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Back Bay Residents Worried New Buildings Will Cause Wind Problems

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – The Christian Science Plaza will soon border the tallest residential building in the City of Boston.

The City unanimously approved a 691 foot high-rise. It is 58 stories tall and will include a maximum of 250 apartments and condos, and 300 hotel rooms.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority also approved a 285 foot building as part of the same project. It will be 25 stories and will include a maximum of 250 residential units and 1,800 square feet of ground floor retail.

Parking for the high rise will be shared with existing facilities owned by the First Church Christ, Scientist and 101 Belvidere Street.

The mid-rise building includes a 21 space below grade parking garage with additional parking access at nearby facilities.

The development will also create a new 4,300 square foot open space area on St. Germain Street.

The total project cost is $750 million and will create over 1,000 construction jobs.

The high-rise is expected to take 30-36 months to build, and the mid-rise is estimated to take 20-24 months.

The developer is Carpenter and Company and Pritzger Realty Group and the architects are Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and Cambridge Seven Associates.

Mayor Menino says he is proud of the project. “It also creates jobs in our society today, jobs for the future,” Menino explains. “I like the way it was designed, it fits into that neighborhood perfectly. It’s right next to the Prudential Center, which is another tall skyscraper and it’s not imposing on any other properties.”

But the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay is concerned about an impact: the wind.

Jackie Yessian, of NABB, says a study shows there is the potential for dangerous wind levels in one location near on the plaza.

Yessian says, “At certain wind conditions, that would be a dangerous location. It’s a spot where a person could get blown over.” She says the situation should be addressed before the tower is built.

Susan Elsbree, spokesperson for the Boston Redevelopment Authority says wind studies included in the project showed relatively limited additional wind impacts from the project. “However, where those impacts are projected to occur, the Developer is committed to taking appropriate measures to mitigate them.”

She says the Developer does not own the land Yessian and NABB are most concerned about, but she says, “Carpenter and Co will work with adjacent landowner to implement appropriate mitigation at that site.”

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