Potential Wind Impact is Top Concern for Proposed 40 Trinity Place High-rise Project

September 10, 2013

The potential wind impact of 40 Trinity Place is a matter of utmost concern, according to those on hand at the Lenox Hotel last Tuesday for the second public meeting to discuss the proposed 33-story, mixed-use tower.

Gary and Jeffrey Saunders of Boston’s Saunders Hotel Group and local developer Jordan Warshaw have filed plans with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) for an approximately 400-foot-tall building next to the John Hancock Tower that would house 115 condominiums, 227 hotel rooms, three restaurants, a 30,000 square-foot meeting space and 100 parking spaces. The project would raze the Boston Common Hotel and Conference Center and also include air rights over a portion of the adjacent University Club of Boston at 426 Stuart St.

Lisa Pedicini, a resident of 400 Stuart St., urged the developer to decrease the size of the proposed building to help mitigate the potentially dangerous wind impact.

“You need to bring the height down and the density down to where it’s not dangerous,” Pedicini said.

Warsaw responded that 40 Trinity Place would have an “essentially wind-neutral effect” throughout the site.

“We tried to have as minimal of an impact as we could,” Warsaw said, “but every time something is built in the wake of the Hancock, the wind moves.”

Warsaw did concede that the project would have an adverse impact on wind conditions at one Clarendon Street location, though.

“Wind engineers said things on the ground can be done to take it back to where it was before construction of the building,” Warsaw said.

Deirdre Rosenberg, a member of the Impact Advisory Group (IAG) for the project and the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NABB), said wind data in the appendix of the Draft Project Impact Report (DPIR) was largely erroneous.

“I find it really unsettling that a 26-page appendix was wrong,” Rosenberg said. “We need more time to vet the information because there are mistakes and because there is misinformation.”

Warsaw countered that the figures in the DPIR itself were correct. “The only place anything was off was in the appendix,” he said.

John Fitzgerald, a BRA senior project manager, said, “I think we can take from this that wind is an issue, and I’ll deliver that message [to the city].”

Another prevalent concern was the potential traffic impact of the project, but Warsaw said the effect would be minimal, since most out-of-town visitors to 40 Trinity Place would likely stay at the hotel.

Warsaw said the project would also provide ample parking provisions, between on-site parking and eight valet spaces it will share with the University Club.

The public comment period for the project closes on Sept. 16, and the BRA is tentatively scheduled to review the proposal at its Oct. 17 hearing, Fitzgerald said.

Comments can be sent via e-mail to john.fitzgerald.bra@cityofboston.gov or by U.S. Mail to: John Fitzgerald, Boston Redevelopment Authority, One City Hall Square, 9th floor, Boston, MA 02201.

  • John P

    The project is too massive for the site. I can’t believe the developer’s claims that the project won’t gridlock the area. According to their own wind study, dangerous wind conditions will be created by the building.

    Just too big. Way over what is allowed under existing zoning.

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