By Beth Treffeisen
After much debate between residents of the Bay Village, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) board approved the 199-foot, mix-use building at 212-222 Stuart Street with a unanimous vote at the hearing held on Thursday, June 15.
“The collaboration between the neighborhood association and the City made this project better,” said Peter Spellios from Transom, the real estate development firm behind this project. “We didn’t have the best ideas walking in. We think the best ideas came by virtue of this project and by having an openness of all stakeholders and listen to new ideas and all ideas and challenge each other.”
He continued, “We are very appreciative of all the stakeholders to allow us to end up with a better project.”
Zoning relief requires height, floor level, and yard variations. BPDA feels like the building fits within the context and recommends approving the project. The project will now forward to the Zoning Board of Appeals and then the Bay Village Landmarks Commission for final approval. Hearing dates have not been set.
The proposed building will be developed on a 7,714 square-foot parcel that is currently a vacant lot and a surface parking lot. The project will include the construction of 133 residential units with about 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail or restaurant use.
The project site, which is bordered by Stuart, Church, and Shawmut streets, is comprised of a vacant lot at 212 Stuart Street and a surface parking lot at 222 Stuart Street. In lieu of onsite parking, an agreement has been finalized with the owner of the adjacent garage at 200 Stuart Street to provide long-term parking for occupants and visitors to the building.
The $97 million project is expected to break ground in 2018. The project includes significant improvements to the Church Street pedestrian plaza and surrounding areas, and will support improvements to Statler Park and several parks within Bay Village.
“Certain residents did raise a number of concerns throughout the process including height, wind impact, shadow impact and lack of connectivity to the Bay Village neighborhood,” said Mike Rooney the project coordinator for this site from the BPDA. “The proponent responded to these concerns with design changes and mitigation efforts.”
The project complies with the Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) by creating 11 IDP units within the proposed project, along with making an IDP contribution of $3,309,507.
The developers will also be contributing $292,000 to various uses specific to the ongoing care and maintenance of Statler Park and the other City parks located throughout the Bay Village.
Another $250,000 will be contributed towards Bay Village to use for safety initiatives, open space initiatives and other initiatives within the neighborhood.
“Our open space is the neighborhoods open space,” said Spellios. “There are five beautiful pocket parks in Bay Village, we have Statler Park across the street. We get the benefit of those being our front yard and our back yard and we recognize that – when they thrive, we thrive.”