By Michael Coughlin Jr.
Last week, during a public meeting hosted by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), 60 Cambridge Development LLC, the proponent of a proposed project at 60-66 Cambridge Street, presented plans to redevelop the site, which includes over 800,000 square feet of life science, office, research, and development space.
As part of this project, the proponent, which is comprised of Owens Companies, Inc. and the Fallon Company, is looking to revamp the current site that contains “warehouse, parking, and vehicle storage uses, an Eversource/MBTA electrical substation structure, and an MBTA spur track,” according to the project’s Draft Project Impact Report (DPIR).
The proponent proposes providing a significant amount of space for life science, office, research, and development mentioned above by constructing two buildings.
One building, dubbed 66 Cambridge North, is slated to be 11 stories and stand 222 feet tall. Moreover, it will contain 429,900 square feet of life science, office, research, and development space, along with 6,000 square feet of retail space.
The other building — 66 Cambridge South — is proposed to be 13 stories and stand 252 feet tall. Further, this building will contain 372,900 square feet of life science, office, research, and development space and 4,000 square feet of retail space.
Regarding other aspects of the project, 23% of the site, or 41,000 square feet, is planned to be publicly accessible open space. Also, the parking plan for the site includes a 0.6/1,000 square feet ratio.
In addition to these aforementioned aspects of the project, there are also plans for a plethora of community benefits, which Danny Guadagnoli of the Fallon Company walked through.
For example, the development will house a Cambridge-based non-profit’s — Just a Start — Biomedical Careers Training program.
“Very excited about that. It’s a nine-month program; equips people for skills and coaching and resources to get jobs in the life science field, which we know is much needed, and we think there’s great synergies with the use of these buildings,” said Guadagnoli.
Another benefit that Guadagnoli cited as one of the biggest improvements to the area is a connection between Hood Park and the Sullivan Square MBTA station.
“It’s really going to make walking to Sullivan Square Station a lot more safer, enjoyable experience,” said Guadagnoli.
Other benefits include numerous off-site improvements, including the paving of D Street, adding sidewalks, street trees, and much more.
Resilience and sustainability are also important aspects of the community benefits that come with the project. Some important details to note are that the project is designed to achieve LEED Gold, 25% of parking spaces will be electric vehicle (EV) spaces, and much more.
As the presentation continued, the proponents took the time to respond to some of the feedback they had received from previous iterations of the proposal.
One point of feedback was ensuring the ground floor space not only complimented the public realm but was welcoming for everyone.
In response, Joseph Mamayek of SGA, one of the project architects, walked through some of the programming for the site, which, as mentioned, includes retail space, a public gallery, and much more.
Mamayek also spoke at length about other updates to the project to respond to the item of feedback, which included limiting stairs and much more.
Another item of feedback the proponents received dealt with increasing greenery and accessibility for pedestrians and bikers at the site.
Specifically, Andrea Varutti of Landworks Studio, the project’s landscape architect, talked about eliminating most of the stairs and substituting slopes, a 76% increase in green space, and improved bike and pedestrian accommodations through features like a shared path.
The final piece of feedback that was addressed was the desire for parking and transportation optimization in order to have a transit-oriented site.
Guadagnoli cited some aspects of the project that had been covered previously in the meeting, such as the connection from Hood Park to the Sullivan Square MBTA station and the parking ratio, to respond to the feedback. He also pointed to a contribution being made to a neighborhood shuttle service.
Following the proponents’ presentation, there was an opportunity for attendees to share their comments and ask questions. Overall, the sentiment from those in attendance seemed to be positive.
“I live in the Lost Village, and, you know, I walk by that site every day, and I think it’s going to be a great addition to the neighborhood,” said an attendee.
“I’d like to first state my support for the Owens Family and the Fallon Company for this fantastic project, and I’d like to applaud the beauty of the building. I mean, what they call the Lost Village, I think, will no longer be lost if this building is built,” said another attendee.
While there seemed to be support for the project, there were still some questions and concerns.
For example, one attendee had asked about accessibility for those who use wheelchairs. Additionally, multiple attendees had some concerns about the height of the buildings due to the potential blocking of light and their stature compared to the Bunker Hill Monument.
As for the next steps in the process, the comment periods for the proposal’s DPIR and Planned Development Area (PDA) Development Plan are set to close on January 22nd.
To leave comments about the project and to learn more about it, visit https://www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/66-cambridge-street.