Tuesday, September 17, 2013

80 East Berkeley Street

New development is on our doorstep - don't forget to submit your comments.  The comment deadline is fast approaching (Sept 30th).   More details at the end of this post.

For those who are just hearing about it, 80 East Berkeley street is a proposal to put a larger commercial building at the corner of Shawmut/East Berkeley/Washington streets.  Currently this area is occupied by a public parking lot and an auto garage (which rents their parking out to Mings Market).

For an overview of the project, read this Globe article.

For complete project information, read the PNF.  This will download a PDF file of the Project Notification Form.   It's a real big document that contains everything about the project.  Drawings, renderings, traffic analysis, costs, Zoning, History, Environment Impact.  It's worth the read just to see what goes into the planning of projects.

The basics

The proposal is for an 11 story office building at the location.  The height is the maximum allowable height based on a re-zoning effort that took place last year.   Eight Streets Castle Square and Old Dover opposed the higher zoning for that block.  The city wanted a larger building on that corner, calling that corner and East Berkeley overall are a 'gateway' to the South End.   The developer has chosen to build an Office building rather than residential.   

There will be 2-4 commercial businesses on the first floor.  The building entrance is to be on East Berkeley, but the entrance to the garage will be on Washington street (which is planned to be a 2-way street)  There will be larger sidewalks on the E Berkeley and Washington sides, and a 'pull over' lane in front of the main entrance so daytime pickup-dropoff and evening valet service will not block E Berkeley traffic.   BTD says there are currently no plans to change any street parking availability on E Berkeley street.

What you can do

The BRA (Boston Redevelopment Authority) is seeking public comment until September 30th.  Everyone is going to have an opinion on the development.  The NA ha heard both positive and negative comments on the proposal.  If you have any comments on the project, your best way to share your thoughts are to write the BRA directly. The more letters they have, the more they will listen to the public.

Sending a US Mail letter or email are the best way to share your opinion.  A phone call may not be recorded as an opinion, but you are free to phone or email with any questions.   

Send all comments to

Casey Ann Hines
Project Manager
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA  02201

Eight Streets

We will also be sending a letter from the Neighborhood Association.  We certainly support all the construction going on in the East end of the South End.  An open and often barren area of our neighborhood will become a vibrant new area will many new stores and residents.  

But as with the zoning, we are concerned about the height of the building.   A slightly shorter building would ease the transition from the 4-story residential area into the new development.  A setback on the Berkeley edge would also help lessen the building's impact.   

Remember to get your feedback to the BRA by September 30th.

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