An Urban Renaissance: The Hood Park Master Plan

Hood Park Master Plan
Charlestown, MA

Charlestown’s Hood Park, initially a mill pond that was later converted into a freight depot, is on the cusp of a 21st century evolution — from an industrial landmark to an attractive urban destination.

Historic Hood Park in Charlestown,MA.

SMMA was hired to provide master planning services for the 20-acre site to transform the former Hood Business Park into a desirable corner of Charlestown. The developing location, which has already undergone several changes to welcome new local establishments, refines its connectivity and accessibility to the rest of the neighborhood by offering all the perks of a lively city district, including nearby public transit, parks and greenery, bike paths, retail, and about 1.8 million sf of office, lab, and residential space.

Extending the Street Grid

A primary focus of the new master plan was to extend the neighborhood street grid. The goal was to reconfigure surrounding streets to make Hood Park an integral part of the Rutherford Avenue corridor and nearby Sullivan Square. Though existing arterial patterns remain, some new ones have been added. The primary streets are Supertest Street, Stack Street, and Hood Park Drive. Secondary streets are formed by constructing extensions, causing them to intersect with Hood Park Drive.

The new grid will create predictable and complete streets that connect the future redevelopment of adjacent properties to the north, south, and west. These streets will also enhance vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian connections to and from the rest of Charlestown.

Building into the Future

SMMA's permitting efforts increased the overall development square footage allowed by over 500,000 sf, and the maximum height allowed from 115 ft to 262 ft. The site will create dynamic architectural diversity among buildings, incorporate active retail space, and maintain a clear view of corridors, new streetscapes, and open spaces. Buildings currently located in the newly developed Hood Park include:

  • The Harvey: Designed by CBT, SMMA’s Site Designers worked to design an attractive rooftop garden to be used by the building’s inhabitants. 

 

  • 100 Hood Park Drive: A garage structure that features ground-level retail, office and lab space, and parking. The design is intended to accommodate a vertical four-story expansion to increase lab and office space. 
     
  • 10 Stack Street: An ambitious Class-A 390,000 sf lab and office building that serves as an anchor to the overall development. 

Open Green Spaces

The new Hood Park contributes significant and versatile green space to the area through landscaped rooftop terraces and a series of episodic landscape moments, often in the form of small parks and gathering spaces:

  • Hood Green can be considered the “Central Park” of the development. It is conceived as a one-acre space that could serve as a venue for concerts, neighborhood festivals, farmer’s markets, and more.
     
  • The Pond is a two-level water feature that enlivens the “Powerhouse  ” and its adjacent and iconic “Hoods Milk” smokestack. It will serve as a place of playful respite for the neighborhood, especially during the summertime.
     
  • The Garden Passage, The Lawns, and The Market are small-scale parks along Stack Street. The openness of this area will allow for the flexibility, creating an opportunity for adjacent retail to spill outdoors to take advantage of desirable outdoor café or lunch spots.
     
  • The Stack Street Park will be to the east of the 10 Stack Street lab and office tower. This is a smaller-scale, more intimate outdoor atmosphere ideal for small concerts or other groupings in warmer weather, and a small sledding hill for children in the colder weather due to its sloping site.

Sustainability and Resiliency

The ownership of Hood Park shows a strong commitment to longevity and sustainability. As a result, SMMA worked to integrate innovative and sustainable design solutions into the master plan. The complex’s extensive use of exterior green space will minimize the impervious areas and increase the overall reflectivity of the site, reducing impacts associated with stormwater and similar threats. Due to its proximity to the Mystic River, the site is also in a flood zone. To address this issue, most of the site is raised two to three feet, while maintaining existing elevations at the property line.

Additionally, all buildings will be designed to meet or exceed the Massachusetts Stretch Energy Code. The buildings will feature high efficiency HVAC systems, LED site lighting, Energy Star equipment, sub-metering of tenant space, and rooftop photovoltaic systems for on-site renewable energy generation. Hood Park also greatly enhances the connection with the nearby mass transit; its streets are designed to comply with Boston’s Complete Streets guide to promote walking and bicycling.