At the time of its construction in 1926, the Motor Mart Garage was the largest automobile garage in the world. Advertised as “more than a place to park your car,” the Motor Mart housed auto-related services including washing and various repairs. The garage reflects the prevalence of transportation activity at Park Square in the early 20th century, especially bus and automobile. It is a major character-defining feature of Park Square, designed in a stripped classicism with Art Deco style details. The garage abuts and is adjacent to several historic resources including the Park Plaza Hotel (built as the Statler Hotel in 1925-27), the Armory of First Corps Cadets building and the Paine Furniture Building, both local Landmarks, and the Bay Village Historic District. It is one block from the historic Public Garden.
The Alliance is currently gathering information about this project and its potential impacts on the Motor Mart Garage and other historic resources in the vicinity. While we are not opposed to change, we advocate for thoughtful development and sympathetic designs that enhance the historic character of a neighborhood rather than deter from it. We have questions about the impact of this project to the building and to the surrounding neighborhood.
Highlights from our Activity Log:
• May 10, 2019
Alliance staff meets with the project team for further dialogue. Staff expresses support for recent changes like condensing two lobbies into one to allow for more retail and street engagement, while encouraging landscape elements that ensure the public realm is open and accessible for pedestrians. There is a discussion about particular architectural elements that are key to preserving the character of the historic garage. The proponent will share updates as these details evolve.
• April 25, 2019
The Alliance submits additional comments to the BPDA- see below. We feel the changes made to the proposal are positive and overall find the project appropriate for this specific site, though we ask the proponent to further pursue changes that would reduce or eliminate shadows on the Boston Common and Public Garden.
• November 9, 2018
Alliance subcommittee meets with project team members to discuss the proposal. A brief presentation is made and the subcommittee asks questions about the new design, changes to the historic garage, the project’s impact on the pedestrian realm, and construction phases.
• October 19, 2018
Alliance submits a comment letter to the BPDA. A meeting is being scheduled with the proponent and Alliance Board members to discuss the project in further detail.
• October 3, 2018
Alliance staff contacts the BPDA project manager requesting an extension of the comment period, scheduled to end on October 12, 2018, to allow time for further discussion and consideration after the public meeting on October 9. The comment period is extended one week and will remain open until October 19, 2018.
• September 11, 2018
The proponent files a Project Notification Form (PNF) with the BPDA providing details of the proposal and initiating a 30-day comment period.
• March 2, 2018
A Letter of Intent (LOI) is filed with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) on behalf of the owner of the Motor Mart Garage. As outlined in the LOI, the project will include the construction of an approximately 233,500 square foot residential tower with 280 units at about 278’ atop the existing garage.