Bowing to stiff community opposition, Boston developer Donald J. Chiofaro is proposing to lower the overall height of his proposed office and residential complex near the New England Aquarium, by lopping off a large decorative rectangular arch and reducing the tallest building by at least 65 feet.
The rectangular arch, or terra-cotta skyframe, would have topped the development off at 780 feet. Removing it, and building a shorter tower would reduce the overall height by 155 feet, or 20 percent. In an interview Chiofaro also said he wants to add a roof-top public observatory and extend a planned walkway to directly link the aquarium with the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. (The image shown on the left is the rendering for the previous plan for the towers, which has since been amended. Image is courtesy Kohn Pedersen Fox Architects.)
"This is the one site in the city that can really deliver what's needed for the Greenway," Chiofaro said of the property, which is now occupied by the Harbor Garage, a hulking concrete structure that would would be demolished as part of his $1 billion redevelopment plan.
Chiofaro wants to build two towers -- one office and the other for a hotel and condominiums -- on a 57,000-square-foot parcel along Atlantic Avenue. The project would include ground-floor shopping with restaurants, stores and a food market, and 1,400 parking spaces underground.
Initially, Chiofaro had proposed the residential building at 690 feet and the office at 580 feet, with the two connected by the terra-cotta skyframe. But neighbors oppose it and the Massachusetts Port Authority raised concerns that the development would interfere with air traffic to and from Logan International Airport.
Chiofaro said Massport officials have asked that the development be no higher than 625 feet. "I have no problem with 625 feet, if that's where end up," he said.