By Beth Treffeisen
At a recent Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) meeting, residents voiced their concerns about how this is just another building adding to the displacement of long-time residents.
The second phase of the proposed building for 1065 Tremont Street, located on the border of the South End and Mission Hill, is expected to get rolling.
“It’s not just about the construction jobs that will provide simple jobs and contracts that expire,” said Bill Singleton from the United Neighbors of Lower Roxbury. “It’s about providing residential benefits for the long-term.”
Another resident in the neighborhood said that although he walks by the building on a daily basis, he would rather see the once ugly orange one-story building, than see a new building that doesn’t provide permanent housing for families in the neighborhood.
“Many folks want to see more housing opportunities to stop gentrification in this City,” said Virginia Morrison the executive director of the Neighborhood Development Corporation of Grove Hall who is partnering with the developers to provide local workers for construction.
She continued, “We’ve identified some parcels that the city owns in this area and we’re looking at possible negotiations with the them to prevent future gentrification.”
Another member of the United Neighbors of Lower Roxbury said that she feels like this neighborhood is under attack from development and feels like this building is just one of many new buildings that are dislocating the people who live there.
The new construction will consist of 28 residential units on six levels. It will create four units of affordable housing in the neighborhood or immediately on site. Two of the units will meet requirements for accessible design. The total square footage is 31,5000 feet.
Since the project is in walking distance of public transportation, the developers concluded that no parking spaces were needed to make the units marketable.
Community feedback argued that finding parking is very difficult in the area and asked if students where to live in the apartments if Northeastern University would provide parking passes to the nearby garage that the University owns.
At the meeting, the developer said that there are currently 17 spots behind the current building there that cannot be leased and are for the most part sitting empty.
V. William Avanessian from Boston Real Estate Collaborative, LLC said that he is going to continue to work with the next-door Church, St. Cyprians on how to best work out the parking situation during construction.
In a joint venture between the developers Boston Real Estate Collaborative, LLC and Urban Core Development, they purchased the Empire Insurance Lot located at 1065 Tremont Street in September 2014.
The as-of-right project that included 16 new residential units and one commercial space was completed in April 2016. The initial space was approximately 8,100 square feet and was bounded by Tremont Street and St. Cyprians Place.
According to the developers, the building is fully occupied with working professionals and students attending the nearby universities. The insurance company that was located at the site before construction now occupies the first floor commercial space.
But, the major concerns seemed to always circle back to parking.
“It was once an orange ugly, single-story building,” said Morrison. “Now, two and half years later you’re able to see an affordable building going in there – now the question is how do we mitigate parking for the neighborhood and the Church.”