Design Review Hearing for approval being held for 566 Columbus Avenue (Harriet Tubman House)

Dear Neighbors,

There is Design Review Hearing for approval being held for 566 Columbus Avenue (Harriet Tubman House) by the South End Landmark District Commission (SELDC) on Tuesday March 17th, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  The purpose of the meeting is to review a revised design proposal by New Boston Ventures. The public can offer testimony during this meeting or by calling 311 beforehand.

Meeting Logistics:

  • March 17, 2020 at 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm projected adjournment
  • City Hall, Room 900 (9th floor) but please use the Congress Street entrance if arriving after 5:30 pm
  • 85 West Newton is the first agenda that may last between ½ hour to 2 hours.  566 Columbus Avenue is the second agenda item.    

Overall Project Status:

  • SELDC approved demolition of 566 Columbus in 2019.
  • BPDA approval on December 13, 2019
  • SELDC initial advisory design review on January 7, 2020 
  • Construction timeline is TBD

During the advisory design review by SELDC was held on January 7th, there were many suggestions made by the Commissioners to the applicant.  New Boston Ventures will provide a revised design at the March 17th meeting for approval.

Some key concerns raised by neighbors and SELDC include the following:

  • Overall “massing” of the building
  • Building height and setbacks on West Springfield Street and Massachusetts Avenue, is too high and exceeds height SELDC standards & criteria
  • Shadow impact to buildings on neighboring streets
  • Parking entrance on Mass Ave will allow one car to enter or exit. Concern of street congestion and obstructing pedestrian and bike traffic
  • Façade of building is a concern and does not meet the architecture and design features of the South End

Example of Height Impact:

Once we receive the new proposed design:

  • Publish via our email notification process
  • Publish to our CNA website (CNAboston@gmail.com)
  • Send your comments to Mary Cirbus at mary.cirbus@boston.gov at SELDC and CNAboston@gmail.com  
  • Call 311 to provide comments
  • The new design can also be found on SELDC’s website 48 hours before the meeting (https://www.boston.gov/public-notices/11563101)
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