Sunday, July 19, 2020Worldwide traders acquired the historic “Gas-Light Building” at 711-727 Massachusetts Ave. at Temple Place in Central Sq. (the place the Bank of America department is being renovated) about three years in the past. They wish to add a further three tales and fill within the rear space (now parking and loading) for what they’re calling a “boutique hotel.”
The proposed addition would put quite a few residences and their residents within the 100 p.c inexpensive constructing at 5 Temple Place immediately behind the constructing in shadow, amongst different issues. The doorway to the lodge can be subsequent to an typically used facet entrance for residents of 5 Temple Place.
Charlie Sullivan, govt director of the Historic Fee, had what he has described as a “handshake” settlement with the earlier homeowners, which was rolled over to the brand new homeowners, to be allowed to “review” any adjustments to the constructing. He stories he had a design suggestion that, after having been initially rejected, has now been accepted to his satisfaction. As such, the truth of a three-story addition to a serious historic constructing in Central Sq. is just not being introduced earlier than the Historic Fee or the general public for any type of public overview of the historic character of the constructing or of its contribution to Central Sq.. Had it been landmarked a while in the past, because it might (and arguably ought to) have been, public overview by the fee can be necessary. The constructing sits in what’s known as the Central Sq. Nationwide Register District however, absent landmark designation in Cambridge, that doesn’t present any particular safety (until federal funds have been concerned and, on this case, they aren’t.)
The architect for the undertaking is Tony Hsiao, who occurs to be chair of the Mid-Cambridge Neighborhood Conservation District Fee, which is definitely contiguous with the Central Sq. Nationwide Register District. If not an precise battle, this definitely suggests a minimum of the looks of a battle. (There may even be related considerations for some members of the Planning Board.)
Do we actually want a three-story addition atop a historic constructing for a “boutique hotel” in Central Sq.? Have you seen the rising variety of homeless people who find themselves looking for refuge and shelter in Central Sq.? How does this undertaking deal with the pressing want for inexpensive housing even for those that are already housed in Cambridge? In the event you help the “revised” inexpensive housing overlay zoning proposal, do you care concerning the high quality of life for the individuals who really reside or will reside in that inexpensive housing?
Please take into account sending an electronic mail to the Planning Board asking them to search out options that deal with the necessity for inexpensive housing, respect those that reside there, defend the historic character of Central Sq. and that embody full, significant, participation by the general public in the choices which have an effect on our lives.
James Williamson, Jefferson Park