Government Center Garage Redevelopment RenderingAn ambitious two-block redevelopment project aims to reclaim a massive 1960’s era garage in favor of mixed-use high-rises.  HYM Investment Group, LLC (HYM) has filed a Project Notification Form (PNF) with the Boston Redevelopment Authority detailing a proposal for a mixed use development on the site of the Government Center Garage. The proposed project features six new buildings including four high-rises of 48-stories, 45-stories, 24-stories and 23-stories. Plans call for 771 units of housing (apts and condos), 204 hotel rooms, 1.3M SF of office space and 82,500 SF of retail.

Accordng to the PNF, the current site is a remnant of the urban renewal era with an antiquated and underutilized 11-story above grade parking garage structure with failing retail. Additionally, the Government Center Garage (the Garage) is a physical and visual barrier between the surrounding neighborhoods. The objective is to break-up the 1960’s urban renewal mega-block by opening up the area to air and daylight and creating two new vibrant, mixed use, appropriately scaled urban blocks with active and pedestrian-friendly ground floors and unique public spaces that will reconnect the neighborhood around it.

“Our goal is to take a large, underutilized concrete parking structure that no longer contributes to today’s reinvigorated urban downtown and transform it into a place that residents, companies, their employees, and visitors will embrace as another great Boston destination,” said Thomas N. O’Brien, HYM’s Managing Director said. “The surrounding neighborhoods will engage with each other again.”

Government Center Garage Existing

The garage structure was built in the late 1960’s as part of an urban renewal project which mandated the clearance of numerous residential and commercial buildings for the construction of government offices.

Bulfinch Congress Holdings, LLC, (BCH) the owner of the Project, is a joint venture of the National Electrical Benefit Fund and The Lewis Trust Group. BCH purchased the property in 2007 with the primary goal of redeveloping the Garage; however, the recession brought on changed circumstances with all new development essentially stopping as the financial markets went into retreat. The recession also caused a decline in leasing and parking activity at the Garage. In 2009, BCH brought on HYM to operate the project and to develop a new viable redevelopment plan. HYM is a Boston based real estate company focused on complicated urban mixed-use projects in the Boston, New York and Washington DC corridor.

HYM intends for the project to be a leader in sustainable, transit-oriented, and integrated redevelopment that will serve as a catalyst for further redevelopment of the Government Center area. By bringing back uses, such as residential and retail (which previously existed prior to 1960’s urban renewal of the area) and introducing new office tenants from the new economy (high tech and creative industry), the developer hopes to revitalize the area, which is currently dominated by government office use.

Click on diagram for a larger view:

Government Center Garage Redevelopment

The garage structure was built in the late 1960’s as part of an urban renewal project which mandated the clearance of numerous residential and commercial buildings for the construction of government offices and other related facilities (residential uses were prohibited). This resulted in the construction of a mega-block parking garage, which visually and physically divided and disrupted the urban neighborhoods and districts around it. Conceived at a time when auto-centric policy dominated, the developer believes the existing underutilized 2,300-space parking garage adds little to the vitality of the area and in many ways detracts from the vibrancy of this section of downtown Boston.

The project site consists of 209,949 square feet, or 4.82 acres and includes approximately 2.4 million gross square feet of net new transit-oriented, mixed use phased development and approximately 476,400 gross square feet of the remaining parking garage and office for a total of approximately 2.9 million gross square feet. In addition to the 771 new housing units, the developer wants to build 204 hotel rooms, 1.3 million square feet of office and 82,500 square feet of retail. The Garage will continue to provide sufficient commercial parking (for transient users) as well as overnight resident parking.

Plans call for eliminating the eastern portion of the garage that spans over Congress Street and the MBTA Haymarket bus facility; thereby, creating two distinct development parcels: the “West Parcel” and “East Parcel”. According to the PNF, the main design goal of the redevelopment of the West Parcel is to enclose the existing garage structure to remain, where possible, with new uses that bring pedestrian activity to the area. The remaining portion of the Garage, which includes existing parking and office at the existing number of stories and height will be surrounded by the following new buildings:

  • A 45-story, 470-foot apartment building on New Sudbury Street
  • A 48-story, 600-foot office building on New Chardon Street
  • A 24-story, 275-foot apartment building on Congress Street

Click on diagram for a larger view:

Government Center Garage Redevelopment

The East Parcel allows for the unique opportunity of creating a new dynamic public plaza that will connect the Bulfinch Triangle, Rose F. Kennedy Greenway, and Congress Street. Three distinct buildings will be organized around this new public plaza:

  • A 23-story, 275-foot combined hotel and condominium building
  • A 9-story, 125-foot office building
  • A 4-story, 60-foot boutique retail building

In addition, the East Parcel will house a reconfigured MBTA Haymarket Bus Station, in coordination with the MBTA and BTD.

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Government Center Garage Redevelopment Floor Levels

HYM is targeting LEED-CS Gold for the office components and LEED Silver for the residential components. One of the innovative, sustainable elements the developer highlights in the PNF is the incorporation of on-site rooftop solar panel systems on the East Parcel office building, which will offset the energy use associated with the public plaza (i.e., pedestrian area lighting) making it a zero net energy (ZNE) exterior space.

The project will also include 32,000 square feet of green roof and roof garden/decks. All of the proposed green roofs and roof gardens, in addition to being an amenity for the redevelopment, will allow for material reduction of heat island effect and help manage the rain water. The developer plans to explore rainwater collection and re-use, possibly using it for cooling tower make-up water.

Click on diagram for a larger view:

Government Center Garage Redevelopment

Others involved in the Garage project include Architect: CBTarchitects; Civil Engineer: Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc./VHB; Traffic Engineer: Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, Inc.; Sustainability Consultant: ARUP; Structural Engineer: McNamara/Salvia, Inc; Wind Consultant: Rowan Williams Davies and Irwin Inc. (RWDI); Parking Consultant: Walker Parking; Mechanical and Electrical Engineer: WSP Flack+Kurtz; and Construction Manager: Tishman Construction Corporation.

All renderings and images courtesy of HYM Investment Group