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BOSTON-After months of debate, the Boston Redevelopment Authority has issued a series of changes to the Liberty Place project, a residential development in the heart of Chinatown at Essex and Washington Sts.

The plan was proposed by Virginia-based Charles E. Smith Residential but Jessica Schumaker, spokesperson for the BRA tells GlobeSt.com that the agency found there were “pretty diverse opinions about the project based on the written public comments.” In response, the BRA created “working sessions” for a variety of members which recommended a series of changes that, Schumaker says, would “make a better project for the city and the community.”

Among the changes are the number of units which has been cut from 448 to 419 and the parking spaces, which have been reduced by 20, from 356 to 336. There will still be 20 units set aside for affordable elderly housing.

The height of the building has been reduced from 291 feet to 275 feet, and the number of floors was cut from 30 to 28. According to Schumaker, an allowable height in the area is 100 feet so she notes that the developer will have to get zoning relief from the zoning board of appeals. “The height has to be that high to maintain the viability of the project given the unique characteristics of the site,” she points out.

The building volume has been reduced by five percent and a greater portion of the mass of the building has been moved closer to the center of the project site to limit the visual impact from the pedestrian level and the surrounding buildings. A release from the BRA emphasizes that this will also decrease the wind and shadow impacts.

On the Washington St. side, the upper portion of the building will be set back 16 feet from the street edge of the lower portion of the building–an increase of six feet.

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