By Seth Daniel
The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) is set to call for public hearings, and a potential Board vote, of two major projects in the South End that were debated for almost all of 2016.
The BPDA Board will hear a request from Director Brian Golden at its meeting today, Jan. 12, to advertise for public hearings on the Harrison Albany project by Leggat McCall and the Quinzani’s project by Related Beal.
The Public Hearings, if approved today, would take place at the Feb. 9 BPDA Board meeting – with a vote taking place likely at the meeting as well. If approved, they would then go to the Zoning Commission for final okays.
The Harrison Albany Block project is the largest of the two, seeking to redevelop and entire city block between Harrison Avenue and Albany Street at East Canton and East Dedham. Right now, the site hosts a large surface parking lot for Boston Medical Center employees, a number of vacant or underutilized buildings and the Gambro building with medical functions already existing.
The public hearing request, notably, calls for 650 units on the site – which is down from 710 units in buildings as high as 19 stories in the original proposal.
After a redesign, which incorporated two large, 11-story buildings in the center, and renovated buildings at the edge, the project sat at 687 units.
At a BPDA public meeting in November, that unit number had ratcheted down to 650.
Neighborhood associations, including the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association and the Blackstone Franklin Square Neighborhood Association, had long held that there were too many units, and that perhaps something in the 500-unit range would be more palatable.
The two 11-story buildings in the center of the project would hold 600 units, 8,600 sq. ft. of retail and affordable cultural space (facing East Dedham), and a two-level 650 car garage underneath.
The Gambro Building on Harrison Avenue is to be renovated and expanded by 47,500 sq. ft. to include 82,000 sq. ft. of new office and retail space.
The vacant building at 575 Albany St. will be renovated and have one story added on to make it six stories tall. It will house 50 units of housing and 5,200 sq. ft. of retail space.
The Quinzani’s project is the latest entry at the New York Streets neighborhood, to be located at 370-380 Harrison Ave. – where a bean sprout company and the old Quinzani’s Bakery used to be.
A BPDA public meeting on the project took place last night, Jan. 11, in the South End.
The Quinzani’s project has also gone through a few changes, with the first change coming last summer due to a bad review by the Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC). Recently, however, the project had a reconfiguration in order to add more affordable housing to the project via a new zoning amendment approved in December.
The amendment allowed a significantly greater density to the project in exchange for putting 20 percent of the affordable units on site in the building. The overlying zoning for the area only requires 10 percent of the units on site and 10 percent in the Affordable Housing Fund.
The current project consists of one 14-story (150 foot) building with 324 residential units – having a mix of 232 rentals and 92 condos. There will be 8,500 sq. ft. of ground floor retail space and 180 parking spaces in an underground parking garage.