The New Balance headquarters planned for the Market and Guest Street area may sport a rooftop running track, according to the company’s director of real estate. Construction is scheduled to start in the spring of 2013.
The train that left Brighton when the Mass Pike was built fifty years ago is coming back. New Balance and the Massachusetts Transportation Department have signed a letter of intent to get a station built.
This is great news, and it is good to see new transportation added in conjunction with such a huge project. Of course, there are those who think what we really need are bars that close at 3AM.
There will be a meeting tonight, June 6 at 7 PM, at the WGBH facility on Guest Street to discuss the latest New Balance plans, including that train station.
New Balance has filed an updated plan that will make rail aficionados swoon. They are promising to design and build a new commuter rail station. It will be a separate project from the collection of office building, restaurants and a hotel and stadium they aim to build, but be situated nearby.
New Balance unveiled more details of its plans for its new headquarters/hotel/office/sports complex Tuesday night. Creating new roadways and extending Guest Street are included as remedies to the increased traffic. A commuter rail stop seems to be something New Balance wants to talk about but city and state officials do not.
The company is as serious as a heart attack about its plans for the new headquarters. Last July they hired Jay Rourke, formerly a project manager for the BRA, the agency that is overseeing the planning process and will have to approve the project.
The next meeting is April 23 at 7 PM in the WGBH auditorium.
An office building in the shape of a shoe will be one of the highlights of New Balance’s plan for its fourteen acres along Guest Street, adjacent to the Mass. Pike. (Globe article may be behind paywall). The company filed its plan with the city earlier this week. Other elements include a 175-room hotel, a sports facility open to the public that might include venues for track and ice hockey, and additional office space. Restaurants and retail will be weaved into different parts of the project. What this all adds up to is 1.4 million square feet of building in structures ranging from roughly nine to twenty stories.
How will people get there? Some of them will drive and leave their car in one of the 1750 parking spaces. Other than that, the plan is vague. A commuter rail stop is mentioned, but in a context of listing all the obstacles to it. Which leaves the bus. Routes 64 and 86 stop at the site but neither runs that frequently. New Balance currently provides shuttle vans to Harvard Square and Kenmore Square during rush hour and is the quickest way to connect to the subway.
When is this going to happen? Spring 2013 is projected for the start of construction. Lots of questions to ask, details to be discussed, many meetings sure to follow.
New Balance has big plans for its property along Guest Street, adjacent to the Massachusetts Turnpike. A track and field facility and a hockey arena are part of the project, along with other fitness-related activities and a hotel. On the other side of the Pike, the Skating Club of Boston intends to relocate to a new, three-rink complex on Lincoln Street, one of them a two thousand seat performance venue. Boston University is adding a playing field on Gardner Street, Allston that will have room for one thousand spectators.
So how is everyone going to get there? The New Balance/Skating Club area is poorly served by public transit, essentially buses that get stuck in the stop and go traffic along Western Avenue. There will soon be 242 new apartments next to the Shaw’s. BU’s playing field in a bit farther away, but will still add to traffic. Harvard Stadium is right around the corner, and you have to throw BC’s football field into the mix.
We need a commuter rail station. The MBTA does not want to talk about this. At all. Understandably, given they are are having major budget problems. But the neighborhood needs to bring this up, again and again. Demand they start studying it. Where will a station be built, how it will connect to buses, will it have parking. These proposals represent major economic growth that should be debated, encouraged, and supported. But not unless there is a comprehensive approach.
Since the Turnpike was built, public transit in Allston Brighton has deteriorated. We lost the three rail stations (Allston, Brighton and Faneuil) to accommodate suburban commuters on the highway, then lost our last direct connection to downtown, the A-line trolley. The state is going to get a lot of revenue from this development. Some of it needs be used to build a better transit system, here.
The Bally Total Fitness health club that was located on Guest Street, next to WGBH and opposite the New Balance headquarters and housed in the same building as the New Balance outlet store, has closed. The sign on the door said they lost their lease. No word on a future tenant.
New Balance, continuing its march across the community, has now claimed naming rights to the new playing field that BU will build at the corner of Babcock and Gardner Streets in Allston. Games will take place atop a 350 car garage, and there will be room for one thousand spectators in the stands. Ultimate Frisbee will be added to the school’s roster of intramural sports, which will be among the club sports using the field. The women’s varsity field hockey team will get the most turf-time, returning for their first home games after eleven years of off-campus contests and practices.
Kudos to New Balance. They are putting serious money into Allston Brighton, they pay property taxes, and their plans will generate jobs and activity that seem like they will benefit our neighborhood. Maybe we have an alternative to Harvard’s ‘Occupy Allston’ approach: buy it and do nothing.