New Novartis public courtyard plans released

The new Novartis campus on the east side of Massachusetts Avenue will have 50 percent of its site devoted to a public green courtyard, as a condition of the zoning petition that allows some parts of the new campus to reach 125 feet in height, as well as other miscellaneous zoning relief.

The new campus, located at 181-211 Mass. Ave., is currently under construction and is expected to be finished next year.

The existing Novartis campus west of Mass. Ave. also has a courtyard available for public use during business hours, but almost no one knows about it, and it is not considered inviting, with its black wrought iron fencing. When the city’s Planning Board approved Novartis’ zoning petition for the new campus, it attached a condition requiring Novartis to present its plans for courtyard security measures to the planning board. Novartis will make that presentation at the Tuesday, July 17, 2012 meeting of the Planning Board. (Some time after 7:20 p.m. at the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway. Agenda here.)

A copy of Novartis’ submission to the Planning Board is available here. It offers views of the campus from the streets with the fencing open as well as with the fencing closed.

Here is the fence open, as it would be during daytime business hours:

And here it is closed:

Novartis is also strongly committed to ground-floor retail along Mass. Ave. on the new campus, though this month’s submission does not illustrate that clearly. Novartis is the landlord for Flour and Central Bottle and also retail on the west side of Mass. Ave. that has been very popular with both students and the local community. Here is a view of the east side of Mass. Ave. from their November 2011 special permit application to the Planning Board:

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