Neighbors Express Concerns over Garden Garage Proposal

February 22, 2011
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By Dan Murphy

Around 40 West End residents met at the Amy Lowell Apartments Wednesday to discuss their concerns with the approximately $300 million proposal to replace the Garden Garage with two residential towers and an underground parking structure.

Chicago-based Equity Residential has filed plans with the city to raze the existing five-story, 710-spot garage, located at 35 Lomasney Way, and build the 21-story, 200-unit North Tower and the 28-story, 300-unit South Tower in its place. An 850-spot, below-grade parking garage would also be constructed beneath the project site.

Jean Wassell, a resident of the Amy Lowell Apartments, asked how many affordable units would be made available in the proposed high-rises.

“Market rate doesn’t solve the problem around housing,” Wassell said. “Unless you find a way to make these buildings accessible to more people, no one is going to be to afford to live in Boston.”

Others were apprehensive that the buildings would limit sunlight and views for the rest of the neighborhood.

“We want the buildings to be shaped differently so it doesn’t cut into the corridor,” Whittier Place trustee Ivy Turner said.

Louise Thomas, the past president of the West End Civic Association (WECA), said she personally supported a no-build option and wondered what the project would mean for the future of the neighborhood.

“They’ve got a wide-open space across from the [TD] Garden,” Thomas said. “What’s going to happen to the neighborhood that is now the safest in the City of Boston.”         Meanwhile, West End Council member Kathy Ryan urged those in attendance to unite and voice their dissatisfaction with the current proposal to the city.

“I think we want to see an alternative that fits in with the neighborhood,” Ryan said. “I think we all agree that the project is too big, too massive and too dense. If everybody says the same thing, I think the first thing they’re going to is address that the project is too big.”

Public comments on the project can be submitted in writing to: Mr. Jay Rourke, Senior Project Manager, Boston Redevelopment Authority, Boston City Hall, Boston, MA 02201 or via e-mail to jay.rourke.bra@cityofboston.gov by March 11.

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