BHCA Supports Rehab of Spaulding Hospital

The Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) board of directors wrote a letter to the city Wednesday in support of Massachusetts General Hospital’s plan to convert the former Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital into administrative offices, but expressed concern with MGH’s seemingly incremental approach to expansion of its Boston campus.

            According to an amendment to its Institutional Master Plan filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) last month, the hospital intends to restore the 10-story building at 125 Nashua St. for use as offices for medical and clinical operations. The renovation will slightly reduce the building’s gross-floor area to approximately 198,080 square feet.

            In recommending the proposal, BHCA Chair Keeta Gilmore wrote to Sonal Gandhi, the BRA’s director of institutional planning, expected benefits of the project include consolidating MGH’s offices from leased properties citywide to a centralized location owned by the hospital to help control health-care costs; and locating the new facility near North Station and the main hospital to help reduce vehicular traffic in the area.

            Gilmore cited the project as an example of “sustainable development” because all construction will take place within the existing footprint, thereby limiting adverse environmental impacts.

            Still, Gilmore expressed concern with the hospital’s tendency to amend the Institutional Master Plan on a “piecemeal basis”

             “In recent years, MGH or its affiliates have acquired several large or significant properties contiguous to its main campus and on Nashua Street for institutional use, but without including them in the scope of the Institutional Master Plan,” Gilmore wrote.

            The BHCA’s other ongoing concerns include ensuring that MGH honor its present and past community commitments with respect to helicopter routes and parking for local residents; and that the hospital considers the urban design of Cambridge Street especially the use of frontage, during further expansion. Gilmore wrote the BHCA is also interested in seeing a comprehensive traffic-study and mitigation plan, considering the extensive redevelopment of area that extends from Government Center through Downtown North and the West End.

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