Based on neighborhood discussions and feedback from the Working Group assembled by Councilor Toomey, we have modifed the redevelopment plans to address issues of height, bulk, façade treatment, Spring Street entry and landscape open space.
Those revisions include the removal of two floors, the introduction of terra cotta in the office tower, a scaled back entry on Spring Street, and the creation of a garden at the sidewalk level in the proposed open space along Spring Street.
40 Thorndike will involve the complete transformation of the existing, brutalist design and prior courthouse/jail use to a more welcoming and mixed use development, integrated into the
residential and commercial neighborhood. The ground level of the building will be transformed from a structure meant to keep people away into a series of storefronts and intimate landscape
spaces that will serve the surrounding community and the building tenants.
A residential entry on Third Street will provide access to 24 apartments. The upper floors of the building will be developed as office and R&D space geared toward the types of innovative technology firms associated with Kendall Square.
You can view the revised plans submitted to the Planning Board here.
The architectural style of the current structure could be described as Brutalism, a style often used in government buildings from the 1950s to the 1970s that is typically concrete and fortress-like and does not relate well to a pedestrian scale. The tall concrete planters around the perimeter of the current ground level create an unwelcoming pedestrian experience, while many of the trees on the site are in poor condition.
**Please Note: An updated traffic memo from the City that reflects the revised plans (reduction of 40,000 sf of office) is available here.
A thorough traffic study was completed and indicates the project can be accommodated within the existing area infrastructure. The study also found that there will be a small, but negligible, impact on traffic wait times (5-15 seconds) in most scenarios. The City of Cambridge Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department confirmed that most traffic will use First Street to exit and egress the area and the project should not change the amount of cut through traffic. Additional information about traffic can be found in the full report conducted by Vanasse & Associates, Inc, available on this website under the Information & Plans section.
The development will include 92 parking spaces on-site and below grade. 24 of those spaces will be dedicated for the residences. An additional 420 parking spaces will be leased from the City of Cambridge at the First Street Garage, if approved. Resident/permit parking spaces in the area are the domain of the City of Cambridge Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and they should be contacted with questions.
**Please Note: An updated wind memo from the consultant RWDI is included with the materials sent to the Planning Board as part of the revised submission for the July 29, 2014 meeting available here.
Wind Studies are conducted using mean wind speed criteria to assess levels of comfort (same method used in Boston by BRA). The criteria are expressed in terms of benchmarks for the 1-hour mean wind speed exceeded 1% of the time (i.e. the 99 percentile mean wind speed).
Comfortable for Sitting: ≤ 12 mph
Comfortable for Standing: > 12 and ≤ 15 mph
Comfortable for Walking: > 15 and ≤ 19mph
Uncomfortable for Walking: > 19 and ≤ 27mph
Dangerous Conditions: > 27mph
The results above show the comparison of the existing condition to "Configuration 1" (which represents the current design proposed).
The study involved wind simulations on a 1:300 scale model of the proposed building and surroundings. Additional information about wind can be found in the full report conducted by RWDI Consulting Engineers, available on this website under the Information & Plans section.