It’s been exactly one year since the formal start of construction, and the site has gone through a dramatic transformation as we’ve moved through demolition, excavation, foundations and steel. The vision of a dynamic, mixed use Charlesview in north Brighton becomes clearer every day.
Click image to enlarge.
Buildings removed, workers perform subgrade demo and prepare for excavation.
As September winds to a close, both buildings have been completely demolished. The focus shifts to the two fall priorities: preparing for excavation for the underground garage, and extending Telford Street across Western Ave all the way to Holton Street.
Providing parking for 240 cars underground will allow the new development to meet the density goals of the Community-Wide Plan without burdening the surrounding neighborhood’s on-street parking. But building a 110,000 square foot garage beneath six future buildings and a new street requires several important construction steps. First, the neighborhood’s drainage must be re-routed around the new garage to the Western Ave main stormwater main. Then metal sheeting must be installed around the perimeter to stabilize the surrounding earth while excavators dig the hole for the garage so the structure can be built. The process will last through most of the winter.
To prepare for the construction of the Telford Street Extension, new drainage infrastructure, manholes and catch basins are being installed. The newly exposed wall of STAR market–which formerly separated STAR from Frugal Fannies–will be covered by a new exterior wall and a raised planter. As we move closer through October into November, observers will see the new street come into shape, lined by sidewalks, streetlights and trees.
The extension of Telford Street is especially important for the neighborhood, as it will create a new public access between the site and Brighton Mills. This is good for construction, as work will proceed more efficiently inside a closed site. But this is especially good for the neighborhood, as it will create a safe, permanent access for cars, bikes and pedestrians to get to Brighton Mills and Western Ave. The Telford Street extension is scheduled to open before the end of year.
In the past month, we’ve made progress here and there, underground and with the City. But next week, progress on the physical transformation of the Brighton Mills site will become much more apparent: the two existing buildings, formerly housing the Frugal Fannies clothier and K-Mart and Office Max stores, are coming down. Read on for details on timing and neighborhood impacts.
Interior demolition begins late this week. Early next week, the heavy equipment from demolition contractor NASDI will arrive on site and begin tearing the walls and roof of the buildings down.
JMA is taking a number of measures to mitigate the demolition impacts, including:
- a “rodent blitz” by a professional exterminator prior to demo to minimize displaced vermin (this should be minimal, since the buildings don’t have basements and the site is paved, prohibiting burrows)
- planning demolition to occur from the parking lot side and progress toward the Holton and Litchfield Street sides, so that the existing walls can keep dust and noise contained to the site
- extensive coordination with utilities to shut down live feeds and prepare for safe demolition
- a barrier fence will be erected along the Litchfield Street curb to keep pedestrians off that side of the street; the fence will be covered with solid wood panels to isolate the site from the neighbors
In accordance with the Construction Management Plan, beginning Monday morning parking will be prohibited on side of Litchfield adjacent to the construction site to facilitate demolition and construction. “No Parking” signage is going up this week to give parkers advance notice.
TCB will set up a meeting in the neighborhood soon as a check-in on development progress and construction impacts. In the meantime, neighbors with questions or comments should feel free to contact us.
Some long-awaited news on construction progress at the end of this post, but first, a note on process:
Like most cities, Boston has a series of safeguards to ensure that workers and neighbors are protected from potential accidents caused by building demolition, and none of this could begin until Charlesview formally took ownership of the buildings at the end of June. Prior to taking down an existing building, contractors must pull a demolition permit from the City’s Inspectional Services Department. Before pulling the permit, the contractor must go through the buildings and prepare for demolition. Then begins a process with each public utility:
- request a shutoff of the individual services
- verify that they have been shut off and account balances paid
- dig up the service feed from the public street to the individual property meters and physically cut and cap the utility line
- have the work inspected and approved by a formal letter from the utility
Once all that is complete. the letters are combined with other submittals to the City as the formal Demolition Permit package.
…And now the good news: on Friday, JMA received the demolition permit for 400 Western Ave (the former K-Mart building). The permit for the former Frugal Fannies building should follow this week. Building demolition is imminent! Check back soon for updates.
Upon closing on the financing for the New Charlesview, we have mobilized in earnest to prepare the site for construction and to demolish the vacant buildings. The General Contractor John Moriarty and Associates (JMA) have established a field office in 355 Western Avenue and have a full staff in place initiating construction activities.
The most visible progress has been made in Litchfield Street, where site subcontractor J Derenzo Co. has been installing drainage infrastructure. The existing drainpipes run through the current parking lot, and need to be re-routed around the future underground parking before excavation can begin.
- Utility work in Litchfield Street
A temporary construction fence went up around the site a few weeks ago. This week, the contractor began installing jersey barriers along Western Ave as the base of a more permanent fence to safely separate vehicular traffic from the contruction site. In the coming weeks, the barriers will be topped by a chain link fence and then covered with a decorative scrim, to present a more attractive edge to Western Ave during construction.
- Western Avenue jersey barrier installation
Inside the site, NASDI has nearly completed preparation for the upcoming demolition of the buildings. The removal and safe disposal of building materials is complete inside the buildings, and existing utility feeds are being shut off, cut and capped off in the street. Once that’s complete, JMA will pull demolition permits for both buildings and NASDI will commence demolition, likely in mid-August.
- Inside the site before demolition start