BPDA Approves Twelve Residential Units for 171 Tremont St

By Beth Treffeisen

Late last week, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), formerly the Boston Redevelopment Authority, approved the proposed project slated for 171 Tremont Street, located next to the Boston Common.

This project will include the construction of a 13-story building with 12 residential units, a welcoming lobby, and a public park in the Mason Place pedestrian walkway. This new building will replace the current four-story office building.

The developer, 171 Tremont, LLC, will make a $50,000 contribution to the City of Boston’s Parks and Recreation Department to be used for the maintenance of Boston Common.

In addition there will be a contribution of $100,000 to the IDP Special Revenue Fund managed by Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development.

Construction is expected to take 18 months and there will be no on-site parking provided for the residential units, but they will have valet parking to nearby garages.

The original proposal in late 2014 envisioned a Manhattan-style pencil tower that was, 355-feet high holding a 31-unit boutique luxury condo building.

Due to local opposition, including to the possible effects the spire might have on shadows on the Common and traffic on the surrounding streets, a decrease in height from 355 to 175 feet including rooftop mechanical equipment has been approved.

Since the project will be built as-of-right dimensions in accordance with the Zoning Code, it will no longer exceed the restrictions of the ‘shadow bank’ created under Chapter 362 of the Acts of 1990, the Public Common Shadow Act.

Because the proposed project is being developed at an as-of-right height, it is no longer required to comply with the Public Commons Shadow Act.

Due to the slim massing form and diminutive floor plate, the resulting new shadows casts by the project continue to be slight and narrow according to the BPDA.

Additionally, the shadow impacts associated with the project have been reduced as a result of the reduction in building height. The most shadow impacts will occur before the noon hour.

The BPDA says these impacts are very small due to the sitting of the building in the path of shadow cast by the Ritz Carlton Hotel and Ritz Carlton Residences at 10 Avery Street.

During the remaining periods, new shadows either fall on the roofs of existing buildings, or within shadows cast by existing buildings. During these periods, no new shadow is cast on sidewalks or public open space.

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