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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Is 29 stories too tall for Chinatown?

In today's Boston Globe, there is an article about a proposed tower that would be built where the old Dainty Dot building is, right at the edge of Chinatown and the Financial District. If approved, the developer, Ori Ron, would demolish the majority of the Dainty Dot building, retaining 60% of its facade, and build a 29-story, 340 foot high residential tower.

Some Chinatown resident groups are saying that the tower is too tall for their neighborhood, and "would also intrude on the peace and privacy of the adjacent park at the southern end of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway."

I've never lived in Chinatown, so I'm no expert, but "peace" and "privacy" are not things that come to mind when I think of the former "Combat Zone".

Also, if you look at the picture from the article (above), you can see the concrete State Street Bank building across the street, and both One Financial Center and the Federal Reserve Bank towers down the street. Each of those are more than 29 stories.

I'm not one for gentrification of every neighborhood possible. I'll be at the front lines if anyone wants to tear down the brownstones in the South End, or the triple deckers in Southie. But I don't think building one tower this close to Chinatown is going to disrupt the oldest ethnic neighborhoods in the city.

What's your take on this proposal?

3 comments:

Jeremy Liu, Executive Director said...

I would like to invite you to Chinatown for a tour by one our staff or youth leaders who can give you a sense yourself of what it would mean for this tower to be built in Chinatown.

I'm the executive director of the Asian Community Development Corporation and our mission in Chinatown is to protect and improve the quality of life of the entire neighborhood.

Come for a visit!

Jeremy Liu
617-482-2380 x204

Anonymous said...

Folks who live across the street at Lafayette Lofts 88 Kingston Street have followed the proposal regarding the 120 Kingston with great interest. Developers and realtors assured the folks who purchased condominiums in Lafayette Lofts, that the abandoned Dainty Dot building across the street was zoned for only 100 feet in height. We were told that our sunlight and southern view would be protected. Now we find that the Hudson Group wants the Boston Redevelopment Authority to change the zoning, so they can erect a 300-foot building that will tower an additional 20 stories higher than 88 Kingston. The folks living in Lafayette Lofts will be significantly negatively affected by this excessive height, in several ways as follows.
1) As shown by the recently released shadow studies, the amount of sunlight reaching Lafayette Lofts will be decreased to only two hours per day in the winter months. In the summer the sunlight will be lost for six hours each day.
2) The folks on the sixth and seventh floors in particular, will lose privacy, and the southern view of an expansive sky.
3) The wind studies show that a 27-story building will create a tunnel effect along Essex Street blowing trash and air-born particulates into the faces of the people on the street.
4) This proposal will significantly decrease the resale value of the Lafayette Lofts condominiums.
5) The proposed height is out of scale with the general height of buildings in both the Leather District and Chinatown. A 27-story building across the street will completely dwarf our building and change the appealing character of the human scale of the current neighborhood.
We support the development of 120 Kingston. However, there is no reason that a developer cannot make a reasonable profit by either rehabbing or replacing the existing building WITHIN the current zoning restrictions. The developers of our building at 88 Kingston were successful doing this and, except for greed, there is no reason that the Hudson Group cannot do the same. The zoning laws are just that - they are laws - not suggestions. They are in place to protect hard working folks like us who have made a very significant investment in the City of Boston. It would be wrong for the Boston Redevelopment Authority to change the zoning and decrease the property values of the owners in 88 Kingston. A public meeting sponsored by the Boston Redevelopment Authority is scheduled for Thursday November 1, 2007 in the conference room of the Chinese Economic Development Council, Inc. at 65 Harrison Avenue, Chinatown, Boston 02111. We invite you to attend.

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