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.


A new residents’ association for Midtown / Downtown Crossing

The Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association (MCDRA) was founded in October 2014 by a group of Midtown / Downtown Crossing residents. Concerned that residents lacked a voice in the proposed development of Latitude 360, a 40,000+ square foot, 1,100+ person entertainment complex, in the neighborhood, the group mobilized and subsequently launched MCDRA to ensure that residents have a voice that is commensurate with their role in the ongoing development of the neighborhood.

MCDRA, by design, is a transparent, fact-based association that is run exclusively by volunteer residents to ensure that Boston’s Midtown / Downtown Crossing residents are informed and have a voice in matters that impact the quality of life in and development of the neighborhood.  The Association liaises with elected officials and other stakeholders to provide an informed, conflict-of-interest free perspective on opportunities and issues that stand to impact the neighborhood. MCDRA requires that members disclose any conflicts of interest and that they reside in the neighborhood.

Government, residents, businesses, developers, and anchor institutions, such as universities, play important roles in catalyzing development and revitalization of this neighborhood. Together, we have the potential to once again make Midtown / Downtown Crossing one of Boston’s most vibrant, thriving neighborhoods.


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