News & Updates

BRA Presents on Shadow and Open Space Impacts of Proposed Harbor Square Development

Sep 12, 2014

jpeg-(2).jpgOn Wednesday, members of the BRA’s Planning Division and consultants from Utile, Inc. Architecture + Planning presented to a waterfront advisory committee about the shadow and open space impacts of developer Donald Chiofaro’s proposed plan to transform the current site of the Harbor Garage on Atlantic Avenue into a two-tower mixed-used development. The BRA’s study noted that the proposed towers – measuring 600 feet and 537 feet, respectively – would cast new shadows along part of the Greenway in the morning hours and on and around Long Wharf during portions of the afternoon.

As currently designed, the towers would be connected at the ground level by an atrium with a retractable glass roof that would be open to the public year-round and open to the sky in non-winter months. The pedestrian concourse would accommodate cultural space, retail shops, restaurants, cafes, seasonal events, and other programming. State laws governing waterfront development (often referred to as Chapter 91 regulations) define open space as being clear to the sky. Given the atrium's seasonal covering, the waterfront advisory committee could suggest an alternative approach or revised definition of open space.

The BRA has signaled a willingness to consider proposals that differ from current height guidelines for the site – set at 200 feet – if open space and waterfront access requirements are satisfied. With its proximity to the Greenway and the waterfront, the Harbor Garage site has great potential to be an iconic destination. The success of any project at that site will hinge on a constructive dialogue with the community and a multi-step review process that is responsive to local and state regulations. Mr. Chiofaro has not yet filed formal plans to begin the Article 80 development review process for his proposal.

Working with the Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Planning Advisory Committee, the BRA will continue to analyze the design with stakeholders over the coming months. The next scheduled meeting of the advisory committee is on Wednesday, September 24 from 3-5 p.m. at Atlantic Wharf. Meetings are open to the public.

A copy of Wednesday’s presentation is available online.

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