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Transitions of Trust How team dynamics determine a project’s outcome

Jennifer Taylor_Jessica Twiggs


Background Introduction

Abstract

03

Learning Objective

04 05 07 09 15

Site Context

Perspectives

Time line of Players Developers Architects Community Groups

Analysis

Crosstown Design

Conclusion

19 21 22 23 24 25 26 29 35 41 45 49 51 53 54

• Site History • Neighborhood Context • Amenities & Infrastructure • Crosstown Site

• Kirk Sykes • Corcoran Jennison • Primary Group • ADD Inc. • BRA • Boston Connects • Schematic Design • Phase One • Phase Two • Phase Three • Post-Occupancy • Lessons Learned • Precedents • Summary


Abstract

Background Introduction

• How has the site determined the project’s outcome?

03

• How does this building benefit the community?

• How has a shift of roles affected the overall project?

This Case Study intends to explore the events that led up to the development of the Crosstown Center project at the busy intersection of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue. This area is known as a “gateway into Boston” due to direct access from Routes 93 and 90. For these reasons among others, developer Kirk Sykes saw the potential in this land to economically stimulate and provide opportunities to the surrounding underprivileged community. The end product serves as a valued extension to the neighboring Boston University Medical Center and a vital part of Boston’s hospital network. Crosstown Center’s ground floor retail space, however, has not generated the clientele that they had hoped. In this case study we will explore potential reasons for this. After the construction of Crosstown Center, the Roxbury Master Plan was proposed and developed to transform the area along Melnea Cass into a more pedestrian friendly zone. This has yet to be pursued. One of the most unique aspects of this project is the shift of roles of the key players. After the Schematic Design Phase, the project’s design and intent underwent significant transformations once the roles of architects, developer and financier changed. When development company, Corcoran Jennison became partial owners, they decided to bring on ADD Inc. as the architects while the Primary Group, started by Kirk Sykes, cut back their participation. Kirk Sykes was the constant working on this project from the onset. During the course of the project, he changed hats from architect to developer to financier while maintaining part-ownership of the Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel. His status as a local minority developer earned him respect and engendered community trust for this project strategically located in Boston’s impoverished empowerment zone. He used his position to facilitate between project support and financing by making commitments with local community groups. As the project transitioned, the community’s needs became less of a priority fell by the waist side. His commitment to the community wavered and this case study will look into the reasons why this trust was not maintained.

Background_Abstract


How do complex dynamics affect the outcome of an urban renewal project in which trust is the generating factor?

Background_Learning Objective

Background

Learning Objective:

04


Charles Bullfinch created a master plan with many pockets of green space scattered throughout, some with fountains, that were surrounded by brick townhouses with iron railings.

The South End was built on tidal flats filled in an attempt to curb the growing population since the early 1800s.

05

South End also began to attract a number of the city’s churches, hospitals, and other institutions, including Boston City Hospital and the Boston University Medical Center, which merged to form the Boston Medical Center in 1996.

Financial crisis led to exodus of wealthy tenants when property values plummeted to the newly infilled Back Bay neighborhood.

Background_Site History

1960s

1950s

1940s

1930s

1920s

1910s

1900s

1890s

1880s

1870s

1860s

1850s

1840s

Background Introduction

Site History

The South End underwent urban renewal. Notable constructions included many affordable housing developments around the neighborhood as well as many factories, creating a significant industrial area.

Increased crime and poverty led to deterioration. South End Historical Society formed to preserve architecture and culture of area.


South End named a Boston Landmark District.

2000s

Rent Control ends in Boston.

13%

South End Roxbury

12% 11% 40%

15%

16%

12% 34%

11% 25% 45%

45%

39%

9%

10% 6.5%

6.3%

5.2% 10%

4.5%

71,095

27,125

57,751

28,759

58,759

Population by Race Unemployment Rate

6.9%

8.9%

12%

15% 22,680

Roxbury Median Family Income 25%

0.8% 76%

23%

47%

South End Median Family Income

0.6% 65% $10,773

$6,582

Hispanic Asian Black White

7% 12% 39%

$6,122

$14,571

0.3% 77%

19% $22,663

$26,884

$35,416

6.5% 0.3% 74%

$29,682

South End listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Phase 2 Completed

1990s

1980s

1970s

Design for Crosstown Center Begins

Background

Phase 1 Completed

28,160

55,663

Total Population

Background_Site History

06


Empowerment Zone

Chelsea

Background Introduction

What is an Empowerment Zone?

Charlestown East Boston

A federally designated area that contains the

City of Cambridge

city’s neighborhoods with the highest degree of

Central

poverty and urban blight. Empowerment Zone designation provides tax incentives to local

BackBay/ Beacon Hill

Empowerment Zone. Fenway/ Kenmore

Crosstown Center is located in the heart of Boston’s Empowerment Zone. This federally designated area includes portions of Boston’s most diverse and impoverished neighborhoods [Boston EZ.org]. Overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Empowerment Zone program was created in 1994 under the Clinton-Gore administration. In an effort to create jobs and remove blight from designated urban areas, the program offers tax incentives to businesses within the Empowerment Zone. In order to qualify for these tax incentives, business owners must hire and train a certain percentage of Empowerment Zone residents.

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Logan Airport

AllstonBrighton

businesses who train and hire residents of the

Boston’s 5.8 square mile Empowerment Zone contains portions of Chinatown, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Roxbury, the Seaport District, South Boston, and the South End. The area is home to 57,640 residents, roughly 10% of the Boston’s population. (Boston EZ). Empowerment Zone funding is managed by Boston Connects, Inc, a non-profit organization charged with implementing the long-term vision of the plan. The organization helps connect area businesses with funding under the condition that they hire a percentage of Empowerment Zone residents. Boston Connects also provides residents with job training so that they can qualify for the new job opportunities.

Background_Neighborhood Context

Winthrop

South End South Boston

Town of Brookline

Harbor Islands

Roxbury

North Dorchester

Jamaica Plain

South Dorchester

Roslindale

Mattapan

West Roxbury

Hyde Park

Figure 1: Map of Boston’s Empowerment Zone Empowerment Zone= 5.8 square miles Population= 57,640 residents (10% of Boston’s Population [Boston EZ.org]


One of the primary focus areas of this plan is the Crosstown Corridor, defined as the buildings, parcels, and streetscape on either side of Melnea Cass Boulevard from its intersection with Massachusetts avenue to its intersection with Columbus Avenue. It also includes the section of Tremont Street from Melnea Cass to New Dudley Street at Roxbury Crossing (Menino, Maloney). The Corridor functions as a primary entrance to the city via the Southeast Expressway, however the existing structures and land use do not capitalize on this opportunity. Many of the parcels in this area are vacant or under used and there is a lack of design and functional organization between existing buildings.

Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Crosstown Corridor

Background

Many communities within the Empowerment Zone have taken on their own specific planning initiatives. The Roxbury Strategic Master Plan is one of the most significant neighborhood redevelopment initiatives to emerge within the Empowerment Zone. In 2004 the Boston Redevelopment Authority released this extensive proposal to strengthen the socioeconomic core of Roxbury over a ten to twenty year period.

Located at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, Crosstown Center is an anchoring project to the future of the Crosstown Corridor development. Although the project was begun before the master plan was in place it represents the future of development in the changing neighborhood.

Figure 2: Map of Crosstown Corridor with massing of the proposed Crosstown Center development

Background_Neighborhood Context

08


Background Introduction

Hospital Affiliations

“Crosstown Center is a vital part of the hospital network.” - Building Manager Paul Rogan

The most significant advantage of this particular site is its proximity to other hospitals. From the beginning, Mayor Menino declared his intentions to spread biotech research labs and offices from the crowded Longwood area across Roxbury toward the underdeveloped Boston Medical Center (Powell). As a result, the office building is nearly completely occupied by tenants from Boston Medical Center, Boston University and Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Paul Rogan, the building manager, considers Crosstown Center a “vital part of the hospital network.” He pointed out that only 40% of the parking spaces at Crosstown Center are occupied by employees from the adjacent Boston Medical Center. Since parking is a problem at many of Boston’s hospitals, the remaining 60% of the parking spaces are employees commuting elsewhere. The MASCO bus system connects the Crosstown Center with the rest of the hospital network to bring those people to their work. This is a private enterprise, however, and getting to this site via public transportation poses a small challenge. Most MBTA subway stops are nearly a mile away from the site with the exception of the silver line which is nearly 0.5 miles away.

Hampton Inn & Suites

Flr 7: Brigham & Women’s Hospital Flr 6: Brigham & Women’s Hospital Flr 5: Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Flr 4: Boston University Flr 3: Boston University Flr 2: Boston Medical Center Flr 1: Boston Medical Center Figure 3: North elevation showing breakdown of hospital tenants within the building

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Background_Amenities & Infrastructure


T

3.0 mile Mass General Hospital

T T

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Background

Mass Eye & Ear Infirmary

T T

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T

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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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Childrens Hospital

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MA

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SC

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line

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Brigham & Women’s Hospital

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BU Medical Center

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New England Medical Center

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Biosquare Boston City Hospital T

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Faulkner Hospital

Figure 4: Map showing 3.0 mile radius around Crosstown Center

Background_Amenities & Infrastructure

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Background Introduction

Vehicular Access

Both the developer Kirk Sykes and Mayor Menino saw great potential in this 6.7 acre site on two heavily travelled streets and adjacent to interstate highways 90 and 93 (Palmer). They anticipated that this “gateway to Boston” would attract enough visitors passing through to economically rejuvenate the blighted zone.

“This is a gateway to Boston.”

Project architect, Mike Hass, however, identified the site as one of the biggest design hurdles of the project. In front of the Crosstown site, Melnea Cass Blvd.. spans nearly 10 lanes of traffic and Mass Ave spans 6 with the typical vehicle travelling at an average of 50 mph. Hass said that “stopping on either Mass Ave. or Melnea Cass Blvd.. would be taking your life into your own hands.” They reached a decision to build an internal culde-sac for vehicular access to the site.

- Mayor Thomas Menino (Richardson, Boston Globe)

Figure 7: Aerial Map showing proximity to neighborhoods and highways

Logan Airport Financial District

Beacon Hill

Seaport District World Trade Center

Back Bay

South Boston

South End

Figure 5: Interstate highways near Crosstown Center

MASS AVE.

to South

opping

Bay Sh

MASS AV

ST .

E.

AL

BA

NY

Lower Roxbury

Figure 6: Sidewalk along Mass Ave.

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Background_Amenities & Infrastructure

A MELNE

D. LV B S CA S

Crosstown Access to Center Internal Cul-de-sac Site

New Market Area


Background

1.0 mile

0.5 mi le

0. 2 5

m

ile

South Bay Shopping Center.

Mixed Use Commercial Industrial Institutional

Figure 8: Map showing 1.0 mile radius from Crosstown Center with Land uses

Background_Amenities & Infrastructure

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Background Introduction

Pedestrian Access

“This is part of a new oasis in the city.� - Mayor Thomas Menino (Richardson, Boston Globe)

Analysis of the immediate surrounding shows a lack of establishments that match the retail intended for Crosstown Center. The commercial businesses nearby rely mostly on visitors travelling by car with large parking lots to accommodate them. A closer look at the types of commercial businesses within a quarter mile radius prove that this area caters to the needs of the driver. There are many auto establishments including gas stations, auto repairs, car rentals, a car wash and junk yard. There are also a handful of vacant buildings and vast overgrown parking lots that further dissuade pedestrians from visiting this area. During rush hour, people walk up and down the medians on Melnea Cass Blvd.. and Mass Ave to sell flowers to commuters. These heavily travelled streets are difficult for cars to stop on and even more difficult to cross as a pedestrian. All of these factors result in a significant absence of pedestrian life in this area.

Figure 9: Abandoned building adjacent to site

Figure 10: 6 lanes of traffic and a flower salesman

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Figure 11: Melnea Cass is the dividing line between pedestrian friendly and vehicular dominance

Background_Amenities & Infrastructure


Background

0.25 mile

Pacific Restaurant Skipton Pet Center Pizza Stop New China Restaurant

Bubbles Car wash Planet Self-Storage

CVS V&N Auto Body, Inc. SEIU SEIU Conference Center

South Bay Grille Mobil McDonald’s AP Mufflers & Pipes

Boston Water & Sewer Commission Boston Body Works WCEA TV La Semana Orchard Gardens K-8 School JJ Metals

Best Western Roundhouse Suites Sunoco United Rentals DB&S Lumber & Building Materials Wing Fook Funeral Home Hertz Umbro Construction Site & Utility Work

Vacant Building Mixed Use

Paul Revere Transportation Midas

Commercial Industrial Institutional

Figure 12: Map showing businesses within immediate range with auto-reliant businesses highlighted

Background_Amenities & Infrastructure

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Background Introduction

Crosstown Center Site Context

In 1965 Boston created the forty-year South End Urban Renewal Plan which designated the future Crosstown Center site for light industrial and commercial use only (BRA). In the late 1970’s Boston embarked upon an ambitious plan the through the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation which pushed for the phased development of the Crosstown Industrial Park. The stated objective of this plan was to promote employment through the development of labor intensive industrial and manufacturing uses. This led to the construction of the Digital Equipment Corporation Building in the late 1970’s. The factory was used for manufacturing computer keyboards and related equipment. In the early 1990’s the company experienced setbacks due to the changing computer industry and ultimately closed the manufacturing plant (Primary Group, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin). In 1991 the city created the Roxbury Neighborhood district, Article 50 of the Boston zoning code. This established the New Market Industrial Development Area, within which the site is located, to encourage expansion of the manufacturing base and job opportunities. Throughout the 1990’s plans were pursued for a biotechnology “incubator” space on the site, however the project was never realized (Primary Group, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin). On November 4, 1998 The BRA hosted the Crosstown Center Public Meeting to discuss the potential for a change in zoning for the project site. They wanted to explore the potential for a mixed-use development, as developer Kirk Sykes was trying to pursue. Over 100 community members attended the meeting. Over twenty-five members of the community, representing their organizations or themselves, expressed strong support for the redevelopment of the Crosstown Center site (Primary Group, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin). The redesignation of the site by Crosstown Associates qualifies as a temporary solution under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP) due to the site’s contamination with petroleum products, lead and plycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Once it was labelled as a brownfield site, the Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative began their campaign to safely clean up and sustainably reuse brownfields (Primary Group, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin).

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Background_Crosstown Site


This was created to encourage people to work together to prevent, assess, clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. The program also provides job training for residents of brownfield

Background

What is a Brownfield Economic Redevelopment Initiative?

communities to safely clean up the sites.

Figure 13: Corner of Mass Ave and Melnea Cass Blvd... Figure 14: Crosstown Center Site Map with landscaping

Background_Crosstown Site

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Perspectives

Time line of Players Developers Architects Community Groups

19 21 22 23 24 25 26

• Kirk Sykes • Corcoran Jennison • Primary Group • ADD Inc. • BRA • Boston Connects


Phase 3 2007

2004

Phase 2

2001

Phase 1

1997

Pre-Design

Mayor Menino Boston Redevelopment Authority

Development Facilitator The affect of their ownership role p.25

Crosstown Center Council

The Primary Group Disbands Where they are today p.23

Carol R. Johnson Assoc.

David Seeley

Primary Group

ADD Inc.

The New Architect Why they replaced the Primary Group p.24

Kirk Sykes

Kirk Sykes

Crosstown’s Founder Why he got involved p. 21

Crosstown Assoc.

Interwoven Relationships

Corcoran Jennison

Beacon Skanska

Working with a “sister company” p. 22

Cor-Jen Construction

Boston Redevelopment Authority Loews Entertainment Corp. FleetBoston Financial Corp. Boston Connects

Project Facilitator Their integral role in the project’s success p.26

Private Funds


Community Liaison: Mayor Menino Boston Redevelopment Authority: 1 City Hall Square, Boston t. 617.722.4300 Community: Carol R. Johnson Associates: Council is 24-member board comprising residents of the South End, Roxbury, Lower Roxbury, and New Market. Landscape Architect: Carol R. Johnson Associates: 115 Broad St, Boston t. 617.896.2500

Perspectives

Architects: David Seeley: t. 617.423.3105 Primary Group: 38 Chauncy St, Boston t. 617.451.5700 ADD Inc: 311 Summer St, Boston t. 617.234.3100 Developer: Kirk Sykes at USA Fund: 60 State Street Suite 1500, Boston t. 617-723-7760 Client: Crosstown Associates: made up of Kirk Sykes, Gene Sisco and Tom Welch Corcoran Jennison: 150 Mount Vernon St, Boston Construction: Beacon Skanska Cor-Jen Construction: Subset of Corcoran Jennison Funding: Boston Redevelopment Authority: 1 City Hall Square, Boston t. 617.722.4300 Loews Entertainment Corp. FleetBoston Financial Corp. Boston Connects: 2201 Washington St, Suite 302, Roxbury t. 617.989.9180

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Perspectives_Time line of Players


1997

2001

Phase 2

Phase 3 2007

Phase 1

2004

Pre-Design

Mayor Menino

Boston Redevelopment Authority

Crosstown Center Council

David Seeley

Primary Group

Kirk Sykes

Kirk Sykes

Perspectives

Carol R. Johnson Assoc.

ADD Inc.

Crosstown Assoc.

Corcoran Jennison

Beacon Skanska

Cor-Jen Construction

Boston Redevelopment Authority Loews Entertainment Corp. FleetBoston Financial Corp. Boston Connects Private Funds

Perspectives_Time line of Players

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Kirk Sykes

Architect/ Developer

Perspectives

• Principal/Founder of Primary Group • Partial owner of Hampton Inn & Suites • President/Managing Director of USA Fund • 21st century Black Massachusetts Lifetime Achievement Award, 2005

Involvement in Crosstown Center This project was the vision of Kirk Sykes. He selected the site because he felt the neighborhood was lacking basic goods and services and was looking to stimulate economic development. It was important for Sykes that the site was next to income generators such as hospitals, near the expressway, and on Massachusetts Avenue. Kirk Sykes and the Primary Group did all the original concept work for Crosstown Center. While the development of Crosstown Center was underway, he formed Crosstown Associates with Tom Welch and Gene Sisco as an owner partnership. Once Gene Sisco and Loews Cineplex backed out of the project, Corcoran Jennison was brought on. Kirk Sykes along with Tom Welch own about 45% of the Crosstown Center while the remaining 55% is owned by Corcoran Jennison.

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Perspectives_Developers_Kirk Sykes

Kirk Sykes Profile Kirk Sykes began his career as an architect and founded the Primary Group. While practicing architecture, he felt that his main job was to be a developer not an architect and the Primary Group disbanded. Kirk said that “as an architect I felt there was only so much I could achieve by design. I felt using economics to influence communities was more important.” With his experience as president of the Primary Group, Developers and Architects, and his service as a member of FleetBank and BankBoston’s First Community Bank Advisory Board, he has experience in nearly all aspects of real estate transactions. He has reviewed many of the largest development projects in Boston as a mayoral appointee to the Boston Civic Design Commission. Currently, Kirk Sykes is president of Urban Strategy America Fund and leads the partnership equity placement, identifies investments and developments, and manages the day-to-day business operations. The USA Fund was created by New Boston Fund that promises to generate triple-bottom line returns to investors by developing work force and affordable housing in projects that promote economic development, environmental sustainability and smart growth (USA Fund).


Corcoran Jennison Profile Corcoran Jennison Development was started in 1971 by Joe Corcoran and Gary Jennison. Since then they have developed almost $2 billion worth of property nationwide. Local projects include the redevelopment of the former Columbia Point public housing project, the Don Bosco School in Chinatown, and the Bayside Exposition Center off the Southeast Expressway (Vaillancourt, C1).

Corcoran Jennison Hospitality was formed in 1985 to open and operate Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club on Cape Cod. Since that time CJH has been providing real estate development and management services to investors, clients and partners in the hospitality industry (Corcoran Jennison Companies).

Corcoran Jennison Developer

• A parent company branches in Development, Management, Construction and Hospitality • Named “Development Company of the Year” by the National Association of Homebuilders

Perspectives

CorJen Builders was founded after the success of the development firm and has built a national reputation for quality construction, specializing in fast track design/build, preconstruction services and construction management. CorJen clients include institutions, private and public owners, and non-profit groups (Corcoran Jennison Companies).

Involvement in Crosstown Center Corcoran Jennison became involved in the Crosstown Center project in 2001 after both Loews Cinema and FleetBoston dropped out of the project. They took on Fleet Boston’s 45% share of ownership, leaving the majority of ownership in the hands of the existing minority development team. Together Corcoran Jennison, Kirk Sykes and Tom Welch formed the ownership group, CJ Crosstown Associates LLC. (Palmer, A1). Once they joined the project Corcoran Jennison acted as the project manager, handling issues on site and corresponding between the architects and the other members of the development team (Nash). When Corcoran Jennison Development signed onto the project it also meant that their sister company, CorJen construction became the contractors for the project. Developers and other members of the project were open about occasional conflicts between the companies. Also involved in the project was Corcoran Jennison Hospitality, who took over management of the hotel once it opened. Since they did not become involved until after construction was finished, there were no issues of conflict Corcoran Jennison Hospitality and any of the other Corcoran Jennison Companies.

Perspectives_Developers_Corcoran Jennison

22


Involvement in Crosstown Center The Primary Group was involved during the schematic design phase of the project in which they focused on urban planning with schematic massings and collaborated with Landscape Architect, Carol R. Johnson Associates. They hired David Seeley as the renderer of the initial designs who later became project designer. The project was taken to the phase of Design Development and was presented to the Boston Civic Design Commission. At that time, the project relied heavily on Loews for support. As a result, the design was derailed once Loews backed out in 2001, and was replaced by Corcoran Jennison. During this shift of developers, the role of Primary Group dwindled until they disbanded completely. ADD Inc transitioned into the project. Kirk Sykes described the transition as such; “Because I owned the firm I was able to do all of the early stage concept work. I brought in Add Inc. because I wanted to bring on a high design architect to give the space an identity.”

Primary Group

Perspectives

• The Primary Group consists of architects and developers • The Primary Group disbanded in [2004-2006] as a result of founder Kirk Sykes’ decision to venture into financing and development.

The Primary Group Firm Profile The Primary Group focused highly on creating a collaborative process by working with other team members, government entities and community organizations. They specialize in project coordination amongst various parties to deliver a successful and thoroughly integrated project. The Primary Group worked almost entirely in Boston, with just a handful of projects falling in bordering states. All projects were sited in urban environments and included a wide array of building typologies mostly civic, collegiate, and corporate. The firm was highly focused on serving the community and creating buildings that melded to the existing fabric. In interviews for the Crosstown Center project, Sykes made it clear that he was dedicated to improving local communities for the benefit of the current residents in an urban environment. He made many efforts to reduce gentrification by hiring minority owned retail franchises. He targeted blighted areas for design that could stimulate the area economically.

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Perspectives_Architects_Primary Group


Involvement in Crosstown Center ADD Inc’s reputation for being a high design architectural firm, encouraged Corcoran Jennison and Kirk Sykes to select them for the project in 2001. Kirk Sykes believed they would “give the space an identity.” In the beginning, they worked with the Primary Group until their role diminished. They worked most closely with the Boston Redevelopment Authority and Corcoran Jennison. Mike Hass was the principal in charge since ADD Inc. became involved in 2001 and throughout phases one and two. He is still working currently on developing phase three, even though it is on hold at the moment. The site has been roped off in the hopes of future development.

ADD Inc. Firm Profile

ADD Inc. • Has won countless awards for design, preservation and sustainability • Was brought on to the Crosstown Center project by Corcoran Jennison and Kirk Sykes in 2001.

Perspectives_Architects_ADD Inc.

Perspectives

ADD Inc. is involved in all types of projects located mostly in New England. ADD Inc. contributes to metropolitan regions by designing large scale urban planning initiatives. ADD Inc. gives back to the community by supporting a range of charity efforts from direct funding to providing time and materials. They encourage clients to embrace socially conscious principles. ADD Inc. practices regularly in collaboration between multiple parties. They are currently transitioning the office to use tools such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) and incorporating this technology into their design process.

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Boston Redevelopment Authority Perspectives

Community Liaison

• Owner of Crosstown Center site • Designated site as an urban renewal zone which invited new development proposals for the area • Helped secure over $17 million worth of city funds for the Crosstown Center project

Boston Redevelopment Authority Profile The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) was established in 1957 to lead development and planning initiatives within the city of Boston. Today their job has expanded even further to include owning and operating several Boston based industrial properties, development of job training and placement services, and providing financing and loan programs for area businesses. The BRA has worked to develop planning initiatives for many areas of Boston, including some directly adjacent to the Crosstown site.

Involvement in Crosstown Center The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) had a significant involvement in the design and development process for Crosstown Center. Their designation of the site as an urban renewal zone is part of what enticed developer Kirk Sykes about starting a project there. The BRA is still maintains ownership of the land, but has a 65 year lease with Sykes for the development of that land. The BRA worked closely with the mayor on this project as was responsible for relaying his opinions to the developers and architects. Mayor Menino felt strongly about the project due to it’s “gateway” location, signifying its importance as one of the main entrances to the city from the expressway (BRA Press Release). The BRA was also responsible for pushing the inclusion of the Harbor Walk Extension Trail in the Crosstown Center site. Over $2 million dollars worth of city funds were awarded to the project specifically for the construction of this pedestrian-friendly path (BRA Press Release). Overall the BRA helped secure $17 million dollars worth of funding for the Crosstown Center project.

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Perspectives_Community Groups_BRA


Boston Connects Inc. Profile

Boston Connects, Inc. Community Representative

• Non-profit agency responsible for distributing over $25 million dollars to projects and programs with Boston’s Empowerment Zone • Links Empowerment Zone residents to new economic opportunity-through job creation, ESL, day care, skills training, or alternative education

Perspectives

Boston Connects Inc. (BCI) is a non-profit agency started in 1999 after the Clinton administration designated the Boston Empowerment Zone (EZ), an area eligible for federal funding due to extremely impoverished conditions. BCI is responsible for distributing the federal EZ funds, working directly with community members to understand and support the needs of the neighborhood. While Boston Connects has received $25 million dollars over the past 10 years, it is only a quarter of the money they were promised. Though Empowerment Zones were strongly supported during the Clinton administration, they were ignored completely during the Bush administration leaving BCI with a lack of funds to put back into the community (Carrington). Despite the lack of funding, BCI has managed to contribute to many viable EZ projects including the Grove Hall Mall, Boston Social Service Agency and the South End Health Center (Carrington). The 1999 EZ designation was good for ten years meaning that unless President Obama redesignates the Boston Empowerment Zone, BCI will go out of business which would cut job training and support programs currently in place (Carrington).

• Helped secure over $50 million in federal funds for Crosstown Center

Involvement in Crosstown Center After facing many hurdles in the early years of the project, developer Kirk Sykes attributed the eventual success of Crosstown Center to the support and backing of Boston Connects Inc. (Goodison). Once the non-profit became involved in the project developers were able to secure over $50 million dollars in federal funding due to the Empowerment Zone location. In order to secure this funding developers made deals with the agency to support job training and placement programs including, Transitions to Employment, providing residents with entry-level job-readiness training and “city/build” program introducing inner-city youth to careers in design, development, and construction. (Macht, 22). Boston Connects worked hard to secure these programs for their residents and initially felt confident in contributing to the Crosstown Center project. However, many of these initial commitments were lost throughout the course of the project (See “Phase One” Chapter).

Perspectives_Community Groups_Boston Connects

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Analysis

Crosstown Design

Conclusion

29 35 41 45 49 51 53 54

• Schematic Design • Phase One • Phase Two • Phase Three • Post-Occupancy • Lessons Learned • Precedents • Summary


Collaboration Complications Hotel signage issues between the architect and the BRA p.40

Complex Design Changes Further conflict between architects and the city p.42

The Future of Phase Three Many factors influence when and if this phrase will be built p.46

Retail Vacancies Years after opening, spaces are still empty p.44

Community Involvement Disparity between developers and community group p. 34

Transition Between Architects Different architect, different agenda? p. 36


Begun in 1997 by architect and developer Kirk Sykes, the Crosstown Center project was complex from the very start (Micheli). After developing residential projects on Dudley Street in Roxbury, Sykes identified a lack of services and goods in the area. Believing this would be a good opportunity for development, he began looking for sites that would stimulate economic growth. Sykes searched for a site with surrounding income generators and easy access to transportation. The site on the corner of Melnea Cass and Massachusetts Avenue met these expectations, with close proximity to the expressway and immediate adjacency to area hospitals and the Bio-square development. The site was under

used and undervalued, with only 40,000 square feet on 8 acres of land. The prominent corner location was already zoned by the Boston Redevelopment Authority as an urban renewal area, which opened the doors for a new development. (Sykes). In order to get the project started Kirk Sykes commissioned David Seeley, an employee of his architecture firm The Primary Group, to create schematic renderings for the project in order to generate interest (See Figure 15). The drawings portrayed the site as an area bustling with activity, suggesting that new development could turn the location into a site with “activity 24-hours a day, 7 days a week,

365 days a year” (Sykes). These drawings became the genesis of the project and were used to secure financial backing from Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corporation and Fleet Boston Financial Corporation (Goodison). With two financial giants backing the project Sykes formed the Crosstown Developers, LLC., an ownership team including Sykes, fellow Boston developer Tom Welch, and Gene Sisco, a partner representing Loews (Sykes). The Crosstown Developers used Sykes’ architecture firm, The Primary Group, to generate schematic designs for the site. The initial proposal included a 12-screen Loews movie theatre, a 150-unit Waterford Hotel, 160,000 square foot office building, 62,000 square

Analysis

Crosstown Center Schematic Phase

29

• 150,000 sq.ft. office building • 62,000 sq.ft. retail/entertainment space • 12 screen Loews Cineplex • 150 Key Hotel • 1,292 space parking garage

Figure 15: Initial design for Crosstown Center at the corner of Mass Ave, and Melnea Cass Boulevard

Analysis_Crosstown Design_Schematic Design


Chelsea

Charlestown East Boston

Winthrop

City of Cambridge

Central Logan Airport

AllstonBrighton

BackBay/ Beacon Hill Fenway/ Kenmore MA

SC

Town of Brookline

South End South Boston

Ol

ine

Harbor Islands

Roxbury

North Dorchester

feet of retail/entertainment space and a 1,292 space parking garage. The developers secured income by arranging a deal with the Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization (MASCO), a consortium of five hospitals in the Longwood Medical Area. Developers signed a 30-year lease for daytime use of 750 spaces to be used by MASCO employees who would then be shuttled to the Longwood Area. The 542 remaining spaces were allocated to office retail uses at a ratio of 2.5:1. This original scheme also included a private, covered vehicular street, as shown in Figure 17. The street cut through the site providing a hotel and theater drop-off area and easy access for hospital shuttle busses away from the traffic of Melnea Cass Boulevard (Macht, 22). One essential element of the project was the inclusion of the Harbor Trail Park Extension. This was mandated by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and planned as an extension of the existing trail as shown in Figure 16. The trail extends inland to include Boston’s original shoreline, running through along Melnea Cass Boulevard, directly across the Crosstown Center Site (Micheli). The implication of Boston’s original coastline became an integral part of the project’s design. Developers portrayed the project as a physical “gateway” to the neighborhood, by incorporating tower schemes and bold signage along the prominent Mass Ave and Melnea Cass corner of the site (BRA Press Release).

Harbor Trail Park Extension

Roslindale

The Crosstown Center site includes a segment of the proposed Harbor Trail Park, along Melnea Cass Boulevard. The trail represents Boston’s original coastline and was intended to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. It was also meant to act as a connection between Longwood Medical Area, Boston Medical Center area and the walkways on the perimeter of Boston Harbor. (Palmer, D2) The broad, landscaped trail was also intended to separate traffic on busy Melnea Cass Boulevard from the building perimeter, creating a buffer for pedestrians accessing the hotel ground floor retail spaces. (Palmer, A1).

South Dorchester

Mattapan Figure 16: Boston Harbor Trail Map

Analysis_ Crosstown Design_Schematic Design

Analysis

Jamaica Plain

30


Analysis

Figure 18: Section through covered interior street

Figure 17: Rendering of covered interior street

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Analysis_Crosstown Design_Schematic Design

Figure 19: Rendering of movie theater lobby


Figure 20: Proposed Massachusetts Avenue Elevation

Figure 21: Proposed Hampden Street Elevation

Figure 22: Proposed Melnea Cass Boulevard Elevation

Analysis

Figure 23: Proposed Albany Street Elevation

Analysis_ Crosstown Design_Schematic Design

32


Based on these initial schemes, the Crosstown Developers secured a 65-year site lease from the BRA in September of 1999 to develop Crosstown Center parcel. (Palmer, A1). However, this did not mean the project was ready to be built. The developers experienced multiple setbacks after the schematic design phase, causing extensive delays. Soon after the Crosstown Developers secured the lease for the land, one of their main financiers, Loews Cineplex, was forced to drop out of the project due to bankruptcy (Sykes). At the same time Fleet Boston, who owned nearly half the project also decided to drop out, expressing interest in transferring their ownership to another financier. The project experienced even more setbacks in 2001 after the plan had to be modified following the September 11th terrorist attacks. The developers had previously planned to obtain conventional financing for the project after receiving an investment-grade rating from Moody’s Investors Service. However, loaning standards changed significantly after the attacks, reducing the chances that the rating would be reiterated, especially without any financiers lined up. (Goodison) After repeated project delays, a changing economy, and a lack of funding many doubted whether or not Crosstown Center would ever be built. “The banks told the minority owners they needed to get more equity into the deal and so they found partners

who could do that,” said Massachusetts State Representative, Byron Rushing (Vaillancourt, C1). That partner was local development firm, CorcoranJennison. They joined the project, taking on Fleet Boston’s 45% share of ownership. The new addition to the project resulted in the creation of the ownership group, CJ Crosstown Associates LLC. (Palmer, A1). When the firm signed on to the project in November of 2000 the media praised the new partnership, siting that, “the company’s great track record and access to capital gave new energy to a worthwhile project that had been stalled for many months” (Vaillancourt, C1). “This is real shot in the arm for the project,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, a strong advocate for the project from the early planning stages (Vaillancourt, C1). Developer Kirk Sykes saw the partnership as a positive move in the right direction saying, “The net effect is that the project, overall, is a more viable project. The reality is now there’s more control over the project components by the development entities.” (Goodison). Without the control of multiple financing entities, The new development group had more input on the final outcome of the design. New partners Corcoran Jennison saw the project as a great investment. “We are excited about the opportunity to make Crosstown Center an economic gateway for Boston,” said Gary Jennison. “There is $1 billion of investment going into this part of the city.” (Vaillancourt, C1).

Analysis

Crosstown Center Financing

33

• $50 million tax-exempt bonds (EZ) • $17 million invested from city of Boston • $7 million from Boston Connects, Inc. • $4.5 million predevelopment grant through HUD • $2 million from Public Works Development • $700,000 from State Transportation Department • $15,000 from the Edward Ingersoll Browne Family Fund for the design of public art

Analysis_Crosstown Design_Schematic Design

Financing The new partnership gave the project a necessary boost and finally helped Crosstown Center secure funding. Mayor Menino advocated for various city resources to be dedicated to this project, due to it’s “gateway” location (BRA Press Release). Menino’s advocacy proved to be effective, securing nearly $17 million worth of funding from the city. These funds came in form of cash and land costs, plus a $5 million loan from the city (Micheli). Crosstown Center also secured significant federal funding due to its location within the designated Empowerment Zone. This qualified the project for $42 million in low-interest, taxexempt bonds plus an additional $7 million loan from Boston Connects Inc., the agency responsible for distributing Empowerment Zone funding (Vaillancourt, C1) . Crosstown Center received a $4.5 million grant from HUD to be used specifically as equity for the hotel (Macht, 22). The project also received substantial site-based funding including $700,000 from state transportation funds (Palmer, A1), $2 million from the Public Works Economic Development for the Harbor Walk Extension (Macht, 22), and $15,000 from the Edward Ingersoll Browne Family Fund to support the design of public art along the Harbor Walk (BRA Press Release). With financing secured for phase one of the project, the developers were able to move ahead with the project, a significant accomplishment after all the challenges the project encountered.


Community In order to effectively contribute towards the community, Crosstown Developers had early contact with neighborhood groups to determine the significant issues of the area. Developers worked with over 30 different community groups and the Crosstown Center Council, a 24-member neighborhood group comprised of residents of the South End, Roxbury, Lower Roxbury, and New Market. The Council worked with developers from project inception through the completion of the phase one to support and advise the project. They offered perspective regarding common issues concerning employment, traffic, transit and general economic development topics. (BRA Press Release). Of all the issues, one stood out in importance, “Jobs were clearly at the top of the list for all those groups.” said Sykes (Palmer, A1). In order to appeal to the community groups and gain additional funding for the project, Crosstown Developers LLC. agreed to fund $1.5 million for a transitions to employment program supporting jobs generated by Crosstown Center (Macht, 22). The program was meant to include training in work readiness, life skills, and a management training curriculum for upward career mobility. This initial enthusiasm for empowering the neighborhood resulted in near unanimous community support for the Crosstown Center project (Macht, 22).

“The commitment by developers to train community members was never realized.” - Boston Connects Interim Executive Officer, Shirley Carrington on the broken promises made by developers

Figure 24: New Market Industrial District

Disparity between developers and community groups Though developers spoke extensively about enhancing the community and creating jobs, there was a disparity between what was said, and what actually happened. During the financing process for phase one the developers worked directly with Boston Connects Inc. (BCI) to gain federal Empowerment Zone funding. In order to secure funding from BCI the developers agreed to put $1.5 million towards a transitions to employment program meant to provide basic career training programs for community members (Macht, 22).

In order to receive the federal funding, developers also made a commitment to dedicate 60% of the 1,100 jobs (this included both permanent and construction) to community members (Carrington Interview). However, this information was exaggerated in media publications, advertising that, “The center is projected to create 350 construction jobs and 740 permanent jobs for EZ residents” (HUD). Although this was presented by developers and the press as an integral part of the project, these agreements were not followed through.

The job placement program was never completed due to, “lack of funding” (Carrington Interview), despite the fact that the funding received from BCI was contingent upon the creation of that program (Carrington Interview). Furthermore, only about 45% percent of hotel and construction jobs went to community members. Since opening, the hotel numbers have increased to about 55% but still do not meet the standards initially agreed upon to secure project funding from Boston Connects Inc. (Carrington Interview).

Analysis_ Crosstown Design_Schematic Design

Analysis

Community Involvement

34


As Crosstown Center was finally able to move forward, significant changes were made to the project. Corcoran Jennison wanted to rejuvenate the design of by bringing in new architects. They replaced the Primary Group with Boston architects, ADD Inc., a firm they had worked with previously on a university design-build project (Hass). According to Mike Hass, Principal Architect in charge of the project, “The Primary Group had been working on schematic designs for years. Corcoran Jennison felt that bringing on a new architect would give the project a fresh start.” (Hass). To ease the transition between architects, ADD Inc. worked with the Primary Group to understand the key elements of the project and kept them involved as design revisions were made.

Analysis

Crosstown Center Phase One

35

• 112,000 sq.ft. • 9 stories • 175 Key Hotel [89,000 sq.ft.] • 23,000 sq.ft. ground floor retail • 650 space parking garage [5 levels] • Cost: $65 million • Completed: June 2004

Without the movie theater, the hotel became the main focus of phase one. Developers made a deal with Hampton Inn & Suites to build a 175-room hotel, replacing the 150-room Waterford Hotel that was initially planned for the site (Palmer, D2). These twenty-five extra rooms were made available by extra space originally allocated for the theater. The developers knew that the hotel would be an asset to the site based on the surrounding context. It was mainly intended to accommodate and the hotel’s neighbor, Boston Medical Center, which draws about 1 million patients and visitors a year. (Richardson, B2). By pricing the hotel rooms at about $135 a night, a rate considerably lower than most hotels in the city, developers also hoped to compete with downtown hotels. Located directly on the corner of Massachusetts Ave. and Melnea Cass Boulevard, the architects recognized that the design of the hotel was a critical aspect of the project. They marked the corner with a sleek glass stair tower to identify the building’s “gateway” image (See Figure 2 5). Their modern facade design incorporates both smooth and striated metal panels punctuated by glass to create dynamic forms and bring a fresh, contemporary feel

Analysis_Crosstown Design_Phase One

to the neighborhood. (Richardson, B2) Developers approved of the modern design because they believed it would help bring economic revitalization to the community (Richardson, B2) attracting retailers and creating jobs for local residents. The one element of the first phase of development that remained relatively unchanged from schematic design was the parking garage. The core of the garage was built in phase one and then expanded during phase two. Although this part of the project did not receive as much press coverage as the hotel, it was a crucial element that helped secure financing for the entire Crosstown Center project. Developers maintained the 30-year lease of parking spaces by MASCO as originally planned in early negotiations. The only change was that the number of spaces leased was changed from 750 to 500 (Palmer, A1). This decision secured the garage as a revenue producing asset which ultimately enticed investors and helped the project gain funding and approval. (Palmer, A1). The garage is accessed by an internal street and cul-de-sac that also serves as a drop off area for the hotel and MASCO shuttles. Developers had to fight the BRA for the internal street. According to architect Mike Hass, the BRA was worried that, “...we were turning our back on the neighborhood.” Architects and developers had to convince the BRA that an internal street was necessary. “There is no where to pull-over on Melnea Cass” said Hass, “Without an internal street people would not be able to access the retail” (Hass). Harry Nash of Corcoran Jennison shared this view, “On a typical urban site you wouldn’t have a turn around, but this is a transitional space, not downtown.” (Nash Interview). Phase one also included the creation of ground floor retail space in the hotel, however none of the spaces were leased until phase two of the project was underway (Palmer).


“I think to move forward with a hotel in this market is huge. This has been a long haul, and it’s been very difficult.” - Developer Kirk Sykes

Figure 25: Photo of the hotel at the corner of Mass Ave. and Melnea Cass Boulevard

Change of architects, change of agenda? One of the defining moments in the Crosstown Center project was the transition of architects from The Primary Group to ADD Inc. Developer and Primary Group principal, Kirk Sykes, described the transition as amicable saying, “My main job is to be a developer not an architect. Because I owned the firm I was able to do all of the early stage concept work. I brought in Add Inc. because I wanted to bring on a high design architect to give the space an identity” (Sykes Interview). In order to facilitate the transition ADD Inc. worked directly with the

Primary Group to understand the critical elements of the project and move forward with a design. Although the two firms worked together to create a smooth transition, it seems that elements of the project that the developers spoke of were lost in the process. According to Mike Hass, “Many neighborhood groups were involved but I never knew their role in particular.” Kirk was the liaison to all the neighborhood groups. There was not much feedback from the community that we heard of; nothing

from the community held up the project. I don’t recall a lot of interaction, but it may have come to us through Corcoran Jennison” (Hass). Either the communitycentered agenda was not effectively explained to the new architects, or was never a true priority from the start. Since the new architect was unaware of this element, it was not something that was factored into the design process. The lack project leadership and true integration between the various parties involved significantly changed the trajectory of the project.

Analysis_ Crosstown Design_Phase One

Analysis

Transition between Architects

36


Analysis

Figure 26: Hotel Lobby

Figure 27: Hotel breakfast bar

37

Analysis_Crosstown Design_Phase One

Figure 28: Hotel plans


Figure 30: Materials were based on The Hampton Inn & Suite’s signature orange and white colors

Analysis

Figure 29: View of hotel entry from interior street

Figure 31: Parking garage from interior street

Analysis_ Crosstown Design_Phase One

38


“It has it’s advantages. It’s like working with a sibling, there are some issues...” - Corcoran Jennison Developer, Harry Nash on what it was like working with sister company, CorJen Construction

With the changing partners, financiers and designs during phase one, collaboration became a significant issue. While the architects and developers seemed to establish an unwritten hierarchy of communication, issues arose when there were disputes over design and construction decisions. “We mainly dealt with Corcoran Jennison and the BRA”, said architect Mike Hass. “Kirk Sykes and the Primary Group were involved early in phase one, but eventually began to correspond mainly with Corcoran Jennison. The Mayor wanted this to happen politically, but he was not really involved in the hotel project, the BRA is his spokesperson” (Hass).

Analysis

One major collaboration issue arose from the complex relationship between the Corcoran Jennison Companies. Corcoran Jennison Development joined the project as a financier. However, with their commitment came their sister company, CorJen Construction. Although there is no significant relationship between the two companies aside from the parent ownership, it still led to complications within the project. According to architect Mike Hass, “It was complicated working with both companies. There was a little tension between the two, which created a strain because we were caught in the middle.” (Hass). If ADD Inc. had a problem with a construction issue, CorJen would often report straight

39

Analysis_Crosstown Design_Phase One

to Corcoran Jennison rather than dealing with the issue. In turn, Corcoran Jennison had a tendency to agree with CorJen because the cost to rectify changes would come from their parent company. (Hass). Even Corcoran Jennison acknowledged the tension between the two entities. Corcoran Jennison developer Harry Nash said, of working with an affiliated company, “...has its advantages. It’s like working with a sibling, there are some issues but there is a good relationship there” (Nash Interview). Corcoran Jennison’s interrelated structure also contributed towards project delays. After ADD Inc. negotiated their contract with Corcoran Jennison, the contract was transferred to Corcoran Jennison’s Multi-Employer Property Trust [MEPT]. At that point the architects had to renegotiate the contract with the MEPT in order to gain funding. Ultimately the multiple levels of negotiation delayed the construction by six months. Phase one of Crosstown Center opened in June 2004. The hotel sold out for the Democratic National Convention in July of the same year. It became Boston’s first black-owned franchise hotel, and the 18th majority minority-owned brand-name hotel among 47,000 hotels nationwide (Richardson, B2).


Figure 32: The proposed signage and hood design

Figure 33: Additional signage on front facade

Figure 32 shows the signage and hood as originally designed by ADD Inc. Figure 34 shows the signage and hotel as built. The metal panel built out under the hood remains, as the BRA decided to put the signage back in the glass tower at the last minute. Additional signage was also added to the front facade of the building along Melnea Cass Boulevard as shown in Figure 33.

Collaboration Complications

Hotel signage issues between the architect and the BRA Complex collaboration with the Boston Redevelopment Authority was the source of what Mike Hass calls, “the worst thing that happened to this building” (Hass). Figure 32 represents ADD Inc.’s original concept for the hotel building. They designed signage to float within the glass stair tower on the corner of Mass Ave. and Melnea Cass. To complement the tower, a sleek hood was designed to project over the rooms on Mass. Ave. facade. However, the BRA disagreed with this scheme and mandated that the signage be set on a metal panel on the Mass

Ave. facade. The BRA refused to compromise on this matter and ADD Inc. reluctantly redesigned the hood, creating a platform for the signage as shown in Figure 34. However, just before the building opened the BRA decided to put the signage back in the tower with additional signage on the front facade of the building. Contractors had already built out the metal signage platform underneath the hood, resulting in an awkward design detail that the architects are still very unhappy about (Hass).

Analysis_ Crosstown Design_Phase One

Analysis

Image Key:

Figure 34: Hotel signage and hood as built

40


“It was always our plan to make things happen in that area, It took a long time, but it’s making progress.” - Mayor Thomas Menino

Even while phase one was still under development, architects and developers were already looking ahead to phase two. This phase called for a mixed-use office building with ground floor retail to be located on the corner of Mass. Ave and Albany Street. Initially planned to be 165,000 sq..ft. (Kindleberger, D1), the Loews Cineplex departure allowed the office space to jump to over 200,000 sq..ft. (Vaillancourt, C1). Developers named exclusive leasing agents for the office space, Spaulding & Slye Colliers as early as 2000 (Today leasing is controlled by Jones, Lang, LaSalle after they bought out Spaulding, Slye and Colliers in 2005). At that time the tight office market in Boston prompted intense interest in the office space. “We have about twice as many [possible tenants] than we have space to accommodate,” said Steve Steinberg of Spaulding & Slye (Vaillancourt, C1). The market allowed leasing agents to make early deals with Boston Medical Center, Boston University and Brigham and Women’s. Backed by the appeal of 100% occupancy, developers gained approval for the project from the BRA in September of 2005 (Palmer). The Boston Redevelopment Authority hoped that existing commitments from medical tenants would create, “a powerful magnet that will eventually turn the Crosstown Corridor, from the Boston Medical Center area to Northeastern University and onto the Longwood Medical Area, into Biotechnology Row” said BRA director Mark Maloney (Palmer, A1).

Analysis

Crosstown Center Phase Two

41

• 208,000 square feet • 102,000 square feet office space • BU Medical: 102,000 sq.ft. • Brigham and Women’s: 78,000 sq.ft. • 28,000 sq.ft. ground floor retail • 600 space parking garage addition • Cost: $75 million • Completed: November 2007

Analysis_Crosstown Design_Phase Two

Unlike phase one, phase two was privately funded, and financed entirely by union pension bonds (Nash). Architects expanded on the contemporary approach of phase one, with an eight-story reflective glass curtain wall set against a smooth paneled building punctuated with glass openings (BRA Press Release). Project Architect Mike Doiron of ADD Inc. felt that it was important to acknowledge and respond to the corner condition at Mass Ave, and Albany Street. The lower floors step up between the hotel and office building leading to a void on the 4-7th floors where the building cuts back to respond to the corner condition (Doiron). The second phase of the project also included an expansion of the parking garage, creating an extra 600 spaces and retail space below the garage. Since the expansion was planned from the beginning of the project, the garage was design helped the renovation process run smoothly. All core elements of the garage were built in phase one so that phase two only required the expansion of existing parking garage decks (Grobato). Unfortunately, there was a significant loss during the construction of the garage. In January of 2007 ironworker Edward Long fell to his death while working on the Hampden Street side of the parking garage. The death was ruled accidental as no safety violations were found on site (Ellement). The office building opened in November of 2007.


Figure 35: Rendering by ADD Inc.

Further conflict between architects and the city In phase two, architects ADD Inc. once again faced conflict with the BRA. “When the hotel was finished, word got out that the mayor didn’t like the blue metal panels” said architect Mike Hass. “He didn’t want the second phase to look like the first phase. He wouldn’t talk to us directly. He really wanted to carry through the brick from the South End” (Hass Interview). The architects generated a solution replacing some of the proposed charcoal panels with brick with to create a contemporary solution that was still grounded in the neighborhood. “The brick gestures

to the South End while the metal references the hotel” said architect Mike Hass. Even after the design was changed, the mayor still had his doubts are required the architects a large-scale sample panel to ensure that it wouldn’t look have the “blue” appearance that the mayor disproved of in the first phase (Hass Interview). At the same time the architects were facing another challenge with one of the office space tenants. Boston University was making changes to the amount of space

they were leasing, which had a significant impact on the massing of the building (Doiron Interview). ADD Inc. was forced to find a solution to both the massing and facade changes in a very short period of time based on contractual obligations that forced them to meet all design deadlines regardless of changes made to the project. Architects used SketchUp and RevIt to quickly generate design solutions. The process was “very complex” according to architect Mike Doiron, and was a big challenge for ADD Inc (Doiron interview).

Analysis_ Crosstown Design_Phase Two

Analysis

Complex Design Changes

42


“The lack of retail tenants is not because of the economy. It was booming at the time of development.” - Project Architect Mike Doiron on Crosstown’s retail vacancies

Figure 37: Retail space on the prominent corner has remained empty since the building opened

Analysis

Figure 36: Vacant Space

43

The inclusion of retail in the mixed-use development was another change that took place after Corcoran Jennison and ADD Inc. joined the Crosstown Center project. Ground floor space that was originally reserved for the movie theater on Melnea Cass Boulevard and Mass Ave was redesigned and turned into nine retail units. Initially there was significant interest in the retail space. Developers had pending deals with a bank, a pharmacy, a clothing store, and a couple of restaurants. (Kindleberger, D1) However, as with the initial project funding, these early deals fell through. As of April 2009, tenants have been 5 of the 9 retail locations. The other four spaces have remained vacant since the building opened in 2007.

Analysis_Crosstown Design_Phase Two

Figure 38: Disguising the vacancy

The original tenants include Dunkin Donuts, Quiznos Subs, Enterprise Rental, and the Ground Round. The Ground Round closed in 2008 and was replaced by Rudi’s Restaurant in late 2008. Throughout the process of securing retail tenants, Kirk Sykes was conscientious of the types of businesses going into the space. When they were national chains, such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Quiznos Subs, he made sure that the franchisee is a minority. (Viser, H1) “We’re always very sensitive to not try to tilt the neighborhood,” Sykes said. “It’s trying to strike a balance. People want change, but they want it to not be at the exclusion of having people remain. It’s a tough thing.” (Viser, H1).


Figure 39: Retail space along Melnea Cass suffers from lack of pedestrian foot traffic

Years after Opening, Spaces are Still Empty Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the Crosstown Center is not what is there, but what is missing. There is a lack of retail tenants with 4 of the 9 spaces remaining completely vacant since the building opened, including the anchor location at the corner of Melnea Cass and Mass. Ave. In a 2002 press release issued by the BRA, the development was explained as, “...inviting to pedestrians, encouraging them to enter the active retail space and walk through a public park and central courtyard.”

Although architects and developers may have designed the space to be inviting, there was another significant element missing from the equation. There is a general lack of pedestrian traffic in the area, particularly along Melnea Cass Boulevard. Although the harbor walk extension was designed to create a buffer between the retail and the street, it also renders the retail spaces unnoticeable to the heavy flow of traffic. Unlike the office building, the developers didn’t have retail clients lined up to move in once the project opened. “There was no ideal retail

clientele” said architect Mike Doiron. “We thought a CVS would have been nice in the space along Albany Street because of the close proximity to the hospital” said architect Mike Hass. However, that space was actually taken over to be used as additional office space by Boston Medical Center, a decision which the architects disapproved of, siting the lack of vibrancy of ground floor office space. However, it poses the question of whether something that is less than ideal is better than nothing at all.

Analysis_ Crosstown Design_Phase Two

Analysis

Retail Vacancies

44


“Users and lenders, being risk averse, are understandably skeptical.” - Goulston & Storrs lawyer Matthew Kiefer referring to fear of getting involved in a mixeduse project in transitional neighborhood

Figure 40: Sketch of Phase Three

Analysis

Crosstown Center Phase 3 [Proposed]

45

• 200,000-250,000 sq.ft. • 9-10 stories • 5,000-15,000 sq.ft. retail space • 185,000-245,000 sq.ft. office space • additional garage level with 100 extra spaces

Phase three of Crosstown Center is a proposal for additional office space and ground floor retail on the corner of Hampden and Albany Street that would abut the existing parking garage on site. The plan for this phase is still highly schematic, as developers are unsure how much space they will be able to build on due to an existing NStar building on the proposed corner. Architects have come up with two possible schemes based on whether or not they are able to gain ownership of the corner parcel. (Hass). The first scheme, as shown in Scheme J (Figure 40) explores possible developments leaving the NStar building on site. In this case, phase 3 would be a bar building along Albany Street, with the potential for another bar

Analysis_Crosstown Design_Phase Three

building on Hampden Street that would be considered as a phase 4 (Hass). If developers are able to gain ownership of the parcel, the proposed building would take up the entire lot, forming an “L” shape around the parking garage as shown in Figure 41 (Hass). Even in this case the phase could still be developed in two parts, phase 3A and phase 3B. Phase 3A would be the development of a 10-story mixed-use building along Albany Street, and phase 3B would be a 6-story mixed-use building on Hampden Street (Hass). Though architects have explored various massing schemes, the project is on hold until tenants and financiers can be secured (Hass).


Figure 41: Proposed plan for phase three without NStar equipment

Many factors influence when and if this phase will be built Although a third phase of the Crosstown Center project has been explored it is on hold indefinitely. According to ADD Inc. principal, Mike Hass, “We’re waiting on Corcoran Jennison. They thought that BU Medical needed more space and tried to get them to commit. When they didn’t commit, Corcoran Jennison put out a marketing brochure to both attract potential tenants and scare BU Medical into thinking that someone else would grab it first. However, with the current economy they’re not worried and still have not made a commitment” (Hass

Interview). While phase three is dependent on securing commitments from tenants, it also requires support from the community and financiers. In some ways initial criticism has proved to be true. Matthew Kiefer, lawyer at Goulston & Storrs said, “Users and lenders, being risk averse, are understandably skeptical,” (Palmer, A1) referring to fear of financing a mixed-use project in such a transitional neighborhood. Similarly, the developers are unwilling to move forward with the project without the confirmation of interested tenants. “Corcoran Jennison probably won’t build

until leases are in place for 60% of the building. Since they don’t have that developers can’t get the money now to build these buildings. While the poor economy is partially to blame for the phase three delays, it is worth considering how much the setbacks of phase two have impacted further project development. On a site where nearly half of the existing ground floor retail remains vacant, it seems unwise to fund a building that proposes even more retail space.

Analysis_ Crosstown Design_Phase Three

Analysis

The Future of Phase Three

46


Analysis

Figure 43: Phase three site along Hampden Street

47

Figure 42: Section of proposed phase three. Although the building will directly abut the existing parking garage a 15-foot setback is required between the two buildings.

Analysis_Crosstown Design_Phase Three

Figure 44: NStar equipment currently located on the corner of Hampden and Albany Street


Analysis

Figure 45: Rendering of proposed office building

Analysis_ Crosstown Design_Phase Three

48


“We have about twice as many [possible tenants] than we have space to accommodate,” - Steve Steinberg of Spaulding & Slye One flaw of the building’s design was the main lobby space. The original design had three steps with grandiose 4 foot treads on each. This turned out to be a safety hazard for the tenants. They did not complain but a couple people tripped while walking up the steps and talking on their cell phones. ADD Inc. was brought on to renovate the space because “they know the building best,” says building manager, Paul Rogan. This lobby is flanked on both sides with vacant spaces (See Figure 48). All of the available ground floor spaces have been vacant since the building’s completion in 2007. A few of which have been acquired by the hotel and used as conference rooms (Figure 49). Mike Hass said it was “kind of odd that there is ground floor office space.” Other retail spaces are being used as storage room. Although this appears to be only temporary, these empty spaces are disguised by various forms of advertising covering the curtain wall of glass.

Figure 46: Original Lobby space with large treads

Figure 47: Renovated Lobby space

Changes made since occupancy

Analysis

• Lobby stair renovation • Vacant ground floor spaces acquired by hotel as conference rooms

Figure 48: Vacant Retail Space

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Analysis_Conclusion_Post-Occupancy

Figure 49: Vacant Space acquired as office space.


“We were interested in the ground floor and how it interacts with the ground.” - Project Architect Mike Hass on designing Crosstown Center Although the heavily traveled site of the Crosstown Center is often called the “gateway” into Boston, this has since generated both benefits and drawbacks. Kirk Sykes recognized mostly the benefits when he chose to pursue this project. He stated that he was looking for sites that would “stimulate economic development”. He noticed that there was a general lack of services and goods in that area and wanted to generate jobs in this “empowerment zone.” This site seemed ideal because it had easy access to the expressway, and expected the support of local “income generators” such as the surrounding hospitals and the bio-square (Kirk Sykes interview). Figure 50: Office space that you can see thru.

It proved to be a wise decision to affiliate a majority of the office space to the neighboring Boston University Medical Center. As a result, the building’s upper floors are fully occupied. The only vacancies are all on the ground floor. This invaluable real estate is the most crucial element for creating a vibrant retail environment. Project architect, Mike Hass, displayed his “interest in how the ground floor interacts with the ground” through the design. The organic path in front of the retail strip widens in front of the cafe space for outdoor seating opportunities when the weather permits. Unfortunately, there is just not a customer base in this area. The picture at left (Figure 51) was taken on a spring day during “Happy Hour” at 6pm on a Friday and there were only two customers sitting at the bar indoors. How the path meets the busy corner of Mass Ave and Melnea Cass Blvd.. was also well thought out by creating a large gathering space (See Figure 52). It would be a great place for a small band performance in the summer or a few kiosks set up where pedestrians crossing the busy intersection could stop and grab a beverage. Alas, there are just no pedestrians casually strolling around.

Figure 51: “Happy Hour” at Rudi’s

• The right tenant with a faithful clientele could generate more visitors

Analysis

Potential

• Spaces would make nice retail establishments • Corner could serve as a stage for bands or a square of kiosks Figure 52: Extended Corner

Analysis_ Conclusion_Post-Occupancy

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“Kind of odd that there is ground floor office space. Would have made a nice CVS with the hospitals nearby.” - Project Architect Mike Hass on retail vacancies Paul Rogan, the building manager said that it has been very difficult finding tenants for the ground floor vacancies since the building’s grand opening. With a sluggish economy, it seems as if the leasing manager of the building, Jones Lang Lasalle, is not being very particular in the tenant selection process. Candidates that have shown interest in the spaces include multiple physical therapists and Countrywide Mortgage Company (Paul Rogan). Neither of these options will generate much pedestrian activity. The retail tenants doing the best on the site are the national chains; Dunkin Donuts, Quiznos and an Enterprise Rental car agency. Rudi’s Cafe attracts employees from the office building around lunch time. The problem is that it is difficult to access the site with 4 lanes of traffic on both sides and not many pedestrians passing through. There is a salon on site that keeps its doors locked unless there is an appointment. On the rare occasion that there is a walk-in, the sign on the door asks the visitor to knock (See Figure 54). Another sign (Figure 55) asks for stylists with a clientele in the hopes of generating more business for the company. Advertisements such as those in Figure 53 are intended to disguise the vacancies but instead draw attention to them.

Figure 53: Advertisements disguise vacancies

Mike Hass, the project architect, envisioned a CVS pharmacy for one of the ground floor spaces. Considering its proximity to the hospital, this could attract more customers to the site. The movie theater would have been great for the site because it would make the building more of a destination. It would also occupy more of the ground floor and would minimize the amount of vacant spaces. Figure 54: Sign on door of Salon

Signage

Analysis

• Signage is sparse but indicates the grim retail environment

51

• Advertisements do not disguise vacancy • The site needs a destination store or establishment. Figure 55: Sign on window of Salon

Analysis_Conclusion_Lessons Learned


More national chains with easily recognizable logos could help these spaces. Since the harborwalk passes right in front of the strip of retail space, the storefront is at least 40 feet from the heavily travelled streets. This is a drawback because most of the signs and displays cannot be seen from the street. The only signs visible from the street are the billboard advertisement for Quiznos, the hotel’s name and the Crosstown Center logo. The stores have also tried putting flimsy signs alongside the road but these are difficult to read because the information is written so small. There is also a sign hanging from the flagpole but this is always blowing around in the wind. More advertising should be targeted toward the street because that is where the majority of potential customers will see it.

Figure 56: Signs visible to vehicular traffic

• Retail space sits 40’-0” from street

Analysis

Signage

• Retail Storefronts and signs are not visible from street

40’-0” from street

• Only recognizable chains advertise to vehicular traffic

Figure 57: Signs not visible to vehicular traffic

Analysis_ Conclusion_Lessons Learned

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Figure 58: The Dakota in 1884 in its desolate setting

Figure 59: Central Park with few trees & the Dakota

Figure 60: Current aerial view of the Dakota

When the Dakota was completed in 1884, it stood in a desolate district of New York City that was coined as the Dakota Territory. Development in that area soon flourished and is now a fashionable destination. The apartments in the Dakota offer views overlooking the lush Central Park, which only had a few trees planted sparsely at the time of the building’s completion. Similarly, Rice University was built at the outskirts of Houston, Texas and has sparked development around its campus. Today it is considered an urban campus. Both of these prove that a building needs time to establish itself and become part of its surrounding landscape, whether or not it is urban. In the case of Crosstown Center, it seems as though Melnea Cass Boulevard is the dividing line between a dense urban landscape and a more spotted landscape with vast abandoned parking lots and buildings (See Figure 62). Although Crosstown Center sits in a seemingly uninhabited zone, it is on the “dense side” of Melnea Cass and could potentially grow into a popular destination for shoppers. The Roxbury Master Plan could do wonders for the site if it is pursued. If an effort is made to clean up the area and fix up the abandoned buildings, this project could have an entirely different future. It is too soon to pass judgement on the building. Time will tell if this building will be a frequented success. Figure 61: Rice University in Houston, TX

Figure 62: Melnea Cass divides density from vacancy

Precedents

Analysis

• The Dakota built at edge of town and is now a posh residential district

53

• Rice University became adapted to its distant urban setting a

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Analysis_Conclusion_Precedents

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Figure 63: Mass Ave. sidewalk

It could have helped making the strip of retail front Mass Ave. where there is a smaller gap between the storefront and the street and there are more pedestrians getting on and off the MBTA buses and walking to the hospital (See Figure 63). There is more pedestrian traffic waiting for the bus at any given time than Melnea Cass has in an entire day. Melnea Cass is purely a vehicular street where even pulling over is risky. This is why the architect decided to step the retail back from the street. Forty feet and three sidewalks, however, is not a typical urban condition (See Figure 64). If the Roxbury Master Plan is developed further or if a community organization forms to clean up the neighborhood, this area could potentially be rejuvenated with bustling retail and sidewalk activity.

Figure 64: Melnea Cass Blvd. sidewalk

• Mass Ave has many more pedestrians that could be carried into ground floor retail

Analysis

Future of the Site

• Melnea Cass retail is too far removed from street • Community Organizations could clean up area

Analysis_ Conclusion_Summary

54


Works Cited Boston Redevelopment Authority. “Mayor Menino, Senator Wilkerson, HUD & City Officials Formally Break Ground at Crosstown Center.” Press release. 19 Nov. 2002. 1 Feb. 2009 <http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/press/>. Carrington, Shirley. “Boston Connects Interview, Shirley Carrington.” Telephone interview. “Crosstown Center Financing is Approved.” 3 Oct. 2002. Boston Business Journal Online. 1 Feb. 2009 <www.bizjournals.com/boston>. Doiron, Mike. “ADD Inc. Interview, Mike Doiron.” Telephone interview. 25 Mar. 2009. Ellement, John R. “OSHA Probes Ironworker’s Fatal Fall.” 12 Jan. 2007. The Boston Globe Online. 1 Feb. 2009 <www.boston.com>. Goodison, Donna L. “Crosstown Center Project gets Moving After Setbacks.” 22 Feb. 2002. Boston Business Journal Online. 7 Feb. 2009 <www.bizjournals.com/boston>. Grillo, Thomas. “After Six Years, 175-Room Inn will Open.” The Boston Globe 15 May 2004, Real Estate sec.: F8. Grobato, Jim. “Corcoran Jennison/BRA Interview, Jim Grobato.” Telephone interview. 16 Mar. 2009. Hass, Mike. “ADD Inc. Interview, Mike Hass.” Personal interview. 10 Mar. 2009. Kindleberger, Richard. “Roxbury Project gets a Boost; Team Secures Leases to Develop Crosstown.” The Boston Globe 2 Sept. 1999: D1. Kooker, Naomi R. “Hampton Inn GM sees Rewards in Staff Diversity.” 8 Dec. 2006. Boston Business Journal Online. 1 Feb. 2009 <www.bizjournals.com/boston>. Kramer, Frederick A. “Boston Embraces Mixed Use.” Urban Land Feb. 2006: 86-89. Macht, William P. “Integrating Solutions.” Urban Land May 2000: 22-23. Menino, Mayor, Thomas M., and Mark Maloney, BRA Director. The Roxbury Strategic Master Plan: Building a 21st Century Community. Rep. Boston, 2004. Micheli, Mark. “After 5 Years on Drawing Board, Crosstown Work Begins.” 20 Nov. 2002. Boston Business Journal Online. 3 Feb. 2009 <www.bizjournals.com/boston>. Monestime, Hugues. “BRA Interview, Hugues Monestime.” Telephone interview. 16 Mar. 2009. Nash, Harry. “Corcoran Jennison Interview, Harry Nash.” Telephone interview. 20 Mar. 2009. Palmer, Thomas C. “Crosstown’s $75m Phase 2 Wins City Approval.” 9 Sept. 2005. The Boston Globe Online. 2 Feb. 2009 <www.boston.com>. Palmer, Thomas C. “Pieces are Finally in Place to Redevelop Crosstown.” The Boston Globe 12 Mar. 2002, Metro/Region sec.: A1. Palmer, Thomas C. “Roxbury Project’s Phase I Begins.” The Boston Globe 20 Nov. 2002, Business sec.: D2.

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Works Cited


Powell, Jennifer Heldt. “Roxbury Group says Menino Ignoring Them.” The Boston Herald 29 Mar. 2002, Finance sec.: 027. Primary Group, Inc., and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. Crosstown Center: Single Environmental Impact Report/Draft; Project Impact. Rep. no. 15 Mar. 2000. Reed, Keith. “A Developer with Designs on Boosting Inner Cities.” The Boston Globe 9 Jan. 2005, Third ed., Business sec.: C3. Richardson, Tyrone. “Opening Marks Roxbury Milestone.” The Boston Globe 1 July 2004, Metro/Region sec.: B2. Rogan, Paul. “Building Management Interview, Paul Rogan.” Telephone interview. Seeley, David. “Architect Interview, David Seeley.” E-mail interview. 3 Apr. 2009. Shumaker, Jessica. “BRA Interview, Jessica Shumaker.” Telephone interview. 20 Feb. 2009. Sykes, Kirk. “Developer Interview, Kirk Sykes.” Telephone interview. 12 Mar. 2009. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Boston, Massachusetts EZ. “Crosstown Center Project Creates 740 Jobs, Pays for Employment Training of EZ Residents.” Press release. Www5.hud.gov/urban/businesses/success/boston.pdf. 1 Feb. 2009. Vaillancourt, Meg. “Crosstown Project Renewed; Corcoran-Jennison Joins in venture with Minority Developers.” The Boston Globe 3 Nov. 2000, Business sec.: C1. Viser, Matt. “Breaching Mass. Ave. Gentrification.” The Boston Globe 14 Jan. 2007, Real Estate sec.: H1.

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Case Studies: Transitions of Trust