New Proposed Building in Bay Village Brings Up Concerns Among Residents

By Beth Treffeisen

Members of Bay Village voiced their concerns over the newly proposed 19-story building slated for 212 – 222 Stuart Street at the Bay Village Neighborhood Association (BVNA) executive committee meeting, held on January 9.

Major concerns circled around height, light pollution, shadows to be cast onto the adjacent Statler Park, and the need for bigger units to attract more families. The biggest concern evolved around whether or not their community feedback would make a difference or not in the final design.

“I find dealing with the BRA (Boston Redevelopment Authority, now the BPDA) an awful and hideous experience,” said Mark Slater a Bay Village resident. “If you don’t participate you’ll get run down and if you do participate you’ll maybe get some minor changes.”

The proposed project includes the development of an approximately 146,000 square foot, 199 foot high, building that will consist of about 131 residential units and approximately 3,000 square feet for local businesses, such as a restaurant.

The residential units are anticipated to be rentals in a range of sizes, including studios and one to three bedrooms. The project will contain one basement level that will include retail, residential amenity spaces, bike storage and building operational needs.

No on-site parking is proposed but the developers, Transom Real Estate, have finalized a long-term parking lease for up to 50 parking spaces in the adjacent 200 Stuart Street garage.

The project site consists of four parcels, 212 – 222 Stuart Street and 17 – 19 Shawmut Street (a portion of which was renamed Cocoanut Grove Lane in 2013). The long-blighted site currently contains a surface parking lot containing about 20 spaces.

The currently vacant eastern part of the site was once occupied by a three-story brick and concrete building, which a prior owner demolished and replaced with a fenced-off gravel surface in 2014.

The project is currently under review by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), and has already gone through Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC) on January 3 and was heard at the Bay Village Historic Commission on January 10.

“I think the renderings are inadequate,” said Stephen Dunwell, who saw the design plans at the BCDC meeting and is on the historic commission. “They don’t show enough and they need more work.”

Paul Miller, a Bay Village resident would like to see the height reduced to the originally proposed 122 feet and would like to see bigger units to encourage families to live there.

At the same time, he argued, the design doesn’t quite fit into the area.

“If something is going to be there it should be welcoming to the neighborhood,” said Miller. “We keep calling this a gateway to Bay Village but right now it’s just a restaurant.”

Talk about pushing for affordable housing to be on-site was also voiced at the meeting.

The BPDA approved two previous developments for the site in 2006 and 2008.

In 2005, Ceres-MHP Development LLC proposed an eight-story, plus penthouse at 115 feet tall residential building on the site of 212 Stuart Street. 222 Stuart Street parcel was not included in the project.

In September 2007, Rena, LLC purchased both of those properties and proposed building a ten-story, 112-foot high, 65,700 square foot building with a mixed-used program consisting of office and retail space. Construction on the project never commenced.

“For 15 years this site has been under development,” said Slater. “But the last two developers had low-cost, low-rent, and awful designs.”

Construction for the current proposed project is anticipated to commence in the fourth quarter of 2017, with completion anticipated in approximately 20 months. The comment period for this project to the BPDA goes to February 24.

Slater said, “You fight every battle the best you can.”

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