Community Activist Steve Wolf Spotlights Plans for the New Longwood Place Development

The Ward 4 Dems thank Steve for his presentation at our January 17th meeting.

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OVERVIEW: Skanska USA proposal for “Longwood Place”

• BPDA uses 305 Brookline as the project name. The BPDA has all public filings

online, including presentations. All figures here come from a presentation to the

Impact Advisory Group dated September 20. You can download a PDF of that from

the site to learn much more about proposed uses, heights, and other elements.

• Simmons’s deal with Skanska: Build a new dorm on main campus, demolish 5.8-

acre residential campus (bounded by Brookline Ave, Pilgrim Road, and the Winsor

School) then sign a 99-year ground lease with Skanska. (Follows the “endowment

campus” model Emmanuel used for the Merck building on Ave. Louis Pasteur.)

• Roughly 1.75 million SF of lab space, offices, housing and retail (in roughly

descending proportions).

• Five buildings, ranging in height from 170 feet to 320 feet (roughly 17 to 32 stories).

Compare the Pierce on Brookline Avenue, which is 360 feet.

• Open space on site:

> Large plaza (or “heart”) on the end closest to the the LMA, with performance

space, seating areas, landscaping.

> Small passive open space on the other end of the site.

Issues

• Creates up to 3 hours of new shadows on Emerald Necklace parks (primarily the

Riverway and the northern end of the Back Bay Fens).

• Concerns:

> undetermined impacts on plant life, water quality, erosion

> park gained new users during the pandemic and is a crossing point between the

LMA and Longwood Station on the D Line; more shadows mean less natural

melting of ice in winter, but Boston Parks would likely not have the capacity to add

Riverway paths to its snow-clearing agenda.

• The BRA published Longwood Medical Area Interim Guidelines in 2003 with the aim of

protecting historic parkways and streetscapes, including the Emerald Necklace. Key

limits:

> height: 150 feet across the Simmons parcel, with an exception for slightly more

height in one corner

> park shadows: no more than one hour of new shadows on historic parks

• Article 80 review will still take place, but once the conceptual plan qualifies as a

PDA, Skanska will essentially have presumptive approval of heights and shadow

impacts. The BPDA can add any provisions it wants to the PDA, so it could include

language requiring further reductions of the shadows.

Key Links

Before the virtual public hearing on Thursday, January 19 (starting at 5:40pm):

1. Sign the petition. https://change.org/ProtectTheEmeraldNecklace

2. Email written testimony by 3:30pm on 1/19 to BRABoard@boston.gov

3. Sign up to testify at https://bit.ly/JanBPDAMeeting. This will get you a

meeting link. Whoever is running the meeting will ask Zoom participants to raise their

hands if they want to speak. Longfellow Place is the first project on the agenda, so at least

we won’t have to sit through an entire meeting!

________

Steve Wolf is a member and former board president of The Fenway Community Development Corporation and a board member of The Fenway News.

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