As part of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) Expansion, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) is designing its new garages as universal structures to accommodate a future decrease in demand for parking and increase in demand for office, retail, hotel, entertainment, and other uses. “Universal Structures as Long-Term Sustainable Assets” in UrbanLand’s November/December 2014 issue profiles how this public institution is working closely with Utile for an economical and sustainable design solution. The piece was written by Professor William P. Macht of the Center for Real Estate at Portland State University.
Utile’s work with MCCA on a future use typology featured in UrbanLand
Matthew Littell visits BC High’s young urban planners
Utile Principal Matthew Littell was a guest speaker at BC High last week as part of the 7th Grade City Project, where students are completing a year-long urban planning exercise in the creation of their own city. Matthew lectured on Smart Growth principles and spoke about his career in architecture and urban planning. Post-lecture, Matthew visited classes and consulted with the students on their City Projects.
Demolition begins at The Commons at Forest Hills Station
Demolition is now underway at The Commons at Forest Hills Station in Jamaica Plain, a 283-apartment mixed-use development designed by Utile. The project is conveniently located a short distance from its namesake Orange Line transit stop and will provide a mix of unit types, ground-floor retail, and parking. Read more about developer Forest Hills Arborway, LLC’s plans in the Boston Business Journal.
Flexible Parking Structures in UrbanLand
In Flexible Parking Structures as Civic Catalysts, a recent article from The Urban Land Institute’s UrbanLand Magazine, Professor William P. Macht of Portland State University in Oregon’s Center for Real Estate explores Utile’s flexible parking structure concept designed to accommodate a variety of programs during off-peak hours, as well as future alternative uses. Utile’s “Civic Arches” were proposed in response to a design competition hosted by the Long Island Index, a nonprofit organization.
MIT Industrial Urbanism Symposium
Tim Love was a moderator and respondent in October at MIT’s Industrial Urbanism Symposium for a panel on changing technologies. The panelists included Marty Schmidt, the provost of MIT; Sanjay Sarma, MIT’s director of digital learning; and Calestous Juma of Harvard Kennedy School. After presentations by each of the panelists, Love directed a conversation that explored the potential transformation of urban shipping and delivery services using the growing model of the sharing economy and on-call apps in the spirit of Uber. The conversation also explored the ability of universities like MIT to subsidize the construction and administration of “maker spaces” to connect the university community with local expertise in fabrication.
Readville Yard 5 featured in the Boston Globe
Utile is working with First Highland Management and Development on the Readville Yard 5 Industrial Development, recently featured in the Boston Globe and approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The project will transform an underutilized railyard into 375,000 square feet of light industrial and office space spread across seven buildings. Adjacent to the Readville MBTA commuter rail station, the project is designed to be subdivided into flexible leasable modules ranging from 4,000-7,000 square feet, which cater to the burgeoning maker movement and which will keep small-scale manufacturing jobs within the city of Boston.
Michael LeBlanc speaks at Architectural Record Multifamily Symposium
Michael LeBlanc recently spoke as part of a panel during a symposium on Multifamily Housing, hosted by Architectural Record. As part of the larger conversation about affordability issues in the Boston metropolitan region, Michael discussed some of Utile’s multifamily development strategies. He focused on how developers can use irregularly shaped parcels and external public space as ways to maximize the value of shared amenities and reduce construction costs. Ongoing housing projects at Utile following this strategy include the Commons at Forest Hills.
MassDevelopment Transformative Development Initiative
Utile worked with MassDevelopment to publicize its Commonwealth Gateway Cities Transformative Development Initiative (TDI). TDI brings together a number of technical, financial, and community engagement tools to effect visible investments within locally-identified, strategically-located districts. The program focuses on linking and leveraging these investments to catalyze follow-on investments and activities.
We developed a graphic outreach package that communicates the spirit and mechanics of the TDI program. MassDevelopment has successfully used this package to reach out to potential target cities.
MassDevelopment has more information on its website about the Transformative Development Initiative.
St. Andrew’s School in Austin, Texas
Utile is excited to have been commissioned for a new master plan for the St. Andrew’s School in Austin, TX. The scope includes plans for two separate campuses (a Lower School and Upper School) and a 94-acre tract of land adjacent to their Upper School property.
The Utile team is impressed by the culture of the School and the thoughtfulness of the leadership. The plan will both tackle broad strategic questions and provide targeted recommendations for enhancing the physical character of both campuses.
We will closely collaborate with Chris Moyles, a principal at Reed Hilderbrand, and his team. Chris is directing another project for Reed Hilderbrand in Austin, the Contemporary Austin at Laguna Gloria.