BPDA Board approves five residential and commercial projects

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BOSTON–The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors this month approved five new development projects and one Notice of Project Change (NPC). The new projects will create 325 residential units, 34 of which will be designated income restricted.

The approved new development projects represent 625.8 million square feet and an investment of $492.3 million, and will support 526 construction jobs, 1,059 direct jobs, and 280 indirect or induced jobs.

Accessory Parking zoning amendment will encourage an active streetscape 

The BPDA Board approved a zoning amendment that will require residential development proposals located in Neighborhood Shopping, and Local Convenience and Community Commercial sub-districts, to apply for a conditional use permit for the construction of parking in the basement or first floor.  This change helps ensure an active streetscape with retail and commercial storefronts and restaurants where feasible. 

This amendment will require residential development proponents in these business districts, seeking Accessory Parking to go through a community process, design review, and seek a Conditional Use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals. Design review will help to ensure that facades that face the main street contribute to an active streetscape and avoid dark or blank walls, garage doors, and driveways.

Groundwater Conservation Overlay District expanded to additional neighborhoods 

The BPDA Board voted to expand the Groundwater Conservation Overlay District (GCOD) zoning Article 32 to Lower Roxbury, Audubon Circle, East Boston, and the Central Waterfront area. The GCOD ensures stable groundwater levels where buildings stand on filled land and utilize wooden pilings to support their foundations. Depleted groundwater exposes the tops of those pilings to oxygen and promotes decay, causing structural damage and potential collapse of the buildings they support. The GCOD helps ensure stable groundwater levels by requiring projects that meet certain thresholds to release rainwater into the ground, rather than discharging it into the stormwater sewer system.

The expansion is based on several years of data collected by the Boston Groundwater Trust (BGWT) from over 800 monitoring wells, and research of the foundation types and soil conditions of Boston’s neighborhoods where masonry buildings on wooden pilings may exist.  The expansion of the GCOD area will ensure the structural safety of Boston’s older buildings that exist on filled areas of the City. The proposed amendment will harmonize GCOD requirements with those of the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, provide for earlier notification to abutters of proposed projects, and standardize recharge requirements across the area of the GCOD.

Both items also require approval by the Boston Zoning Commission. 

Development Projects

88 Black Falcon Avenue project goes forward in Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park, will bring more than $2 million to support affordable housing and more than $400,000 to support job training 

LiveImprovements to intersection, improved access to Harborwalk, creation of new publicly accessible viewing area, approximately $2 million in housing linkage payments
Work1,725 construction and permanent jobs, $400,000 in job linkage payments
ConnectLess than a half mile to MBTA Silver Line, improvements to Silver Line stop, financing of new Water Shuttle transit
Sustain61 LEED Gold, adapted for sea level rise, uses solar photovoltaic technology

Located in the South Boston Waterfront, the 88 Black Falcon Avenue project will construct a four-story addition on top of the existing three-story structure owned by the Massachusetts Port Authority in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park. The project will include space for offices, research, as well as lab and maritime use. Public benefits to the South Boston Waterfront Neighborhood include: ground improvements that will enhance cruise ship operations, reconstruction of the intersection at Drydock Avenue to improve pedestrian safety, and improvements to the Harborwalk including a new viewing area on the second floor known as Overlook Terrace. In addition, the project will also provide $2,055,228 in housing linkage fees for the City’s Neighborhood Housing Trust, as well as $405,218 in jobs linkage fees for the City’s Neighborhood Jobs Trust. 

149 – 157 Newbury Street project will develop the last undeveloped parcel on Newbury Street, creating new office and retail space

Live2500 square feet of public space, replaces private parking lot, new trees and landscaping
Work112 construction jobs
ConnectClose proximity to Copley MBTA station, public bike parking on Newbury Street
Sustain100% electric building, GCOD compliant

The new building at 149-157 Newbury Street will replace what is currently a surface parking lot. This project will create a five-story building containing 17,500 square feet of retail space, and 26,000 square feet of office space. As part of the community benefits of this project, the developer will contribute $25,000 in funds to the Friends of the Public Garden, which will go towards lighting the statues on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The project’s proximity to Copley and Back Bay MBTA stations will provide easy access to commuters. There is also a bike-share station that sits adjacent to the parcel, and the developer has committed to find a suitable location for the station, and create a curb extension if necessary.

35-43 Braintree project brings new residential housing to Allston; will contribute $100,000 to fund green spaces and support local mobility efforts 

Live149 housing units, 25 income-restricted units, four artist live/work units
Work300 construction jobs
ConnectBike storage/repair room, 30 visitor bike spaces, close proximity to public transportation
Sustain67 LEED Gold, solar photovoltaic technology

This project will create a seven-story building with 149 residential housing units, including four artist live/work spaces, and 25 income-restricted units. As part of the community benefits, the developer will contribute $100,000 to go toward funding nearby Penniman Park, as well as $75,000 to the Allston-Brighton Mobility Study, and $15,000 for operation of the Allston-Brighton Shuttle. Community benefits will include a space in the building for artists to display their work, and the creation of a Blue bikes station. The project is centered around sustainability and lessening the carbon footprint by creating a storage and repair space for bikes, charging stations for electric vehicles, solar panels on the roof, and using electricity for heat and air conditioning. There will also be a screen in the lobby to indicate schedules of nearby transportation options.

This project also furthers the goals of the Allston-Brighton Mobility Study by introducing new trees and rebuilding sidewalks to enhance pedestrian safety.

120 Braintree Street project brings new housing to Allston

Live32 residential units, including five income-restricted units, community space, rooftop garden, garden and patio on first floor
Work58 construction jobs
Connect32 bike parking spaces, building wifi, proximity to the MBTA, near Penniman Park
SustainLEED Gold Certifiable, energy efficient systems and materials, permeable and green areas

Located in Allston, this project will construct a new five-story building with 32 residential units, five of which will be income-restricted. There will be a mix of three bedroom, two bedroom, and one bedroom units. The ground floor provides 437 square feet of space for commercial use, which is intended to be leased to a local small business. Residents will also be provided with 591 square feet of amenity space for fitness and meetings. The building will also have bike parking and storage. Residents will also be able to take advantage of a garden and patio on the ground floor, as well as a roof garden. The developer has committed to contributing $35,000 to the Boston Parks and Recreation Department to go towards improvements at nearby Penniman Park, as well as $20,000 to the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation to help them maintain their affordable housing portfolio.

7-11 Curtis Street project brings new housing to East Boston

Live29 residential units, including four income-restricted units
Work125 construction jobs, creation of three permanent jobs
ConnectClose to Wood Island station, street infrastructure improvements, $30,000 to area surrounding Mclean Playground
SustainDesign and construction will meet LEED standards, bike parking, new trees planted, energy efficient materials

This project will construct two, four-story residential buildings that will include a total of 29 residential units and 17 off-street vehicle parking spaces. Four of those residential units will be income restricted. The units will be a mix of studio, one bedroom, two bedrooms, and three bedrooms. The project site is made up of commercial and vacant land. The current commercial building will be demolished. The housing will be transit oriented as it sits between the Wood Island and Orient Heights MBTA stops and is in close proximity to different bus routes. The project will also contain a bike room to encourage less vehicular travel.

In addition to the new projects, the BPDA Board approved one Notice of Project Change:

  • 150 Kneeland will replace the previously approved hotel portion of the building with residential units. There will be 115 residential units instead of 230 hotel rooms. The height of the building, as well as its exterior, will remain the same.
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