Update: Proposed Development Plans For The Former Boston Globe Site

135 Morrissey Development and atriumEarlier this week, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) released a detailed Project Notification Form (Adobe PDF; 247 pages) about the proposed changes for the former Boston Globe site. The project has a new name: “135 Morrissey Project.”

View of current 135 Morrissey Boulevard site from I-93 ExpresswayExcerpts from the 247 page document appear below. First, a general project description and features of the current site:

“… a comprehensive revitalization and re-tenanting of the former Boston Globe building at 135 Morrissey Boulevard, in Boston (Dorchester), Massachusetts. This Project, hereafter referred to as the 135 Morrissey Project, entails a core and shell renovation within the existing massing of the building designed to attract creative office, technology, light manufacturing, warehouse and life science tenants, with ancillary retail, as well as landscaping improvements… the property is located between Morrissey Boulevard to the east and the Southeast Expressway to the west, and is bound to the north by an industrial lot and to the south by Patten’s Cove and the north side of the Savin Hill residential neighborhood. The site is approximately 16.6 acres… There is currently open-air covered parking at the ground floor under the office space at the north end of the building, and open roof top parking on the second floor of the western side of the building, accessed by a ramp running parallel to the Southeast Expressway. This parking area, combined with the large parking lot at the south end of the site, currently contains approximately 868 parking spaces… The southeast portion of the site abuts Patten’s Cove park, an approximately 9.6-acre park bordering a tidal creek associated with Savin Hill Cove. The park is maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and includes open, mowed lawns and treed areas, with bluestone and paved pathways running through and along the borders of the Park and connecting directly to the Savin Hill neighborhood via Davitt Street. The southwest corner of the site abuts the termini of three cul-de-sacs of the Savin Hill neighborhood, the middle of which, Wave Avenue, includes a gated emergency entrance to the Project site…”

135 Morrissey Project. Allocation of interior spaceThe document contains floor space allocations for various users. See the image on the right. Building improvements proposed:

“… will cater to an assumed mix of users with an occupancy assumed to be approximately 50 percent office (business) use and 50 percent light industrial (factory) or warehouse (storage) uses. These will be supported with a range of public assembly spaces, including a food hall and related seating areas, larger meeting rooms, and coffee vendors… As suggested therein, the Proponent hopes to attract a brew pub or restaurant tenant and a fitness center, which would serve the building tenants and the neighborhood… in place of the existing multi-level printing presses, will be a new entrance and multi-story atrium space, serving as a central gathering and circulation area… The atrium space is intended to be the active hub of the building, containing a food hall and seating, and collaborative meeting and gathering spaces for the building’s users… In addition to the new main entry on Morrissey Boulevard, there will be a new west entry to the main parking area, a new connection to the north courtyard, and smaller tenant access entries from additional parking lots on the ground floor and second floor roof…”

The interior changes proposed:

“… a comprehensive replacement of the entire mechanical systems with new, quieter, and more efficient equipment, and generally reduce the variability of the roof top equipment. The Proponent will continue to evaluate the potential for roof-mounted solar (PV) systems, and the availability of grants and renewables funding. The feasibility of installing PV systems will depend on the incentives at the time of construction… the footprint and massing of the building will not be increased. Rather, the Project will enclose space on the ground floor at the southeast corner of the building previously used as both interior and exterior covered loading areas, all of which is located under the building’s existing second floor overhangs. This will result in increased usable floor space, but will not increase the footprint or massing of the building.”

135 Morrissey Project. Southern viewChanges regarding the exteriors:

” The existing water tank will remain as an artifact of the former use, and as an art feature that also acts as an identifier for the building. The open space adjacent to this western building entry will be developed as a pedestrian zone, with an entry plaza, outdoor seating for the brewery/restaurant, a public lawn area for both passive and active recreational activities, and multiple seating areas around the terrace and water tank. Meanwhile, new improved and accessible site connections will be provided to the adjacent Patten’s Cove park… a new multi-use pathway will be created so as to connect to the Savin Hill neighborhood. A green buffer is being proposed for the site edge at Savin Hill, with extensive new trees and plantings throughout the parking area… a landscaped courtyard and building entry located at the northern end of the building will serve as both an outdoor amenity for the tenants and a future connection to MBTA JFK/UMass Red Line/South Shore Commuter Rail Station…”

Regarding site access and connectivity to the local neighborhood:

“… the Proponent is in discussions with the DCR regarding the potential for an ongoing stewardship role for maintenance and oversight of the Patten’s Cove park. This would include an initial cleanup of the park, and removal of the chain link fences that currently separate the park and property. The goal will be to make the park more accessible for the neighbors of Savin Hill and the community, as well as for the new building tenants… portions of the existing parking lot at the southerly edge of the site, adjacent to Savin Hill Court, Wave Avenue, and Sea View Terrace will be replaced by landscaped open space. While the existing middle of three vehicle driveway entrances on Morrissey Boulevard will be eliminated, the other two entrances at the north and south ends of the property will remain unchanged. Additional vehicle access locations are not planned…”

The document listed several benefits for the City of Boston and the neighborhood:

  • “Building preservation and design enhancements through a comprehensive core and shell renovation;
  • Building landscape improvements designed to increase greenspace and accessibility;
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifiability;
  • Public pedestrian accessway and open space improvements;
  • Consistency with smart growth goals of building reuse and transit oriented development;
  • Approximately 650 construction jobs and space for approximately 3,120 permanent jobs in the creative office, light industrial, life science, restaurant, and retail components;
  • New tax payments to the City of Boston in the form of enhanced Property Tax, Sales Tax, and Meals Tax, and;
  • Payments, or equivalent in-kind contributions, to create affordable housing and job-training programs in accordance with Section 80B-7 of the Code.”

The proposed landscape:135 Morrissey Project. Proposed landscape

Feedback about this project must be submitted in writing to the BPDA. Written comments from city departments, public agencies, elected officials, and the general public should be submitted to Raul Duverge by March 2, 2018 via email at Raul(dot)Duverge(at)Boston(dot)gov or via postal mail:
Raul Duverge
Senior Project Manager
Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA)
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201