MassDOT is moving forward now to transform a crime haven under a highway overpass in the South End into a parking facility that supports the volcanic growth of the neighborhood's northeastern edge.
The project is in part the result of a walking tour taken by Transportation Secretary Richard Davey, who heads MassDOT, with State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, whose district includes the "Stacks", the seedy wasteland under the I-93 overpass long known for its drugs and prostitution. Now, MassDOT is moving to transform the Stacks into a into a new parking facility with nearly 500 spaces that would bring more (and more legal) activity to the area; improve lighting, safety and pedestrian conditions; and support growth in a part of Boston that is rapidly losing surface parking lots to development.
The South End has the reputation as one of Boston's most desirable neighborhoods. It's recognized by the National Register of Historic Places as the largest existing example of Victorian architecture in the country and is home to an ever-expanding restaurant scene. More importantly, perhaps, the low-rise neighborhood is emblematic of the transformation in recent decades of America's inner-cities from gritty to swanky. But the transformation in the South End isn't complete yet, with underutilized and shabby edges along the Turnpike and I-93.
The city recently up-zoned a large portion of this underutilized area, dubbed the Harrison-Albany Corridor by city planners, kicking development into high gear. National Development leads the charge with the massive Ink Block project, a mixed-use development on the 6-acre site of The Boston Herald's former headquarters that will bring 471 units of housing and 85,000 square feet of retail space to the neighborhood in four buildings, including a 50,000-square-foot Whole Foods. Right next-door, Normandy Real Estate Partners is planning to transform a surface parking lot into 220 apartments and a 325-key hotel in dual towers up to 200 feet high.
MassDOT will construct the new parking facility across Albany Street from this emerging neighborhood within a neighborhood. Construction is slated to begin this year with a goal of opening the facility sometime next year. Potential users include Boston Medical Center, the Pine Street Inn, and local residents. — A. Contributor
· Big Development Doings on the South End-Chinatown Border [Curbed Boston]
· O, Albany Street! Building the Perfect South End 'Buffer' [Curbed Boston]