Here’s an odd but intriguing idea being floated around: Building a private new “twin” toll bridge to and from the Cape Cod, presumably next to the Sagamore Bridge.
Or at least that’s the way we read the story. Only those willing to pay could theoretically use the bridge.
It’s probably not going to happen. The DOT commissioner certainly doesn’t seem excited, calling it pure speculation (we’re surprised he didn’t slip and use the word “fantasy”).
So it may be a true Bridge to Nowhere, conceptually speaking.
Still, once upon a time, there were indeed private road and bridges that builders charged tolls to use. The idea is worth exploring, at the least theoretically. The idea would then simply slip away, sort of how we hope another costly fantasy, i.e. a future Boston Olympics, will simply disappear one day soon too.
Photo via Wikipedia Commons.
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Inventory, inventory, inventory. Or lack thereof.
That’s the ‘biggest impediment’ to to the local housing market, experts say.
And, oh, truly crappy weather is an impediment too, though this weekend isn’t going to be bad, or so say the alleged weather experts.
File under: No kidding.
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The developer of the $1.6 billion Quincy Center redevelopment project, which has stalled amid financial uncertainties, has been issued an ultimatum by the city: Build or the development agreement is terminated.
Or so says the city.
The reality, though, is that Quincy is now in a fine pickle. What does the city expect? The developer to simply hand over the rights to another developer — as if there’s a scroll of paper, rolled and tied up with a nice red ribbon, that can be handed off to someone else?
Good lord. Think of all the tangled legal and financial obligations that come with getting rid of one developer and getting another to assume the mess down in Quincy. It’ll take months, if not years, to sort out.
But the point here is really: Beware of grandiose government re-development projects to transform entire districts or neighborhoods. When they succeed, they succeed. When they fail, they fail. And they usually fail, at least at first.
The problem is that there’s almost no way for a government, and a single developer, to truly know what the public will want in the future when it comes to tying together multiple numbers of properties. It’s better to guide, not dictate, development plans, letting a certain amount of organic growth to occur and remaining flexible to market changes.
That’s exactly what has happened in the Seaport area. The real development of the area began decades ago with Fidelity’s visionary move to redevelop the World Trade Center and start building in the area. Then came the US Courthouse, followed by the new Convention Center and … you know the rest of the story.
Quincy’s downtown definitely needed work — and major infrastructure improvements — before it could truly take off and serve as a development release valve to Boston.
So maybe Quincy’s downtown plan isn’t/wasn’t too much of a pipe dream. Maybe it will turn out similar to the Big Pit fiasco at the old Filene’s site, when one developer crashed and burned and another had to be brought in to rescue the project (though we’re talking about one parcel of land at the old Filene’s site, not multiple-square blocks like Quincy’s project — see sketch above).
Maybe, maybe, maybe …
Visionary Delusional Planning
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There’s a little room here for John Henry, the new owner of the Boston Globe, to still downplay, clarify or backtrack from his comments. But Boston magazine’s quote from Henry sure sounds like he’s made up his mind about moving the newspaper out of its current location on Morrissey Boulevard to somewhere else.
The Herald makes the move sound even more definitive and imminent.
Either way, the news is not too shocking. Henry, also the owner of the Red Sox, has openly talked of possibly moving the Globe and redeveloping the current 16-acre site (hopefully into condos, please).
In a way, Henry would be crazy not to move the Globe. That property is worth tens of millions of dollars for potential redevelopment – and, assuming that money is plowed back into the Globe, it would provide some financial breathing room for the paper.
Hey, the Herald moved out of its long-time Harrison Avenue headquarters a few years ago, ironically outsourcing its printing today to the Globe. The Boston Business Journal also rents offices for its newsroom and other non-print operations in the Financial District, outsourcing its printing to other companies.
The big potential problem for the Globe would be: Where would it print its paper? How many printing presses are there left in the area to print a still relatively large daily newspaper? Would it keep the printing plant at its current location for the time being while developing the rest of the property? And what happens to the Herald if the Globe outsources its printing elsewhere? Where would it be printed?
File under: Questions, questions, questions
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It’s all yours for $925,000.
And, actually, it looks kind of cool.
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Hot (sort of) off the presses:
The controversial owner of Daisy Buchanan’s, the longtime Newbury Street bar, and the shuttered Ciao Bello restaurant, is facing a possible foreclosure auction on the adjoining Back Bay buildings where the two eateries are located.
Daniel P. McLaughlin & Co. has scheduled the on-site auction for Thursday, March 6 at 10 a.m. for 39-41 Fairfield St. and 240A Newbury St. The adjoining properties are assessed at $3.25 million.
A lawyer for the owner was predicting that a settlement would be reached and an auction avoided. More here.
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We had to blink a few times when we read this article in which representatives of major new Seaport apartment towers openly talk about how they’re trying to cooperatively keep rents as high as possible. From the article:
Every week the property managers of the big new Hub apartment complexes share information on leases signed, concessions and occupancy rates.
“We have a rule that we never run down our competition,” said Jackie Chancholo, Waterside’s property manager, who works for the Bozzuto Group, which manages the Park Lane Seaport across the street (where she previously worked), Kensington and other competing properties. “You want to build relationships so that people from other buildings share information with you, which is in everyone’s best interest. We keep it a friendly competition.”
We guess there’s nothing wrong here per se. It’s done all the time. But what’s not done is it being openly discussed in public and in the media.
Competition Friendly competition
Design sketch above is of Waterside Place, which is mentioned in the story.
P.S. — Sooner or later, the dam is probably going to break on apartment builders, friendly competition or not.
Read other posts about: Boston apartment rents, Seaport Boston real estate
Some members of the Back Bay’s Trinity Church are expressing dissension with the church’s recent $3.6 million purchase, as previously noted, of a Beacon Hill abode for its rector.
File under: Buyer’s remorse
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With a major snowstorm arriving today, maybe it’s not the most appropriate time to be thinking of summer and swimming. But:
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has affirmed its willingness to reopen the Lee Memorial Wading Pool on the Charles River Esplanade, but more than 15 years after the facility’s closure, the timeline for this remains uncertain.
“DCR has been meeting with various groups and associations dedicated to promoting use and beautification of the Charlesbank area at their request to listen to their potential ideas for the Lee Pool area,” DCR Acting Press Secretary Bill Hickey wrote in an e-mail to the Times. “As a matter of practice with large-scale, impactful projects, DCR engages in a full public process.”
File under: We’ll believe it when we see it.
Btw: The state lists Lee’s wading pool hours here, where we also got the photo. … Now back to our lovely snowstorm.
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Mayor Marty Walsh’s new economic director, John Barros, says he favors later night hours for Hub businesses, i.e. bars and restaurants.
Barros, who we believe is or was a part owner of a restaurant, seems to understand that the city’s old closing hours are just too, well, old fashioned, with many establishments giving last call around 12:30 a.m.
The general plan, which we assume is backed by Walsh, has no details yet.
But assuming it runs into opposition, let’s put forth a few compromise suggestions:
1.) At the least, extend hours on weekends to about 3 a.m., or maybe Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
2.) Target specific neighborhoods with, ideally, a minimal residential component, although some high-profile neighborhoods with a heavy residential tilt, such as the Back Bay, will have to put up with later hours.
3.) Definitely apply the new hours to hotels.
File under: Cheers!
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