The rights of the iconic sign in Kenmore Square are being discussed that might protect it in perpetuity. Some are opposed, citing restrictiveness on future development while others want to preserve Boston’s history.
From the Boston Globe:
A draft report being drawn up by the Boston Landmarks Commission would restrict any new owner’s ability to make drastic changes to the shape or views of the iconic [Citgo] sign, which sits above a building that Boston University is selling to development firm Related Beal.
Commission members put together a list of “character-defining features” they would protect through a landmark designation, everything from its 60-foot-by-60-foot dimensions to its famous red triangle and the pattern of its lighting…Also on the list: “unobstructed visibility” from Fenway Park, the Massachusetts Turnpike, Memorial Drive, and elsewhere, which probably would prevent Related from building anything next door that would be taller than the sign.
More change for the Boston skyline on the Fenway and Back Bay border.
According to the Boston Herald, “Trans National Properties has detailed plans to replace its Fenway headquarters with a 29-story tower called 2 Charlesgate West, which would have 173 apartments and 122 condos…The project would replace parent company Trans National Group Services’ nondescript 40-year headquarters and include 186 parking spaces, a 10,000-square-foot restaurant and 7,500 square feet of office space for Trans National.”
Additional details are available on the Boston Herald, here.
Boston is in the midst of a dramatic change of how we live, work and play within the city. The daytime and bedtime population is growing and the demand for services is far different than it was 20 years ago, but what hasn’t changed is how much we love our city and appreciate the history and culture that exists here. We are Boston and we love the quirks that makes this home.
Not all historic features and structures merit preserving, but some do. I am sure that prior to filling of what is now Back Bay was very controversial in 1857 when gravel and fill started arriving from Needham at a rate of twenty-five 35-car trains arrived every 24 hours.
With respect to the Citgo sign in Kenmore Square, Boston Magazine reports “the city’s Landmarks Commission met Tuesday night and granted the Citgo sign “pending designation” status. Next, the commission will prepare a report, and a public meeting will be held. If the commission approves its landmark status by a two-thirds vote, Mayor Marty Walsh has 15 days to approve or reject the proposal. If he rejects it, the City Council has 30 days to override his decision.”
As several prominent development companies angle to buy the nine-building package [Boston University is selling in Kenmore Square], they are weighing a delicate question: how to redevelop them — as any new owner would be likely to do — without blocking or moving the sign so it is no longer so visible from so many places around the city.
Moving the sign and replacing 660 Beacon with a taller building wouldn’t be difficult, said Arthur Krim, a faculty member at Boston Architectural College and the sign’s unofficial historian. But move it much, and the views would be altered forever.
“Sightlines would be skewed,” Krim said. “Anything above 15 stories and it’d be hard to see up there at all.”
In all, the nine buildings total 334,000 square feet of commercial space across one-and-a-half acres along Beacon Street, Commonwealth Avenue, and Deerfield Street. Their tenants include the Barnes & Noble that serves as BU’s campus bookstore, a Bertucci’s restaurant, Cornwall’s pub, and other tenants. Then there’s the famous sign on top…The electric triangle is not technically part of the sale; it’s owned by a billboard company that leases air rights from BU. It would be up to the new owner whether to continue that lease, Nicksa said. But he notes that the iconic sign is part of the value of the property.
“We’re not going to presume anything at this point,” he said. “But there’s real value there. It’s one of the unique attributes of the property.”
Fenway Park is far more than just home to the Red Sox. It has evolved to a park that hosts many event from concerts to hockey, and now, a Big Air Jump.
According to Bisnow, “Fenway Park’s Big Air Jump is being assembled (all 26,000 pieces) for its big day on Feb. 11 and 12. And when the estimated 25,000 people stream in, the jump will be even taller than the originally announced figure, according to BostInno. The structure reaches 150 feet high and 338 feet long.”
You can read more about Fenway’s Big Air Jump on Bisnow.
Last week I took a tour of the 48th floor at 200 Clarendon Street with Wayland Club Scouts, hosted by Patrick Mulvihill of Boston Properties, and “wow” was the comment echoed by all the scout’s and their parents. Now, the floor was completely shelled out with nothing but a cement floor, deck above and exterior windows. It was a great experience and the perfect perch to see how our city is growing vertically.
The growth, however, is consolidated in a few central areas – all of which were perfectly visible from the 48th floor.
“Tim Logan broke down recent numbers from the Boston Redevelopment Authority that show 83 major projects going up in 19 of the city’s 25 neighborhoods for a total cost construction-wise of around $7 billion. “Yet they’re concentrated in a relative handful of places. About $4 billion worth of the construction — it includes everything from housing to hotels to new storefronts — is taking place in just three neighborhoods: the Seaport, downtown, and the Back Bay. Count the number of projects, and nearly a fourth are in two neighborhoods: South Boston and the Fenway.”
The office market for growing companies appears to be expanding beyond traditional office markets such as Back Bay, Seaport and Financial District to Fenway. This is due to Samuels & Associates offering what companies want and need; cool creative space without a long term lease. New formed and funded companies are in most cases unable to make long term lease commitments, Hatch Fenway is designed to bright that gap between shared space and direct space.
Software startup Appcues has moved from Cambridge to a 2,100-square-foot office at Hatch Fenway, the startup space created by real estate developerSamuels & Associates this summer…the company started out in WeWork co-working space before moving to 300 square feet at 25 First St. in Cambridge. Late last year, the company raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Atlas Ventures and other investors…The company needed space to grow and had looked all over: Downtown Crossing, the Leather District, Kendall Square, Lechmere, Cambridge, the Seaport’s Innovation District. But Kendall Square has become “so office park-y,” Kim said.
“We like getting out of the office and going to interesting places,” he said. “The Fenway just has such a diverse array of restaurants, a movie theater right downstairs. Everything is convenient.”
Where is the next hot spot for companies on the move that don’t what long term leases? Landmark Center.
110,000-square-feet of office space in Fenway will soon be available to Boston startups in need of office space in the city. According to the Boston Business Journal, “the space at 401 Park Drive has been designed as a bridge for startup tenants that have outgrown incubator or coworking space but don’t feel comfortable signing a long-term office lease…Samuels will break up the 110,000-square-foot eighth floor of the Landmark building into smaller units, ranging in size from about 2,000 square feet to more than 30,000 square feet, to create the launchpad, which it’s calling “Hatch Fenway.” The launchpad will also feature common areas and shared conference room space.”
The Boston skyline is on the move. A Boston Globe editorial notes, “Boston is in the midst of a building boom never seen in its history, with an influx of new residents and companies giving rise to skyscraping towers, thousands of homes, and retail businesses that are redefining commercial districts citywide.” The Globe followed the article with a list of 50 of the largest development projects organized by expected square feet.
Among these office developments are projects at the Government Center Garage, South Station air rights, Tremont Crossing, and Landmark Center in Fenway.