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So, last night I attended a public forum on the new Seaport Square development, proposed for the Seaport District / South Boston Waterfront, near the Northern Ave Bridge, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, and Institute for Contemporary Art.

Project is a total of 6.5 million square feet – 2.65 million of residential space including 2,500 units of housing (apartments, condos), 1.25 million square feet of office space, 500,000 square feet of hotel space (700 “keys”), and 600,000 square feet of cultural & educational space (they are proposing a school).

They plan on building three buildings, at first. Closest to Northern Ave bridge, from what I believe they said. A residential building, mid-rise office tower, and I don’t know the third – I would assume a hotel. Diane Keliher (I believe, also a real estate agent) asked a question. She lives at Channel Center. She wanted to know if the developer would be building residential, first. (Of course she would want to know this, because down where she lives, the (different) developer promised a whole new neighborhood, and then pulled the plug, after the first building (two, really) was built. Now they live in a vast wasteland a neighborhood in transition.)

John Hynes & Co. explained that their plan depended on each element being built at the same time – office, hotel, retail, and residential. One can’t be successful without the other. Don’t know if that’s true, but they’re the experts.

They hope to break ground at the end of the year. They do not have any permits or anything at this point, however. The BRA representative said something along the lines of, “Well, if we’re not going to get any opposition, we should be able to move right along.”

Their next meeting is in two weeks, in South Boston. The topic is traffic, which will undoubtedly be a bit more contentious.

Oh, once they have the first three buildings in the ground, they would plan on building the massive parking garage. It will be under a lot of the buildings, basically from the Harbor to Summer Street (well, a bit of an exaggeration, perhaps). I guess, continuous?

Currently, there are 3,700 parking spaces. They will add 800 to that total, for retail / hotel / office workers, and have 2,000 (more) for residents.

Two attendees’ comments stand out. Details and a bunch of photos of the new neighborhood, after the jump.

The first guy to talk was from South Boston. His name is Jay Hurley? He said he was third generation South Boston. Is he related to “Wacko” Hurley? No, seriously.

He gave a very impassioned speech supporting the project, mostly for the benefits to be had by union ironworkers, etc. He said, “I probably couldn’t afford to live there, but that’s not what’s important.” He said a lot of other stuff which, of course, I totally supported.

I think his comments kind of quieted the crowd down – no one spoke up against anything. It was well-attended, but I didn’t get the feeling that anyone there was against it.

The other person to comment was Vivien Li, head of the Boston Harbor Association.

She stood up and said that she noticed that there seemed to be a lot of density in the parcel around where the Barking Crab and Courthouse were located. Then she suggested, I think, “Also, the way that one building is situated – we’d like you to turn it around.”

She also asked about the number of parking spaces included in the proposal, suggesting that the less number of spaces, the better.

I figured there was no sense keeping quiet, so I raised my hand and basically asked, “Don’t you really need MORE parking, not less?”

Interesting point – One Lincoln Center, according to Mr Hynes, has 1 million square feet of space, in one building. The entire Seaport Square development will have 1.25 million square feet of office space, spread across multiple buildings. And, One Lincoln Center has 5,000 employees, so to interpolate, Seaport Square would have 6,250 workers.

So, on that basis, it really doesn’t seem very dense. Some of the buildings are as high as 140′. Don’t know the breakdown, and, of course, it’s all subject to change.

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