Making Way for the Underground at Ink Block
In recent years, most of Boston's development has involved expanding commercial spaces and residential living quarters. While neighborhoods citywide have added apartments, condominiums, and converted dilapidated structures into usable commercial space, there has been little mention of improving the city's green areas and open spaces. In a creative use of old space, Boston's newest park, the Underground at Ink Block, has mixed-use recreational space that everyone can enjoy.
The park sits under an I-93 overpass in Boston's South End, which features many Victorian homes and is one of Boston's most historic neighborhoods. South End emerged in the mid-1800s and was constructed over tidal marshes. In contrast to other more developed areas of Boston, South End has a fair amount of open land, which eleven residential parks sprinkled throughout the neighborhood. In addition to the traditional residential parks, the neighborhood acquired several new parks in the nineteenth century. Sixteen community gardens and patchwork parks round out the neighborhood's park scene. The neighborhood joined the list of the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. It is historically a funky, alternative place popular among those interested in arts and culture. Underground at Ink Block, developer National Development says, captures the neighborhood's artistic spirit and history of land preservation.
The park was funded primarily by MassDOT, which spent over $8 million to build the park over vacant and unused space. The project is just one of several that MassDOT has undertaken in recent years. One of its other major redevelopment projects is the I-90 Allston Interchange Project, which redeveloped the Allston Viaduct and reduced the footprint of the Allston Interchange toll plaza. MassDOT praises the project for improving the quality of life for residents in the Allston neighborhood. It also makes Allston more connected to other locations in Boston. With the success of Allston's redevelopment, MassDOT hopes that the trend of reusing and revitalizing otherwise vacant land and lots will continue throughout the city, doing double duty of making its neighborhoods more inviting and welcoming, and improving the city's dilapidated structures in the process.
Ink Block is managed by National Development, which is the same company that owns the large adjacent Ink Block complex. The Ink Block complex contains a mix of apartments, condominiums, and retail space. The Ink Block apartment building contains a mix of living spaces, ranging from studios to one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units. Apartments of all sizes feature open floor plans, large walk-in closets, and stainless steel appliances. They allow light with floor-to-ceiling windows and maximize space with open floor plans. Some units have kitchen islands and views of Boston's skyline. The structure's amenities including a rooftop pool, a botanical garden, and an outdoor patio with grills. Residents have access to a full concierge service that includes pet care, dry cleaning, delivery services, alterations, and car detailing. The facility also has a private garage, and tenants can rent Zipcars to get around Boston. Inside, the building offers an entertainment lounge with a full kitchen and bar. There is a state-of-the-art fitness center, a yoga studio, and a conference room with internet access. The facility is also within a short walking distance of the MBTA's Orange, Silver, and Red lines.
With a 24-hour security service, National Management will take measures to keep the park safe. It will also open the door for local businesses to host events like Pilates classes. The park gives local artists the opportunity to present their work, with space available for artistic additions like murals and painted pavement. With support from big names like Reebok, the park is expected to be a success.