Former Boston Globe Site Sold

Yesterday, the Boston Globe newspaper reported that its former newspaper property on Morrissey Boulevard:

“… officially sold Wednesday for $81 million to a partnership formed by Burlington-based developer Nordblom Co. and Boston private equity firm Alcion Ventures… Nordblom said it plans to convert the 16.5-acre site into a light industrial and office complex focused on technology and life sciences, along with restaurants, retail, and possibly a craft brewery… The Globe’s headquarters and newsroom moved in June to the Exchange Place tower at 53 State St. in downtown Boston. Its printing and distribution operations were relocated to a new facility in Taunton.”

Update: Morrissey Boulevard Redesign Project

After meeting with CSHCA representatives on November 6th, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) provided CSHCA with follow-up communication about the Morrissey Boulevard Redesign project. DCR Commissioner Roy stated in a November 7, 2017 letter (Adobe PDF; 373 K bytes):

“… DCR recognizes that Morrissey Boulevard, as a critical arterial roadway that not only services regional commuter traffic, but also local institutions, residents, and businesses, is not as welcoming as it could be to users wishing to cross it or travel along it. As we heard from your members at the meeting, with its multiple travel lanes, fast-moving traffic, large intersections, and inconsistent landscape treatments, the corridor can be difficult and intimidating to navigate… Our goal with this project is to reconstruct Morrissey Boulevard so that it is more accommodating of all modes of travel (motorist, cyclist, and pedestrian) and more of a connector — and less of a barrier — between abutting neighborhoods.”

The DCR presentation included the following “primary project goals:”

  1. Storm water and Flooding: provide storm water improvements and climate resiliency
  2. Transportation: ensure the finished project will not worsen traffic congestion or encourage more traffic from I-93. The project must accommodate all road users – when finished (i.e., motor vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles)
  3. Landscape & Urban Design: enhance parkway character and strengthen connections to recreational facilities, natural resource areas, and neighborhoods

The DCR presentation also included the following “concept features:”

  • Elevate roadyway for coastal resiliency: a) Green infrastructure and drainage improvements; b) Limit to 3 full-width closures per year (max.) from tidal flooding in 2065
  • Maintain traffic capacity throughout the corridor: a) Targeted land reductions; b) Optimized intersections
  • Design and posted speed of 30 mph (vs. 40 mph): Will undergo MassDOT approval process
  • Separate bicycle and pedestrian facilities where feasible: a) Cycle track at same grade as sidewalk; b) Combination of 1-way paths (running with road traffic) and 2-way cycletracks

The DCR presentation cited input collected from the public:

  • Corridor-Wide: reduce traffic speeds; connect neighborhoods to parks/shore; provide dedicated bicycle and pedestrian facilities; change character from highway to urban boulevard; enhance aesthetics and landscaping
  • Specific Locations: intersection operations for all users; drieway safety; additional crosswalks, U-turns, left turns; enhance/take advantage of natural features (beaches, wetlands, open space)

The presentation also contains several design images and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section with detailed answers about hot topics (e.g., the proposed land drop).  Proposed short-term improvements will focus upon the Bianculli Boulevard and Freeport Street intersections.

Persons interested in more detailed information about the project can download the full DCR presentation from the November 6th meeting (Adobe PDF; 2.2 MB), and/or visit the Morrissey Boulevard Redesign For Reconstruction site. Information is also available within the Morrissey Boulevard section of the CSHCA site.

Commissioner Roy’s letter also outlined next steps:

“As a next step in the public process, DCR will hold a fourth public meeting to present 75 percent design plans for the middle segment of the project, extending from the southern side of the Patten’s Cove culvert, which is located between Bianculli Boulevard and Old Colony Terrace, southerly to a point just south of Victory Road. The timeline for this public meeting will depend on the depth and volume of the comments received…”

Scope. Morrissey Blvd Redesign Plans. DCR. June 27.

Morrissey Boulevard Design Project Scope

Developers Of Former Boston Globe Site Submit Letter To City

According to the Dorchester Reporter:

“Developers of the former Boston Globe headquarters have submitted a letter of intent to the city’s planning agency, announcing plans for a multi-purpose building that would include area improvements to better connectivity between Columbia Point and Savin Hill.

Nordblom Co., a Burlington-based development company in the process of purchasing the 135 Morrissey Blvd. site, outlined potential uses for the 16.6-acre parcel earlier this fall. “It is expected that the building will be used for light industrial, creative office, technology, life sciences, small retail, food and beverage, and other commercial uses,” Nordblom wrote in the letter.”

Making Morrissey Boulevard All It Can And Should Be

Is Morrissey Boulevard a parkway (featuring a waterfront park with recreational activities), a highway (for commuters living outside the city), or a street (with park access for neighborhood residents)? It matters. The Livable Streets site provided a historical perspective why the highway era is over:

“During the early years of automobile ascendancy, New York’s Robert Moses perfected the strategy of using the public desire for parks as a wedge for the creation of “parkways” that were actually an early version of a regional highway system.  In Massachusetts, the Olmsted-derived Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) — previously solely focused on preserving water-shed forests, beaches, and parks — saw this as an opportunity to turn the narrow corridors between its “reservations” into a similar network of higher-capacity roads… By the 1960s, the state Highway Department was able to tap into the open spigot of federal Interstate funding and eventually usurped the MDC growth strategy… But it has only been in the past few years, as the last of the highway-focused staff fade into retirement, that the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR, the new agency into which the increasingly discredited MDC was merged in 2003) has begun exploring ways to turn its parkways and boulevards back into linear parks that allow leisurely walking, bicycling, and driving while increasing public access and enjoyment of nearby natural resources… In 1953 the MDC widened Morrissey Boulevard into a six-to-ten lane, high-volume, fast-moving highway.  But even though the creation of the Southeast Expressway (today’s I-93) in 1959 eliminated Morrissey’s role as the main gateway to the south shore, nothing was done to restore the adjacent community’s former access to the Harbor or to end the unspeakably unsafe conditions for walkers or bike riders.  This was allowed partly because Massachusetts was still ignoring its rivers and coast…”

Mayor Walsh Skeptical About Proposed Morrissey Boulevard Changes

According to the Dorchester Reporter:

“Mayor Martin Walsh has reservations about a controversial proposal by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to remove a lane on oft-jammed and oft-flooded Morrissey Boulevard as part of its ongoing redesign. The mayor was briefed by DCR officials last week on overall design plans for the boulevard that are still in the design phase and not yet funded for construction.”

Concerns focus upon potential impacts from the proposed land drop, which could force more commuter traffic onto local streets:

“DCR hopes to transform the boulevard into a urban parkway from just below Kosciuszko Circle to Neponset, eliminating a lane to add protected bike and pedestrian lanes and greenery, and shoring up the road against increasing incidents of flooding. Walsh theorized that the boulevard should have enough space to add non-automotive infrastructure without losing a lane.”

Morrissey Blvd Redesign: Deadline For Feedback Is Tomorrow

Scope. Morrissey Blvd Redesign Plans. DCR. June 27.

Morrissey Boulevard Design Project Scope

Reminder: Wednesday, July 18, is the deadline to submit feedback about the redesign plans for the Morrissey Boulevard Reconstruction project. According to the Dorchester Reporter on June 29:

“What we’re trying to do throughout the project is maintain capacity where it’s needed, at the intersections… which are typically the most constrained and challenging locations,” said Gary McNaughton, a traffic engineer with McMahon Associates. “And then in the areas where we can repurpose some of that pavement over to provide better accommodations for bikes and [pedestrians] and better landscaping features, we’re making sure we’re able to do that.”

Two of the project’s main design goals are to elevate the roadway to minimize coastal flooding, and to better connect neighborhoods to the park and shore.

The last public meeting was held June 27, when an updated 25-percent design plan was presented. According to the timeline presented in June, the DCR expects to present 75-percent design plans at an upcoming meeting in October. The DCR expects to present final design plans at a public meeting in January 2018, followed by a pre-construction final meeting in the fall of 2018.

The June 27 redesign presentation is available online (Adobe PDF). Residents can submit feedback online at the DCR website.

Former WLVI-TV Property On Morrissey Boulevard Sold

Auto-sales businessman Herb Chambers has sold the former WLVI-TV property at 75 Morrissey Boulevard for $14.5 million. According to the Dorchester Reporter:

“Chambers sold the parcel to POB CC 75 MORRISSEY LLC, a subsidiary of the Center Court, a New York-based firm that pulled out of an agreement to buy the Globe property earlier this year… Civic leaders who reviewed the new Chambers plan last summer asked that he postpone it amid uncertainty surrounding the future of the 16.5-acre Globe property next door at 135 Morrissey Blvd.

David Ridini of Center Court Properties reportedly had a deal with the Globe to purchase the site for more than $80 million. The agreement fell apart in May 2017. The newspaper’s staff relocated to new offices on State Street last week.”

Read the entire news article.

Morrissey Boulevard Redesign Meeting Today

This evening at 6:30 pm will be the Public Meeting #3 for the reconstruction of Morrissey Boulevard The meeting will be held at the Leahy Holloran Community Center.

The Department of Conservation & Recreation announced:

“PUBLIC MEETING #3
Morrissey Boulevard Redesign for Reconstruction
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Leahy Holloran Community Center

1 Worrell Street, Dorchester, MA 02122

At this public meeting, DCR will present, and obtain feedback on, 25% design plans for reconstruction of Morrissey Boulevard. These plans will address the full length of the project. The presentation will be viewable after the meeting on DCR’s website at

http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/public-outreach/public-meetings/. The public will be invited to submit comments after the public meeting, with a deadline for receipt by DCR of of Tuesday, July 18, 2017.

Comments may be submitted online at http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/public-outreach/submit-public-comments/ or by writing to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Office of Public Outreach, 251 Causeway Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02114.”