Developer Revives Plans For Mixed-Use Project Next To Arlington Street Church

A longtime local developer is reviving plans for a mixed-use project adjacent to the Arlington Street Church that has languished for more than a decade.

Ron Druker, president of the Boston-based Druker Company, outlined plans to build a 221,230 square-foot development with office, retail fitness and restaurant spaces at 350 Boylston St. during a meeting sponsored by the Boston Planning and Development Agency Monday, Oct. 7, at the Copley Branch of the Boston Public Library.  The BPDA’s predecessor, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, approved the project in October of 2008, but it stalled due to the 2008 recession, he said.

Druker said the proposed building height of nine stories is consistent with the earlier proposal.

And while plans for 150 off-street parking spaces stay the same, Druker said accommodations for bicycles has been expanded to 66 from 27.

Another change from the earlier proposal is that spa and retail space might be expanded to the second floor “like Hermes,” Druker said.

“The massing and the setbacks will create no new shadows in accordance with shadow legislation,” Druker said, adding that the project aims to complement the Arlington Street Church. “It will create a strong architectural statement at this important corner [at Arlington and Boylston streets]. We intend to build a landmark for the 21st century.”

Also, Druker said the project “would help invigorate a corner impacted by homelessness.”

Attorney Marilyn Stickler said it wasn’t feasible to preserve the three existing buildings at 340-360 Boylston St., adding, “not even the façade could be retained.”

Community benefits from the project would include approximately $1,310,496 in linkage fees comprised of a Housing Contribution Grant of about $1,094,707 and a jobs contribution of around $215,789; approximately $2 million each year in new property tax revenue; $25,000 to support neighborhood improvements; 300 construction jobs; and 880 permanent jobs, Druker said.

 One meeting attendee suggested that since concerns regarding environmental change have increased dramatically since the project was approved in 2008, the design may no longer be tenable, and with more city residents forgoing driving, the parking allotment might also be excessive.

Steve DiFillippo, owner of Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, which has a location at 75 Arlington St., said, “We can’t wait for this to happen. It will really clean up the neighborhood.”

Meanwhile, Druker sought to reassure those in attendance that despite it lapsing for more that a decade, his firm is now ready to proceed with the project.

“We worked with many of you to make an approved project a reality,” Druker said. “We wouldn’t be here if we weren’t moving forward.”

The BPDA is accepting public comments on the proposed project until Oct. 17. To submit a comment or for more information, visit http://www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/350-boylston-street.

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