Hood Park to Talk New Campus Proposal, Major Community Input Saturday

June 21, 2018
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From new office buildings, to water falls at the stack, hotels to a two-acre green space, Hood Park is coming to the community this summer – beginning on Saturday morning, June 23 – to share some ideas for their revised campus and to listen to the community’s thoughts.

The summer-long exercise will happen through a series of informal planning open houses that will start this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at Hood in the Cambridge College Commons.

Some of the new ideas for the campus include a two-acre greenspace front Rutherford Avenue, a hotel on campus, a creative stormwater system that will filter rain with an outdoor waterfall and charcoal purifier next to the Hood stack, and – as has been the most high-profile piece – additional height on the buildings.

Currently, the Hood Campus is approved for a suburban-style office park with surface lots and parking garages, but owners have recently found that office tenants want something different than their current plan – which was ok’d in 2000. In fact, they want taller buildings with more green space and parking underneath. By re-locating the parking under the buildings, making the buildings higher and eliminating the garages front Rutherford Avenue, Hood believes it can create a great space for the tenants and the community.

“This won’t mean any additional density or any more traffic than what we already have approved,” said Mark Rosenshein of Trademark Partners. “It’s a question of additional height and stacking it differently to allow more open space. Would people support that? Right now, we can do a boring office park, but we think there’s a better solution. This is the beginning of a process. We filed our Letter of Intent already with the City, but we’re not doing any further City reviews until the fall.”

He said they would likely begin the City process in September or October.

On Saturday, they will have four work stations for residents to review. They will include Open Space, mitigation for the current proposals – including a maker space/educational space for the youth of Charlestown, preferences for the retail aspect and the street layout (including new layouts for Baldwin, Mishawum, D and Spice Streets).

“All of these things we’re looking at as part of the revised Master Plan,” he said. “We’re really hoping to get Charlestown to participate on Saturday and get as much feedback as possible so when we prepare a revised Master Plan we can get as much community input within that plan as possible.”

One of the new highlights includes the Hood Green, a two-acre parcel that will be privately owned, open to the community and maintained by Hood “in perpetuity.”

Rosenshein said that open space could be anything the community wants, from field space to a Southie-style ‘Lawn on D’ programmed space. He said Hood is interested in studying how that space will fit in with other nearby open space like Ryan Field and the upcoming Parcel A open space on Sullivan Square.

“Lawn on D is a good example of open space with active programming,” he said. “Maybe the community says they would like something like that. There are things we can do at Hood Park that can’t be done (as easily) in a public park like having Food Trucks or a beer garden. We’d like to know what kind of open space people see there and what the possibilities are.”

Another interesting piece is the proposed, large educational space within the campus for young people. Already, they have had some preliminary conversations with the Charlestown Mothers Association (CMA) about that piece of mitigation – which would be in exchange for a larger building on the new Stack Street.

There will also be heavy input requested from the community regarding what kind of retail they desire for the 100,000 sq. ft. that is proposed. Rosenshein said there are probably plenty of nail salons in the Town, and they’d like to find out what other retail offerings would be preferable to residents that would shop at Hood.

Finally, the proposed hotel is something that they would like to talk about. At this point, there is no firm plan for it, but Rosenshein said there is heavy demand for hotel rooms in Charlestown and in all of the areas north of downtown.

“Whether near-term or long-term, we think a hotel is a good additional use,” he said. “Right now, the Marriott or Constitution are it…It will be nice to have an additional hotel.”

The meeting will include breakfast and coffee, and there will be childcare as well with activities for the kids so parents can take their time reviewing the plans.