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Aquarium garage owner scales back plans from ginormous to merely 'normous

The Globe reports Don Chifaro finally realizes he's just never going to get to replace the Aquarium garage with one of the tallest buildings in the city and so will file plans for something a bit less grand, but more in line with BRA recommendations.

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Lame. With a few exceptions, Boston's skyline is really just a bunch of square/boxy midrises. Let's mix it up a little and build something tall and bold.

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We don't need to wall it off with something too large.

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I generally agree - except that at this site we have a big 'ol (ugly) wall already with the parking garage. To replace it on this site it needs to be rebuilt underground - right between the Central Artery Tunnel and the ocean, because the Aquarium needs it, and the Harbor Towers have an easement on it. I believe the project cost of this alone is 300-400$ million. To be able to justify those costs (just to bury the garage), plus the cost of the land (another $100+ million) a developer is going to need to build rather tall, otherwise its going to be hard to overcome that initial half a billion investment just to start building/spending even more on constructing the actual building.

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Please , not another international place a cheaply looking and cheaply built skyscraper . Please not another one...

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Not to mention the already extremely lucrative business that's there in the parking garage.

That garage probably represents tens of millions per year in low risk, low maintenance income. The new building has to represent a lucrative enough opportunity to justify shuttling this existing, hands off business and turn to the high risk world of high rise development, construction and management.

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How about instead of replacing the hulking garage underground for an outrageous sum of money - they build a smaller garage for say $150 million and then pay say $50-$100 million to the MBTA for capital improvements so that instead of all these people driving into the city they can take the T. We can't keep expanding the number of cars commuting in and out of the city - the roads are already at max capacity much of the day. At the same time - people don't have a choice because the T SUUUUUUUCCKS if you have to commute. This could be a win win policy that we can duplicate to get the T's capital budget back up to speed improving and expanding service.

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This garage has nothing to do with the MBTA. It is privately owned.

If you're suggesting the developer replace a very valuable asset with a less valuable asset, then give a whole bunch of money to the MBTA just because, then you are delusional.

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My understanding from the post above is that if they have to dig a really big waterproof hole for the garage it's basically a money losing proposition. So the point is build a smaller cheaper garage. But in return Chiofaro splits the savings w the MBTA.

Not sure all the property rights issues work, just a thought about doing something innovative if the numbers and legal issues work.

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The garage right now is far smaller than the proposed new housing development. Your post makes no sense.

A builders desire for profit does not mean that local zoning rules should just be ignored

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on this and sat next to Chiofaro once. He was oh-so-gregarious and trying hard to be charming. However, NEAq relies heavily on gate for it's existence, and 3 years of construction would do enough damage to close it. Permanently. So while BRA always makes a point to say that NEAq is a special organization that will be protected, in reality, it is very vulnerable to anything that inhibits visitors - lots and lots of visitors - getting to it's front door.

The thing that makes this so difficult is that there is no overall vision/plan for waterfront usage. The bits and pieces now on the drawing board are without exception targeting affluent residents and visitors. The plebeians are not going to be able to afford to visit, enter and enjoy almost everything directly on the harbor except for the harborwalk. Even harbor views are obscured from the Greenway, which is the closest most of us rubes will be getting to the water.

But with sea level rise, who knows? Even Comm Ave. might be canals, and we'll all be rollin' in the deep.

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NEAq relies heavily on gate for it's existence, and 3 years of construction would do enough damage to close it. Permanently.

I simply don't believe this claim. And, as much as I love the Squarium (we have season passes 6 years running), their frailty shouldn't hold up progress for the city. Figure it out. Make a deal. Raise more money. Step up the advertising, lock in group rates, do what you gotta do to stay afloat.

The idea that we can't expand and beautify the city (the garage is ugly) because the NEAq is fragile is crazy.

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