By Seth Daniel
The silence has been broken, and the mystery has been solved, as the Davis Companies announced last week that they will seek to develop a 13-story residential mixed-use tower on the site of the former ABCD child care building at 112 Shawmut Avenue.
The building is seen as a key gateway to the emerging New York Streets neighborhood, and plans for it have been shrouded in mystery for neighborhood leaders and neighboring developers since the company purchased the six-story building in 2015 from ABCD for $24 million.
Last week, the Davis Companies filed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) saying they plan to rehabilitate the existing six-story building that formerly housed ABCD and other office uses, and add seven stories to the top of that building to create a 13-story tower as a signature gateway property to the South End – a property that is also very visible from the Mass Pike.
The new tower would house approximately 155 units, a 975 sq. ft. ground floor cafe, and 128 parking spots.
The project will amass 180,285 sq. ft. of Gross Floor Area and sits on a 28,380 sq. ft. parcel.
The site is being developed with cooperation from two neighbors, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) and the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church (BCEC), who have signed on in order to assure that any future development within the Planned Development Area (PDA) has vital and compatible uses. There is no public plan to develop those sites at the moment though.
“We are excited to work together along with the BPDA and the community to contribute a dynamic development that will enhance Shawmut Ave. and add vitality to the South End neighborhood,” read a statement from The Davis Companies, CCBA and BCEC.
Ted Tye of National Development, the catalysts behind the New York Streets transformation with the Ink Block praised the proposal.
“Ink Block was the catalyst that got things started in the New York Streets neighborhood, and we’re pleased to see a quality local developer such as David Companies bring more redevelopment to the area,” he said. “It is really good for everyone and part of the ongoing transformation. I hope that we will ultimately see some additional office development to enhance the mix of uses.”
The New York Streets Neighborhood Association (NYSNA) took no initial position on the development, saying they are discussing amongst the leadership and membership. They will have a meeting on Tuesday, June 6.
The six-story building housed ABCD child care programs, including the Head Start program for the South End, for many years until selling a couple of years ago. A lease to continue the occupancy for ABCD was extended for an interim use, and the organization relocated in February to the former Cathedral Grammar School building on Harrison Avenue. A grand opening of that facility took place last month.
As recently as February, neighborhood association members said there had been no inkling at all of what Davis intended to do.
The building sits next to The Lucas, a condo development in an old church that is nearly completed.
The proposal will be subject to the Article 80 Large Project Review process with the BPDA.