Exploring Changes in and Around Boston

Ed Greable Blogger August 4, 2018

Several changed are coming to the city of Boston. Here is a look at just a few that are worthy of your attention.

Redevelopment Plans Released for Harvard Square Theatre Site

Additional details for the redevelopment of Cambridge’s Harvard Square Theatre have recently been released. According to these plans, the site would boast five floors of commercial space with offices located above storefronts, a two-screen theater and an LED-enabled façade that would be utilized for art or photography displays. Purchased by investor Gerald Chan in 2015, the theater had previously been shuttered for three years.

Before Chan can move forward with the proposals, the plans need to be approved by the Cambridge Historical Commission. As part of this process, the commission will have to approve the demolition of the former theater located on the site. If Chan gains this approval, the project will then need to pass through the Cambridge Planning Board before it can move forward.

Boston City Hall Plaza to Experience Overhaul

The city of Boston is moving forward with plans to overhaul its City Hall Plaza, with the $60 million project expected to get underway later this year. To start the project, the city will begin testing the plaza’s infrastructure this fall and into the winter. Plans for the area include installing a seasonal fountain and creating tree-shaded gathering spots. The city also plans to renovate the North Side entrance, which is currently off-limits to the public, and to complete major upgrades to the building. This will include improving water access, data lines and electricity.

Major work on the project is expected to begin in 2019 and will take five years to complete. As such, the annual Boston Winter event will not take place this year. Started in 2016, the event drew 300,000 visitors last fall and winter and featured attractions such as ice-skating and food vendors. The summer version of the event, called Patios, will continue uninterrupted into the early fall.

Transportation Overhauls

Groundbreaking on the Green Line extension recently took place, with plans calling to ultimately create seven new stations. While there have been several false starts on the project in the past, the 4.7-mile run seems fare more likely to be developed this time around. The project, which involves passing through Somerville into Medford, will cost $2.3 billion to complete. Unlike past false starts, the project now has the necessary funding and the general contractor in place to complete the work. With many developments along the route and near the extension depending upon the completion of the project, it is not likely to be stalled any longer. Completion of the project is expected to be completed in late 2021.

While the Green Line extension appears to be moving forward, plans for the Seaport-to-South Station aerial gondola have hit a bump in the road. With an affiliate of developer Millennium Partners being unable to make a deal with Stavis Seafoods to co-anchor an industrial site on the South Boston waterfront, the developer has lost its right to develop the 6.8 acres controlled by the Massachusetts Port Authority. This means funds will not be available to move forward with the mass transit project.

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