Hood Park Meetings Resume With Look at Building Design

After a break for the holidays, the Hood Park topic-focused review meetings began last Weds., Jan. 9, a the Mishawum Community Center, where representatives spoke in particular about the building on Stack Street that will eventually house the expansion of the Indigo company.

Mark Rosenshein, of Trademark Partners, told the audience that they are focusing on the 10 Stack Street design at the moment and plan to use it as one of many different designs throughout the overall campus plan – which includes several other buildings.

“Any conversation of Hood Park starts with the smokestack of the existing Hood Plant,” said designer Mark Spaulding. “It’s been a transformative element over time…The plan is to maintain that feeling and make it enter into a new era.”

The new building would surround the smokestack and would be just about the same height, using a new screening material to block off the mechanical elements on top of the building. The total height would be 230 feet, with the last occupied floor at 187 feet.

A key element of the design, Spaulding said, was integrating the first floor with the street.

“Ground level transparency will be a feature throughout the design,” he said. “The goal is to have 70 percent transparent environment as you walk through the space. You want to see inside the building so it works with the environment. You don’t want the building to turn its back on the outside…The goal is to provide visual info to the people outside.”

As he said, that will be a characteristic throughout the proposed Master Plan, including the new parking garage being constructed next door – which has retail features on the first floor.

The design on the building is not all glass, but a 50-50 mix of glass and metal screening on the outside. A unique feature is that the building will have several different angles, rotating it a bit so that there are several faces and not one large box going into the air from the street.

The inside would feature a first floor retail element, and a second floor balcony that overlooks the new green space amphitheatre suggested between the new garage and this building.

It’s a building they hope will be the frame of reference, as new buildings won’t be built within the plan for many years down the road.

“It’s a referential piece because for some time it will be the tallest building in the area,” he added.

Rosenshein said while other parts of the plan are phased in years to come, this building cannot come fast enough. He is hopeful that they could begin construction in July or August, spending 18 months on the shell and core. That would mean the shell and core could be done by 2020, and then Indigo – the anchor tenant – would move in to fit it out for its uses. That would take about 14 months and lead to an overall spring 2021 opening.

Indigo will take up most (likely two-thirds) of the building, but not all of it. They will also keep the space they are leasing in the main Hood building right now.

“they have expanded to take every square foot we have on campus until we can get this building done,” he said. “We want to keep their headquarters in Charlestown so they don’t leave.”

Already, the company has other operations in Memphis, and recent reports suggest that they have expanded there and are contemplating putting more operations there if they cannot secure space in Charlestown.

Rosenshein said the company is growing astronomically, outpacing what can be built for them. He said they added 272 new employees in the second half of 2018 alone.

“Their growth rate is exponential at this point,” he said. “They have huge demand here and in Memphis. We want to make sure the corporate headquarters stays here…They have filled the space available here and we can’t get this building done fast enough for them.”

The comment period for the project has been extended to Jan. 28, and another meeting on resiliency and environment is scheduled for later this month. Rosenshein said they will file a supplemental report in the next week on meetings they have had with the Boston Parks Department regarding the Hood Green open space concept and how it will work with redesigns of Ryan Playground.

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