Cross Street Developer Presents Changes to Hotel Project

The local developer looking to transform the former site of J. Pace & Sons, Maria’s Pastry and Living Luxury on Cross Street into a boutique hotel, presented changes to the project at a Boston Planning and Development Agency hosted community meeting last week.

At the meeting developer William Caulder, who lives in the North End, and Mike Doherty, the project architect, presented the changes to the community.

“So we’ve listed the major design changes here and we’re going to go through them with images that will present those ideas and explain them better,” said Doherty. “Just to summarize briefly, the biggest change we’ve made is to virtually double the size of the pedestrian passageway to Cutillo Park and virtually double the height of it. So it really makes a significant difference in the welcoming nature of that space.”

Doherty said his client has also reduced the hotel room count from 140 to 134 rooms.

“That (reduction) has to do with the expanded passageway,” said Doherty. “We also scaled down the building at the corner along Endicott Street. In addition to making the passageway and the pass through itself larger we’ve increased the public marker that sort of cues you into where the pass through is located. We reduced the massing at the fifth floor along Endicott Street. We pulled the masonry of the facade down to four stories to engage with the existing building there. We’ve also pulled the roof deck back along the Endicott Street side, removing it further from the adjacent residential buildings. Lastly, we’ve enhanced the masonry detailing of the project and the Juliet balcony detailing.”

Attorney for the developer, Johanna Snyder said the majority of the community benefits have remained pretty consistent over time.

“We are looking at making a significant investment to upgrade the Cross Street Plaza and Morton Street,” said Snyder. “This does include the reconstruction of Morton Street along Cutillo Park. We’re also going to be making a variety of streetscape improvements, planting a bunch of new shade trees and making it more attractive overall. We are going to be adding two new ground floor restaurants and seasonal rooftop dining, which I think will go a long way to revitalizing what is currently an underutilized site. The building is going to have a focus on sustainability and energy efficiency and is going to be LEED Gold certified.”

Snyder said the developer also plans to landscape the site in a way that reduces the urban heat island effect.

“As previously discussed, we are making financial contributions to several local community organizations,” said Snyder. “I think the biggest change in our community benefits package since the last time we were out in the community is that we have agreed to make a financial contribution of $100,000 to the parks department for their improvements of Cutillo Park. We also have committed to a long term enhanced maintenance program with respect to upkeep of the park. The project will create both short term and long term jobs and will generally clean up the site and improve security in the area.”

Aside from the usual concerns over density, design, size and scope a group of over a half dozen North End seniors present at the meeting all spoke in support of the project with one commenting, “What’s not to like? Replacing these rotting buildings that are an eyesore with what is really a magnificent palace is wonderful. I’d really rather have my tenants overlooking a brand new park and beautiful building than what’s there now.”

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