I love Boston, and I love my neighborhood, but the recent uproar to Ron Druker’s plan to build an 11-story office and retail building at 80 East Berkeley Street has left me scratching my head. The Boston Globe wrote, “Judged against its current surroundings, Ron Druker’s proposed building in Boston’s South End fits in about as well as a spaceship in a cornfield.” Really? I disagree.
While it is true that most of the South End is comprised of buildings ranging from 3-6 stories, a quick look at the image above shows a fairly blighted area filled with parking lots and shabby single story buildings with the exception of another 11-story building two blocks away. Interestingly, those other boxes in yellow signify new projects that have been given the green light and range in height from 5 to 20 stories tall so in a matter of 2-3 years, much of this section of the South End will be filled with buildings of varying size and design. I like the idea that the neighborhood will have this variety but do it without jeopardizing the many blocks of Bow Front Victorians that dominate most of the South End.
This location could not be more appealing to businesses if the city tried, sandwiched between the intersection of two major highways and near mass transit. My hope is that these early plans from Druker and others will help build a case for covering / spanning I-90 before long, bringing life to what is currently rundown warehouses, parking lots and underutilized space.