The following information was provided by Boylston Properties:
Boylston Properties will hold Community Meeting #2 to review and update the community on the status of Building G located within Arsenal Yards. The purpose of this meeting will be to present and discuss a change in use for the building from Residential to Office/Lab. Building G, as proposed would contain approximately 140,000 SF of Lab space (a decrease of approximately 31,500 GSF from the approved building included in the MPSP) plus an additional 50+/- below grade parking spaces under the building G footprint.
Discussion will include the overall massing, proposed design of the building, public access, and the buildings location relative to the Charles River, Arsenal Park and Building F.
WHEN: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Watertown Marriott Residence Inn – 1st Floor Conference Room – 570 Arsenal St. If you have any questions please contact the petitioner: Andrew Copelotti at Boylston Properties,(617) 262-4646 x 112
A rendering of what a 197-foot-tall residential tower could look like at Arsenal Yards. Developers would have needed a zoning change to allow it to be more than 130 feet tall. The requested zoning amendment, however, has been withdrawn. Boylston Properties, the developer of Arsenal Yards, has withdrawn its request to build a tower taller than is currently allowed by Watertown’s zoning rules. Developers had submitted a request to the Town to increase allowable height in the Regional Mixed Use District (RMUD) — where the mall is located — from 130 feet to 197 feet.
The developers of Arsenal Yards have submitted an alternative amendment for increased height for the planned residential tower on the former Arsenal Mall property.
The original proposal called for increasing the allowable height from 130 feet to 197 feet (an increase of 67 feet) for Building G in the Arsenal Yards development. The additional height would allow the condominium building to be 18 stories tall, instead of 12, but would have the same number of units. Also, the footprint of the building would be reduced. The original proposed change to Watertown’s zoning ordinance would apply to properties at least 10 acres in size located anywhere in the Regional Mixed Use District (RMUD), which includes the properties where both malls are located, along with some property along parts of Arsenal Street, Coolidge Avenue, Elm Street and Arlington Street. The alterations proposed by Boylston Properties would ask for the same height increase, but limit it to the areas south of Arsenal Street.
The Watertown Department of Community Development and Planning sent out notice of the postponement of the proposed amendment to allow additional height in the Regional Mixed Use District. The amendment was submitted by Boylston Properties, the developer of Arsenal Yards. The following is the announcement from the Town:
The RMUD Zoning Amendment for height will not be heard at the Planning Board meeting on August 8. The petitioner has requested that the request be continued until September 12, 2018 Planning Board Hearing. Please spread the word that the request will not be discussed at the August meeting. Read more here:
I am writing in response to Mr. Bockian’s open letter regarding the proposed zoning amendment at Arsenal Yards. I agree with Mr. Bockian that maintaining the integrity of Watertown’s Planning Board is extremely important. However, I don’t believe that BP’s [Boylston Properties] proposed zoning amendment constitutes a threat to local governance, and nor do I believe that the proposed increase in height constitutes a threat to the Watertown community.
Mr. Bockian writes that the zoning debate has been “reopened quickly and opportunistically.” In fact, the RMUD zoning has been in place for over two years, and when it was initially approved BP stated publicly that they had accepted the zoning as a compromise and planned to reconsider it further along the line. Legislators across our nation use this tactic to make timely progress on issues while looking ahead to future achievements. For instance, Massachusetts legalized “civil union” partnerships as a compromise before finally legalizing gay marriage a few years later.
We read Jon Bockian’s letter in the Watertown News and want to take exception to several of his comments as he doesn’t speak for ALL Watertown residents. First and foremost, the proposed changes Boylston Properties is making to the Building G plan are very beneficial to the overall development, increasing open space and providing better access to the Park.
Mr. Bockian further states that one option Boylston has is to reduce the footprint and keep the height at 130 feet. He knows that this is impossible as Boylston was very clear that reducing the footprint in exchange for height needs to be done for economic reasons, they need to build 188,000 SF. Mr. Bockian also avoids speaking in terms of affordable housing, which would be severely impacted by the overall reduction in SF and thus unit count. Losing affordable units should not be an option.
I can understand that a Planning Board or Town Council member might be tempted to say, there’s no harm in approving Boylston Properties’ (BP) proposed zoning amendment which would allow BP and other developers to ask for one or more 197-foot buildings. The officials might say, approving the height amendment doesn’t approve any specific building, we can decide about a specific building at a later time, when we see plans, etc. I disagree there is no good reason to amend the zoning, on the contrary there are good reasons to reject their proposal, and there is harm in changing the ordinance. At BP’s request, the Town changed its zoning two years ago to meet almost all of BP’s needs at Arsenal Yards except BP’s proposal that there be no limit how tall a building the Planning Board could approve. After lengthy and at times heated debate a compromise was reached to allow 130 feet, taller than is allowed in any other part of town.
At its next meeting the Planning Board will hear arguments from the developers of Arsenal Yards about their requested amendment to increase the allowable height in the area to 197 feet. The proposed amendment to the Regional Mixed Use District (RMUD) section of the Zoning Ordinance would increase the maximum height by 67 feet over the currently allowed 130 feet. The maximum height is allowed if a parcel is 10 acres or more. The Planning Board will discuss the amendment on July 11, 2018 at the meeting that begins at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. The item is comes after two other cases.