By Beth Treffeisen
The South End Landmarks Commission approved to demolish four structures and a new landscape design of the proposed Harrison Albany Block developments, at a hearing held last week.
After having an earlier advisory meeting the developers, Leggat McCall Properties returned with additional street trees and an updated pedestrian way that cuts through the properties from East Canton Street to East Dedham Street.
This project includes the redevelopment of an underutilized block into a mix-used collection of buildings. Some structures will remain and be augmented while others will be demolished and replaced.
The proposal includes two new residential buildings over a below-grade parking garage, renovation of the existing 575 Albany Street building into office use with ground floor retail, and new open spaces.
There will be about 687 new residential units. A portion of the on-site affordable units will be targeted towards working artists. The parking garage will have 703 spaces.
The development will also replace and relocate the substandard Andrews St., a north south, mid block connector with new mid-block connectors that improve and enhance pedestrian and vehicular circulation.
“As part of the design flows we wanted to create a line and blend it into the fabric of the South End,” said Alfred Wojciechowski of CBT Architects, Inc. “We wanted to be sensitive to the guidelines.”
The three-acre site is not part of the historic district but it is within the protection area. The South End Landmarks Commission has power over the buildings massing, landscaping and views to and from the historic district.
The two middle complexes will be 11 stories, while the Gambro Addition will be five stories and the Albany Addition will be six stories.
There will be no visible equipment on the top roofs of the building.
One concern that arose during the hearing was the use of the public space that runs through the building complexes.
“What about the security – will there be benches placed there?” asked Commissioner Catherine Hunt.
Wojciechowski said that they have put a lot of thought into how they will program that area to keep it active.
“We want it to be safe and that has been a big part of our design,” said Wojciechowski who added that they plan to have security cameras. “We want it to be a hang out spot but an appropriate hang out spot.”
The buildings to be demolished are 75 East Dedham St. that was built in 1913, 100 East Canton St. that was built in 1978, and 575 Albany St. Annex that was built in 1991, and 123 East Dedham St. that was built in 1925.
All of the buildings being demolished where deemed non-historic. The demolition is expected to start this summer.
The Commission asked that a signage master plan be submitted to staff.
The Boston Planning and Development Agency approved this project on March 2, 2017.