Thursday, July 19, 2012

Nice Rack

Lock rack, corner of Tremont and Parker streets
I wasn't sure this lock would work as a bike rack so I tested it and it does but this one is more about aesthetics than volume.

Tube of paint rack at MassArt

School of the Museum of Fine Arts rack

And then there is Cambridge where entire car parking spaces are removed and sidewalks expanded to provide for much needed bike parking.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

From the Bastille to Dudley

A "Let Them Eat Cake" Cake, complete with tiny guillotine and disembodied head.
Not very surprising that at a fête de quatorze juillet, there should be a "let them eat cake" cake, extolling the virtues of liberté, égalité, fraternité.  What this picture misses is that the tiny head at the base of the bloodied-with-frosting guillotine is that of Mitt Romney, who has an entitlement mentality similar to that of Louis XVI and a sensitivity to the plight of working people in the US which mirrors the approach of Marie Antoinette.

More specifically and locally, Romney is the dude who, as governor of Massachusetts, reneged in 2004 on a promise to develop Ferdinand's in Dudley Square, condemning a generation of young people to unemployment and the geographical heart and soul of Boston to a decade of further blight with his let-them-eat-cake attitude. He insulted the intelligence of every person in metro Boston with the folderol that he could relate to "urban" populations because as a graduate student he and his wife had lived in West Roxbury, conflating and confusing two neighborhoods which, though historically the same, now embrace very different demographics. Ironically and sadly, any true West Roxbury resident (or conversely, schmuck with a basic knowledge and understanding of this city) would be very quick to make the distinction between the two neighborhoods, underscoring Romney's double-edged sleaze sword. 

M. de Lafayette, au secours, au secours!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mystery Pooper Prompts Posters

The layout of the title and image on this poster made me think, crap!  Some guy is pooping in his neighbor's yard?!  Turns out it's the guy's dog who's pooping and the guy who isn't picking it up.  Given that his image has been plastered on street poles for a couple of months now, I doubt his dog will be pooping in this quadrant of the neighborhood anytime soon. Nor has anyone come forward, it seems, to collect the reward. My money says the "mystery pooper" is an exceptionally entitled student who moved out in May and left the poop as a token of the esteem in which he held his temporary housing and neighborhood.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Development in Dudley: the Scorecard

Click on the map to expand it.

Several developments and improvements, massive and small,  planned within less than a mile of Dudley Square and slated to be created over the next few years, are both exciting and overwhelming to district residents.  With the right massaging,  the geographical heart of the city may go from myocardial infarction to pulsing with positive and vibrant activity once again. Here is a list of these potential improvements and developments, some already underway, some in very early evolution.

Ferdinand's/Dudley Square Office Facility will provide 150,000 square feet of administrative office with ground-floor retail, according to the Dudley Vision website.
Sasaki Associates is the designer.

Melnea Cass Boulevard Design Project which will incorporate principles from the Complete Streets initiative intends, in part, to "create a sense of “place” that will make people slow down and stop in the area. Create a pedestrian friendly, people oriented environment; Increase density of foot traffic rather than car traffic. Provide safe and pedestrian friendly crossings between Parcel 9 and Parcel 10. Investigate new “urban mall” concepts in which businesses are oriented to the street and outdoor space, with café seating contributing to a lively public realm," says the Design Project website.

Parcel 9, currently called Melnea Hotel and Residences
Team: Urbanica, Inc / NADAAA
Current program:
87,200 sf  hotel
22,000 sf retail
3700 sf meeting room
63200 sf of 52 residential units
46,900 of below garage with 139 spaces
Pyramid Group is working as partner in charge of finding a hotel brand.  Developers will keep retail small, around 1000-1500 square feet, to keep it viable and are striving for the new European style boutique hotel where sleeping quarters are podlike and work is done in shared common spaces, according to Kamran Zahedi of Urbanica.

Parcel 10, Madison Tropical
Team: Tropical Foods Market/Madison Park Development Corp.
Estimated cost: $44,000,000
Current program:
residential: 66 units
office: 11,000 sf
retail: 22,000 sf
supermarket: 35,000 sf
This is a opportunity for the specialty foods store, Tropical Foods,  which draws thousands of shoppers from throughout New England, to expand and Madison Park Dev. Corp. to build more housing.

Bartlett Place
This week, the 8.5 acre former site of the MBTA's service and parking garages, has been serving as base camp and crew parking for the Bullock/McCarthy vehicle The Heat.
Team: Windale Development Company and Nuestra Communidad Development Corp.
Estimated cost: $137,000,000
Current Program:
commercial uses 40,000-70,000 sf
housing 313 units
Intention is to create an "urban village": Windale President Arnold Johnson.

Parcel 3, currently called Tremont Crossing, on Tremont Street across from Boston Police headquarters will be "truly mixed use" space with a "strong cultural and educational edge" according to partner Barry Gaither. It will become the new home of The National Center of Afro-American Artists as well as the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts
Team:  Gaither/Jeffrey Feldman/Stull and Lee
Current program includes:
large format retail 500,000 square feet
smaller retail 50,000 sf
office 200,000 sf
museum/cultural facilities including performance space 58,000 sf
market rate multifamily residential 200,000 (240 units)
Estimated cost: $300-$320 million

Dudley Square Sewer Separation Project is intended "to reduce pollution levels in Boston harbor" and this work in Dudley Square is a priority because of the redevelopment plans in the area, according to the Boston Water and Sewer Commission's website. The project encompasses an area between Melnea Cass Boulevard, Washington Street, Circuit and Whiting Streets, and Albany Street and includes a few blocks in Highland Park.

A three story office building with ground floor retail is planned for the corner of Taber and Warren Streets, diagonally across from Ferdinand's.

The MBTA is making several improvements to the Dudley Square Station.

Roxbury Community College will get  $20 million to renovate, modernize, and boost its science center.

Powahouse and net energy gain E+ housing will be adding to housing stock and cutting carbon emissions with their vanguard projects.  Powahouse has a completion goal of August 2012 and is fully occupied.  E+ is in the pre-construction phase and looking for buyers.

Jackson Square Redevelopment Initiative

Monday, July 2, 2012

Shooting in Dudley, Hollywood Style

"Untitled Female Buddy Cop Project" (that's the temporary formulaic name, kids, so look for something different at the box office) "The Heat" starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy will be filming in and around Dudley Square,  July 5- July 12, from 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.

From July 5-10, crews will be shooting at the old B-2 police station. It's a good use for the abandoned station and a better-than-usual mode of "shooting" (drugs not guns) in Dudley. When a scene from "The Town" was filmed down the street in Highland Park, the production company provided free lead and asbestos remediation to the homeowner for use of his house. Similarly, the city has saved money on the B-2 demo since scores of yards of waste were removed from the site gratis, again by the film's production company.

The rest of the shooting will be in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Call the locations department at 617-237-2645 with any issues about deliveries or accessibility.

This movie is already cracking me up and not just because the hysterically funny bridesmaid is in it. The neighborhood explodes this time of year with fireworks. Good luck locking down the set for sound, all you third assistant directors. Unless, of course, noisy, smokey, big-bang/no beauty fireworks are part of the scene and then you are in exactly the right place.

Shrubs and new paint...
...make the old B-2 station look so good...
...there may be some confusion about which is the new police station. This sign should probably read "Real Police Station".