Top of Mind

The latest from around the Neighborhood

Broadway Sing-Along on 8/3, 7PM

The Downtown Boston Residents’ Association is proud to bring you a Broadway Sing-Along & Summer Social at the Paramount!

Join your neighbors at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, August 3rd for a social hour and special evening celebrating Broadway music – presented by our very own neighbor, David Maister*!  The event is being offered free of charge and will feature a cash bar and time to mix and mingle.  Register here to reserve your spot.

Music will include your favorites from the following hit musicals, and many more – sing-along to your favorites (with the help of on-screen lyrics)!

My Fair Lady, Cats, Chicago, Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia, Evita, The King and I, Mary Poppins 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (EDT)

The Bright Family Screening Room at the Paramount Theater – 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111

A special thank you to Emerson College, ArtsEmerson, and David Maister for making this possible!  A brochure for the event is available here.

*David Maister is a resident of 1 Avery and a lifelong theater and music enthusiast who, since his retirement, has put on seminars on popular music from the 1930s to the 1960s. Prior to his retirement, David was a global management consultant and former Harvard Business School Professor who wrote or co-authored 13 business books.

Boston Globe article re proposed tower at 533 Washington St.

FU3A4876-533WashingtonThe Boston Globe ran the following article today regarding the proposed residential tower at 533 Washington Street:

The Opera House and Modern Theatre (Suffolk University) are opposed to the project at this time.  The Associations’ Rishi Shukla was quoted in the article. Shukla, along with other members of the Association, was nominated to serve on the project’s Impact Advisory Group (IAG) by elected officials and was appointed to the IAG by the Mayor.  The IAG “advises the BRA (Boston Redevelopment Authority) in both identifying the impacts and determining the appropriate mitigation [of the project].” Additional information about IAGs can be found here.


“Right now, it looks like trying to put a size 12 foot into a size 9 shoe,” Nucci said.

The Rafi plan is one of several in the area with proposed heights that would need variances to exceed a zoning limit of 155 feet. On Tremont Street, another “skinny tower” is planned to be 235 feet high. And a few blocks to the north, developers want to build a condo skyscraper that would rise 59 stories, or about 700 feet, above Bromfield Street.

The solution, many residents say, is updating zoning rules to reflect the interest in building new towers in the area, while ensuring they don’t overrun the neighborhood.

“There’s a reconciliation that has to happen,” said Rishi Shukla, founding member of the Downtown Boston Residents’ Association. “You can’t knock the public for asking the question of why is it OK to go 80 in a 55 zone if you’ve set the speed limit at 55.”

BRA spokesman Nick Martin said officials are sensitive to the residents’ concerns. “We do want to look holistically at the whole Washington Street corridor to make sure we’re looking at projects, not on a one-off basis, but in terms of how they affect the district as a whole,” he said.


The Next Chapter…



Dear Residents and Stakeholders,

In the Fall of 2014, a small group of Downtown Boston residents came together to mobilize against a proposed 43,000+ sq. foot entertainment complex in the neighborhood.  We were compelled to act based on the information at hand and because residents lacked a proper voice in the process – we believed fervently that our neighborhood and beloved City deserved better than what was being proposed.  We appreciated the critical importance of residents in the ongoing revitalization of Downtown Boston and recognized that residents, as citizens and taxpayers, have a fundamental right to have a voice in matters that stand to impact quality of life and the ongoing development of their neighborhood.

We founded the Residents’ Association for one simple reason: to enable civic engagement.  We expected to engage 30-40 residents across a few residential buildings but what transpired over a few short weeks was completely unexpected. Through word of mouth, basic research of the proponent’s public filings, and a data driven approach, hundreds of Downtown Boston residents organized and engaged to shine the spotlight on obvious issues with the proposed entertainment complex and its proponent.  Despite being dubbed obstructionists by some, we carried forward. History confirms that this effort was both prudent and necessary. As anticipated, the proponent of the failed project is facing several labor lawsuits in multiple states and continues to shutter locations nationwide.  Our neighborhood and City deserved better.

What initially started out as a small, informal group of residents coming together to respond to a challenge quickly evolved into a robust, active residents’ association with over 400 members and growing from across 15 Downtown Boston residential buildings. The Association remains 100% independent and volunteer resident driven. It remains committed to engaging, informing, and empowering Downtown Boston residents by creating a forum for discussion and debate on a wide range of topics related to quality of life and development in Downtown Boston.

Today, we are pleased to share an exciting announcement and milestone.  Based on your feedback, discussions with stakeholders, and our experiences over the past year and a half, the Leadership Team of what has been known as the Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association has decided to rename the Association to Downtown Boston Residents’ Association to more closely align with the neighborhood’s current identity.  Our new website address is You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

We would like to take a moment to thank our elected officials, City agencies, and their dedicated staff; the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (Downtown Boston BID) for their support and partnership since our inception and for their transformational work in Downtown Boston over the last five years; Suffolk University, an important anchor institution in the neighborhood, for providing in-kind meeting space, staff, and security for the majority of our meetings; Chris Damian and the team at SIP Wine Bar and Kitchen for hosting our first public meeting; the Ritz-Carlton Boston for providing in-kind meeting space; the Boston Police Department and MBTA Transit Police for protecting and serving the neighborhood and engaging with the Association; and you, the residents of Downtown Boston, the lifeblood of this great neighborhood.

Please feel free to share this message with fellow neighbors and stakeholders.  We look forward to our continued work together.


The Leadership Team

To subscribe to our newsletter, please click here.

Next monthly meeting on 5/9, 7pm

Our next meeting will be held on Monday, May 9th, 7PM, at the Modern Theatre.

Monday, May 9, 2016 at 7:00PM
The Modern Theatre (courtesy of Suffolk University)
525 Washington Street
(Handicap Accessible)


7:00PM  General updates

7:15PM  Collin Yip of Rafi Properties to present proposed plans for 533 Washington Street (former Felt site) followed by Q&A.  A friendly reminder to treat all speakers with respect and maintain decorum.  Project  information, including the Project Notification Form (PNF), can be found on the BRA website.  Please see below for upcoming dates and milestones, including the comment period, related to this project.  The first IAG (Impact Advisory Group) meeting was held last week.


Save the Date
Monday, June 13th, 7PM (Suffolk Law School Courtroom (Room # 425))
Midwood will present their proposed plans for One Bromfield Street


The following information was received from Raul Duverge of the BRA – he is the Project Manager for the 533 Washington Street project:


Community Meeting – Thursday, 5/5/16 at 6:00pm
I [Raul] will be hosting the first general community meeting on the proposed project on the date/time noted above. This meeting will be advertised in the local newspapers and will be held in Boston City Hall, 5th Floor – Piemonte Room, 1 City Hall Sq. Boston, MA.02201. If you arrive to City Hall after 5:30 pm, please enter through the Congress Street entrance as the plaza entrance closes at 5:30 pm. This will be the more appropriate forum for members of the general public to attend, ask questions, and learn more about the project and the review process moving forward.

The comment period associated with the PNF will conclude on Monday, May 16, 2016. For more information on this project, and to submit comments online, please visit: 

Next monthly meeting on Monday, 4/11

Monday, April 11, 2016 at 7:00PM
The Modern Theatre (courtesy of Suffolk University)
525 Washington Street

(Handicap Accessible)

7:00PM  AMC Loews Boston Common will discuss proposed late night events
7:15PM  Sweetgreens to present plans for two new locations in the neighborhood
7:30PM  MCDRA Leadership Team introduction
7:45PM  171 Tremont Street project team to present revised plans (moderated discussion and Q&A) (please note: the project team has asked to reschedule)

Next monthly meeting on March 14th, 7PM

Our March meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 14, 2016 at 7:00PM (Suffolk Law School):

Monday, March 14, 2016 at 7:00PM
Suffolk University Law School (Room 295)
120 Tremont Street

(Handicap Accessible)

We look forward to seeing many of you at the MCDRA Wine Tasting at Gordon’s Fine Wine & Liquors (39 Temple Place) on Monday, February 29 from 5:00PM – 7:00PM.  Tickets are $10 per person and include tastings and snacks!  A limited number of tickets remain.  Tickets can be purchased here.


7:00PM  Boston Police Department and MBTA Transit Police Update

7:15PM  Announcement regarding expansion of the MCDRA Leadership Team

7:30PM  Chris Cook, Commissioner, Boston Parks & Recreation, will be joining us for a discussion around our open spaces, including the Boston Common and the new proposed Visitor Center

8:15PM  Other Updates, including the proposed developments at 171 Tremont Street, 533 Washington Street, and Bromfield / Washington Streets

Page 1 of 41234