Eye and Ear Seeks Public Support as It Eyes Expansion for Campus

Massachusetts Ear and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) is seeking the public’s support in securing the state legislation necessary for the proposed expansion of its Boston campus.

According to hospital officials, MEEI intends to partner with Meridiam Infrastructure of New York City to build a six-level, approximately 1,000-space garage beneath two at-grade parking lots that the hospital currently leases from the Department of Recreation and Conservation (DCR). The lots would in turn be converted into 3 acres of public parkland, which the hospital would build and maintain. MEEI also plans to construct an approximately 180,000 square-foot addition to the main hospital building at 243 Charles St. to accommodate the growth of biomedical research and additional patient care.

To build on the DCR-owned lots, however, the hospital must acquire legislation allowing the state to negotiate a “fair market” price for the long-term lease of the land.

While the plan would require the reconfiguration of Storrow Drive, John Fernandez, hospital president and CEO, said traffic flow on the roadway wouldn’t be disrupted during construction.

Fernandez also said the proposed garage would be accessible to the east and west of Storrow Drive, thereby diverting traffic from congested Charles Circle.

Fernandez and other hospital officials outlined the plan for more than 40 neighbors and other stakeholders last Monday, June 3, at an informational meeting sponsored by the Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) Traffic and Parking Committee.

“We’re appreciative of Mass Eye and Ear’s president, staff and other professionals for taking the time to come to the community to detail where they are in the planning process, and to seek our support,” BHCA Chair Steve Young told the Times. “The Traffic and Parking Committee will consider the matter at its June 11 meeting and then come to the board with its recommendation.”

Fernandez said, “We were pleased with the productive feedback from our neighbors on Beacon Hill, and we look forward to working with them and all members of our community throughout the project review process.”

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