April 15, 2007
Boston Redevelopment Authority
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02210-1007
Dear Mr. McCann:
We are writing to state our opposition to the proposed 29-story tower at the Auchmuty/Dainty Dot building site along the Kennedy Greenway. Already listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a Boston landmark status application has been under review since 1989. The Seaport Alliance for A Neighborhood Design (SAND) is comprised of Fort Point residents and design professionals who advocate for longrange planning ideals, envisioning the South Boston waterfront as a vibrant, diverse community with a distinctive character and sense of place. Following a community-based initiative, our own neighborhood is currently in the process of a Boston Landmarks Commission study to explore landmarking of the Fort Point Historic District. The entire historic areas of nearby Chinatown, Leather District and Downtown are as endangered and worthy of preservation. As immediate neighbors and future users of the Greenway, we appeal to the BRA and the City of Boston to save historic Boston from façadism and the loss of the City’s old neighborhoods. We ask for your stewardship in preserving our remaining, homogeneously built historic districts.
The proposed design by Elkus Manfredi, commissioned by developer Ori Ron's firm, Hudson Group North America LLC, has great merit, but at 340 feet height, the negative impacts of this project are great. As it stands, the Dainty Dot building would disappear within a 29-story tower, reduced to serving as façade of the in-door parking garage. The tower vastly exceeds the existing zoning requirements and sets a dangerous precedent for the height of historic Chinatown. The project would dwarf the adjacent CAT financed Chinatown and Greenway parks and turn them into front yards that will mainly cater to the new building and offer a cold, uncomfortable and windswept environment caused by shadow impacts and fall winds from this high riser. SAND embraces development of the site at a more human scale consistent with the existing fabric of the Chinatown district and complete rehabilitation of the Dainty Dot building with its beautiful architectural detail. Chinatown’s Greenway parcels slated for housing development still offer ample opportunity for larger-scale build-out.
Our historic neighborhoods make Boston so desirable and unique. Please save and preserve the existing architectural fabric of Chinatown through district-wide planning and landmarking as a historic district quickly. Please consider revising the current policy that only single buildings can receive historic status in downtown Boston – in favor of placemaking and holistic thinking on a neighborhood scale.
Thank you for your consideration and for saving the Auchmuty/Dainty Dot and historic Chinatown, as well as historic Fort Point, Leather District, Downtown and the City’s historic architectural assets on a neighborhood-wide scale.
Christina Lanzl Jon Seward
On behalf of SAND
CC: Thomas Menino, Mayor
Stephanie Fan, Chinese Historical Society of New England
Maureen Feeney, City Council President
William Francis Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth/Mass. Historical Commission
Dick Garver, BRA
Sarah Kelly, Boston Preservation Alliance
Jeremy Liu, Asian Community Development Corporation
Ellen Lipsey, Boston Landmarks Commission
Hubert Murray, Boston Society of Architects
David Seeley, Leather District
Kairos Shen, BRA
Your comments as a visitor to the SAND website would be appreciated and forwarded for discussion.