A little over one month after the community and some elected officials rose up to defeat a proposed text amendment regarding building height at the Boston Zoning Commission, Hood Park has filed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) for a building that is twice the current height limit.
Tradmark Partners filed the document late last week for its client, Hood Park, and explained that it was proposing a 13-story, 230-foot office building for existing Hood Park tenants like Indigo Agriculture, as well as new tenants. The building has been described several times as the world headquarters for Indigo, which also has a location in Memphis and was founded in Cambridge.
The filing will be somewhat controversial as the proposed building is double the size of what is currently allowed within their Planned Development Area (PDA), that being 115 feet. However, Hood said it hoped that the submission and the process within the BPDA would be the beginning of a conversation about changing the plan for the office park.
“The Hood Park development team understands that the proposed project of 230 feet in height exceeds the currently zoned limit of 115’ of height at Charlestown PDAs,” it read. “The development team proposes an engagement period with the community during which a dialogue about planning, zoning, community priorities, and development goals for the West Rutherford area of Charlestown can be discussed and assessed by the entire community, relative to the opportunities presented by modifying this limit as part of a larger contextual dialogue about planning and development.”
The LOI went on to say later that it wished to discuss changes to its 2000 Master Plan so it could remain competitive with places like Assembly Row, Cambridge Crossing and Bulfinch Triangle.
“Hood Park believes that to fulfill the stated goal in the Boston 2030 plan of being a job creation center and encouraging existing and new business to located at Hood Park and increase employment on campus, the built environment at Hood Park must be economically and environmentally competitive with proximate development on both sides of Route 93 within the northern corridor of Boston,” read the LOI, noting that the company wanted to reassess the appropriate massing and height of projects on the campus.
The LOI did specify that despite the height change, the density of the project has not changed, and that the taller building is on the western edge of campus as far away from mainland Charlestown as possible.
“It is also worth noting that all proposed additional height is located on the western third of Hood Campus, closer to Route 93…,” it read. “We look forward to showing how reorganization of the currently allowed density into taller, but more efficient structures, strategically located on campus, will benefit the community of Charlestown and the City of Boston by creating additional open space, allowing for greater energy efficiency and resiliency at Hood Park…”
The nuts and bolts of the proposal – which is officially titled 10 Stack Street – includes 450,000 sq. ft. of building with 10,000 sq. ft. being for ground floor retail. The remaining 440,000 sq. ft. would be used for office and laboratory functions. It will include two levels of below grade parking accommodating up to 150 parking spaces. There will be a ground level lobby and significant outdoor plaza and patio areas open to the public.
In addition to the proposed building, and the conversation about height, Hood mentioned in the LOI it wants to also address the following changes as well.
- Reorganization of the urban design plan including new street, sidewalk and bike path configurations which anticipate the reconfiguration of Rutherford Avenue, Spice and D Streets and creation of a network of complete streets throughout the Hood campus, connecting to the existing Charlestown neighborhood and providing for future connections to additional areas in the West Rutherford portion of Charlestown.
- Reallocation of the uses and proposed development pads in the 2000 Master Plan by the replacement of inefficient stand-alone parking structures located on Rutherford Avenue with residential uses, open spaces and more efficient parking plates integrated into mixed-use structures.
- Creation of a robust sustainable and resilient development strategy incorporating elevation of the 20-acre Hood Park campus to above the flood elevation datum of 20’-0” (Boston Base Elevation), creation of water retention ponds and ground water recharge structures, incorporation of PV and sustainable energy management systems, and establishment of a minimum standard of LEED Silver Certification or greater for all future planned development projects.
- Reorganization of the proposed plan to encourage and prioritize pedestrian and bicycle access, creation of direct and improved pedestrian connections to Spice Street and the MBTA Sullivan Station subway and bus hub, connection to the proposed Rutherford Avenue bike and pedestrian path proposed as part of the reconfiguration of Rutherford Avenue and design and funding of the at-grade intersection at Rutherford Avenue and Hood Park Drive creating direct, signalized pedestrian and bike crosswalks to the Charlestown neighborhood.
Trademark said Hood would file documents for the new building no later than September and would look forward to working with the community and the appointed Impact Advisory Group (IAG).