New Developments Coming to Boston Face Controversy

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A number of developments are underway in Washington, but some are not without their controversy. Here is a look at a few of the area’s upcoming developments.

Marine Wharf Hotel Coming to South Boston/Seaport District Waterfront

The Boston Planning & Development Agency has approved the construction of a hotel complex at 660 Summer Street near the South Boston/Seaport District waterfront. The 15-story, 411-room Marine Wharf Hotel will be two inns combined into one. These will include the 245-room Hampton Inn and the 166-room Homewood Suites. The complex will also feature 3,500-square-feet of ground-floor retail space along with 19,300 square feet of amenities, including an indoor pool, a fitness center and a 500-seat restaurant. Construction on the project, which is expected to take two years to complete, will start in the middle of next year.

Red Sox Join in Opposition to Proposed Fenway Tower

A proposed 340-foot tower at 2 Charlesgate West in Fenway has been experiencing a great deal of opposition, with the Red Sox recently joining in on the debate. Despite the fact that the tower will be nearly 1,000 feet from the ballpark, the franchise is concerned that the tower will interfere with fan’s views of Fenway Park while significantly transforming the “iconic views” of the city skyline that fans currently enjoy.

This is not the first time the building’s developer, Trans National, has encountered problems with the development process. Others have expressed concern about the building’s potential shadow as well as its effects on wind. If completed as planned, the 344,000-square-foot tower would replace the three buildings that are currently located on the half-acre site. The 29-story tower would include 122 condos, 173 apartments and 7,500-square-feet of office space. There are also plans for a 10,000-square-foot restaurant and nearly 200 parking spaces at the site.

Winthrop Square Tower Development Faces Opposition

The proposed Winthrop Square tower, which would be the tallest residential building in Boston upon completion, is facing opposition due to concerns regarding the shadows the building will cast. The proposed 55-story, 750-foot project, which will be built where the city-owned Winthrop Square Garage is currently located, has the potential to cast shadows over the Public Garden and the Common. Such shadows lasting more than 60 minutes per day are not allowed under state law.

According to the Boston Planning & Development Agency and the developers of the project, the current plans will cast shadows for as long as 90 minutes in the morning during certain times of the year. These shadows will likely reach as far as the edge of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, which is around three-quarters of a mile away. Therefore, the tower as currently imagined may require major legal changes at the state and city level before it can move forward. Changes to the tower’s design may not be feasible, however, because it needs to be a certain size with a certain number of condos in order to be financially worthwhile for the developers. Another option would be to make some changes to the shadow law, but that process could take months to complete and may not be successful. If the issue cannot be resolved, the city faces the prospect of having to give the $10 million deposit back to Millennium.

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