Out of the Shadows…

 

As reported from Bankers and Tradesmen:

171 Tremont Street

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Designs for a proposed luxury condominium tower at 171 Tremont St. (Aka “The Skinny Tower) have been revised for the third time to comply with regulations that protect Boston Common from shadows.
Developer Joseph Dabbah also eliminated all 21 resident parking spaces in favor of two valet drop-offs.
The tower with a stone, metal and glass exterior would top out at 155 feet, down from 212 feet in the last version unveiled in May and 355 feet in the original version submitted in late 2014.
The changes reflect neighborhood concerns about the height of the tower and its shadow creation, developers said in a filing with the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The 13-story building would contain 12 condos, down from the previous 18.
At its current height, the tower would be buildable as-of-right and not require any zoning variances, according to the BRA submission. And it would not be subject to the Boston Common and Public Garden protection area, a state law that limits the amount of shadow that new developments can throw onto the public parks.
“The luxury building will contribute to the long-term revitalization of the Downtown Crossing area by building on the momentum generated by the recently developed neighboring larger-scale mixed-use developments,” Dabbah wrote.

Changes are in the air…

New name, new logo but the mission remains the same!

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In the Fall of 2014, a small group of Downtown Boston residents came together to mobilize against a proposed 43,000+ sq. foot entertainment complex in the neighborhood. We were compelled to act based on the information at hand and because residents lacked a proper voice in the process – we believed fervently that our neighborhood and beloved City deserved better than what was being proposed. We appreciated the critical importance of residents in the ongoing revitalization of Downtown Boston and recognized that residents, as citizens and taxpayers, have a fundamental right to have a voice in matters that stand to impact quality of life and the ongoing development of their neighborhood.

We founded the Residents’ Association for one simple reason: to enable civic engagement. We expected to engage 30-40 residents across a few residential buildings but what transpired over a few short weeks was completely unexpected. Through word of mouth, basic research of the proponent’s public filings, and a data driven approach, hundreds of Downtown Boston residents organized and engaged to shine the spotlight on obvious issues with the proposed entertainment complex and its proponent. Despite being dubbed obstructionists by some, we carried forward. History confirms that this effort was both prudent and necessary. As anticipated, the proponent of the failed project is facing several labor lawsuits in multiple states and continues to shutter locations nationwide. Our neighborhood and City deserved better.

What initially started out as a small, informal group of residents coming together to respond to a challenge quickly evolved into a robust, active residents’ association with over 400 members and growing from across 15 Downtown Boston residential buildings. The Association remains 100% independent and volunteer resident driven. It remains committed to engaging, informing, and empowering Downtown Boston residents by creating a forum for discussion and debate on a wide range of topics related to quality of life and development in Downtown Boston.

Today, we are pleased to share an exciting announcement and milestone. Based on your feedback, discussions with stakeholders, and our experiences over the past year and a half, the Leadership Team of what has been known as the Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association has decided to rename the Association to Downtown Boston Residents’ Association to more closely align with the neighborhood’s current identity. Our new website address is www.downtownRA.org. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

MCDRA Neighborhood Meeting…

 

From the MCDRA:

Dear Members,

Our March meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 17  at 7:00PM (Suffolk Law School):

Monday, March 14, 2016 at 7:00PM
Suffolk University Law School (4th FL, Courtroom, Room 425)
120 Tremont Street
(Handicap Accessible)

               Agenda

7:00PM Boston Police Department and MBTA Transit Police Update

7:15PM Announcement regarding expansion of the MCDRA Leadership Team – positions described below.* We are looking to fill these volunteer positions following our March meeting

7:30PM Chris Cook, Commissioner, Boston Parks & Recreation, will be joining us for a discussion around our open spaces, including the Boston Common and the new proposed Visitor Center

8:15PM Other Updates, including the proposed developments at 171 Tremont Street, 533 Washington Street, and Bromfield / Washington Streets

*As we continue to grow, we are looking to evolve from a small Executive Committee to a more robust Leadership Team. We are seeking to fill the following volunteer positions following our March meeting:

Technology Co-Manager
Assist with updating website, sending out meeting notices and announcements, helping with speaker / meeting presentations. Help to develop and curate timely web and social media content

Membership & Public Relations Manager
Conduct outreach to neighborhood buildings and condo associations within the MCDRA geographic area. Help recruit and welcome new members. Work with the Downtown BID, The Boston Globe, etc. to publicize association and neighborhood announcements

Social Coordinator
Plan and implement activities such as neighborhood tours, wine tastings, and other activities based on the interests of members. Encourage opportunities for feedback and participation.

Meeting & Events Co-Manager
Serve as a liaison with Suffolk University and others to secure monthly meeting location. Liaise with Leadership Team and residents to suggest and determine monthly speakers, extend invitations and set monthly agendas.

Estimated Time Commitment for each role
1. Monthly residents meeting (1.5 – 2 hours)
2. Leadership Team meeting (1 – 2 hours)
3. Time spent on your volunteer activity (1.5 – 3 hours)
Best,

Rishi Shukla, George Coorssen, Deva Hirsch
Executive Committee

About the Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association (MCDRA)

The Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association (MCDRA) is an independent organization that was formed in October 2014 by residents of Boston’s Midtown / Downtown Crossing neighborhood. The organization, run exclusively by volunteers residing in the neighborhood, facilitates community building and ensures that residents are informed and have a voice in key decisions that stand to impact the quality of life in and development of Midtown / Downtown Crossing. MCDRA requires that members disclose any conflicts of interest and that they reside in the neighborhood.

 

Don’t Forget…

In the rush of the holiday season, it is easy to forget:

Just a friendly reminder that the December monthly meeting of the MCDRA will be held at the Modern Theatre at 7PM on Monday, 12/14

Agenda 

Local business matter – Godfrey Hotel liquor license application

Safety update from BPD and MBTA Police Officers

Imagine Boston 2030, John Fitzgerald, Deputy Director

See you there!

If You Build It they will Come…

Finally! At last! The neighborhood has been waiting along time for a real grocery store and now with today’s opening of  Roche Brothers with have it just a short stroll to Downtown Crossing.

Come along with me to take a brief  tour. You might see some familiar faces in the crowd.

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Organic soups for you!

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With over $200,000 of gourmet cheese to choose from.

 

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Heavenly Flowers for the Heavenly Friars.

While below, John the fish supervisor, makes sure it is all fresh.

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No more food shopping at the CVS for me!

Tonite!

Dear Members,Happy Spring!  Please join us for the next meeting of the Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Assocation (MCDRA) on April 13th:Monday, April 13, 2015 at 7:00PM
The Modern Theatre
525 Washington Street(Handicap Accessible)Thank you to Suffolk University for making this space available to MCDRA

(Unless otherwise noted, MCDRA meetings are held at 7PM on the second Monday of each month)

We will welcome Bob Mayerson, CEO, and other members of the Patriot Care team, which is proposing to open and operate a medical marijuana dispensary at 21 Milk Street in Midtown / Downtown Crossing.  We will also welcome Rosemarie Sansone, President of the Downtown Boston BID, who will be discussing the business community’s perspective on the proposed dispensary. The presentations will be followed by Q&A.

Meeting Notes from MCDRA March Meeting

A special thank you to John Nucci, Jason Wright, James Kaufman, Ben Sigda and their team for hosting the March MCDRA meeting.  Their generous hospitality in providing us with a meeting home in-kind is greatly appreciated!

Elected Officials’ Offices Represented & Special Guests:  State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz; Patrick Lyons of State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz’s office; Sophia Wang, Neighborhood Representative with Councillor At-Large Michelle Wu’s office; and Will Dickerson of Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty’s office.  Also in attendance were Sgt. Jimmy Chin of the Boston Police Department and Lt. Cmdr. Chris Maynard of the MBTA Transit Police.

Rishi Shukla, MCDRA Executive Committee, welcomed past and new attendees and provided a brief history of the MCDRA.  He also shared that the website has some new features, including an events calendar where members may view and suggest events. To view upcoming events, please visitwww.mcdra.org/events. To suggest an event, please visit www.mcdra.org/events/community.

Dr. Marilyn Plotkins, Professor and Chair, Department of Theater at Suffolk University and Artistic Director of the Modern Theater, welcomed guests. She gave an overview of the Theater’s founding, restoration and current programming.  She encouraged all to return to a live performance at the Theater.

State Representative Aaron Michlewitz introduced himself and provided information on current issues and his proposed legislation.  Rep. Michlewitz also expressed his excitement about the formation of a residents’ association in Midtown / Downtown Crossing and plans to hold a casual drop-in coffee hour for residents during the coming months.

Next, members heard an initial presentation from the 171 Tremont Street project team, which is proposing a condominium development at 171-172 Tremont Street. The letter of intent that was submitted to the Boston Redevelopment Authority is posted here. The project team shared that their plans for the proposed condominium development were still in the early stages. This was the first time the team had presented their plans to the community. The majority of questions from members were related to the proposed height (355 feet) of the building and the fact that the current proposal exceeds zoning regulations.

The project team’s presentation has been posted to our website and can be accessed here.  Also, as promised, we have developed a survey to ensure that residents have an opportunity to provide feedback – this survey can be accessed here.  Preliminary results will be presented at our April meeting and will also be shared with the project team and City of Boston officials.  The project team has agreed to present their revised plans at an upcoming meeting.

Rishi thanked Laurie & Mark LaConte and Jane Fine for kick-starting a social component to MCDRA.  A paper survey was circulated at the meeting.  Please take a moment to complete the survey here.

We look forward to seeing you on April 13th!

Best,

Rishi Shukla, George Coorssen, Deva Hirsch
Executive Committee

Get Up To Date on What’s Happening…

From your DOR

Dear Resident:

Change is underway in our neighborhood, Downtown Crossing.  There are new residential developments under construction, as well as new hotels, retail stores, and a Roche Bros. Supermarket.

 

In order to assure all our Residents are up-to-date with this information, we have scheduled a Community Update Social Event with Roche Bros and a representative from the BID.  Roche Bros will cater this event and provide a food and beverage offering to give Residents a taste of what is yet to come, along with displaying some detailed drawings of their new supermarket!

Unfortunately Rosemarie Sansone is unable to attend but her associate will provide Residents with an overview of the new construction in our area, as well as an overview of possible future developments.

Rosemarie will be available to answer any questions that Residents may have about newly proposed nearby developments and clarify processes that would need to be undertaken in order for those to occur.

We cordially invite you to attend this event on Thursday, February 26 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the North Low-Rise Library, 3 Avery Street. We look forward to seeing you there!

Warm Regards,

James R. Zaratin
Director of Residences
The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common

Just a Little Spring Cleaning…

The City of Boston’s annual Boston Shines neighborhood clean-up day will take place in downtown on Friday, May 9th, from 8 am-12 pm. As in years past, the Downtown Boston BID hosts the downtown Boston Shines. This year’s event will target specific public spaces in downtown — Winthrop Square, the Kingston-Bedford traffic island, the Irish Famine Memorial in Reader’s Park, and more.

Clean up

Volunteers are wanted! To RSVP, please email info@bostonbid.org with your name, organizational affiliation, and anyone else from your group who may be participating. See you at Boston Shines!

Bye Bye Mantra…

The Boston Business Journal reports of the pending auction…

Nearly a year after Mantra closed its doors in Downtown Crossing, owners of the French-Indian fusion restaurant are facing a foreclosure auction next week.

Salvadore Auctions & Appraisals of Rhode Island has scheduled the auction for Friday, July 19. The 9,323-square-foot restaurant and bar was housed in a commercial condominium at 52 Temple St.

 Mantra restaurant on the auction block.</p><p>

 

The two-story unit was purchased by Pabla Realty LLC, an entity of One World Cuisine, in 2008 for $3 million. The owners took out a $1.5 million mortgage that year from TD Bank, according to the Suffolk Registry of Deeds.

A legal notice describes the space near the Theatre District as a well-equipped restaurant and bar on first floor with a modern stylish bar on the lower lever for private parties that features with decorative marble and moldings.

Mantra opened in 2001. 

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