks off for paid-parties, etc, etc. Nobody actually forces these people to ACTUALLY provide public access in their "public spaces"