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New real estate development projects in Boston

Thirty new units of residential housing could be coming to 212 Old Colony Ave. in South Boston.

Developer Old C LLC filed a small project review application with the Boston Planning & Development Authority for 25 market-rate units and five affordable units. The 30 units will be a mix of studios, one-bedroom units and two-bedroom units. 

The project is being proposed under the city’s compact-living pilot program. Arthur Choo and Co. is the architect. 

The site, located between the Broadway T station and the Andrew Square T station, currently houses a commercial warehouse and is next to several other sites that have been or are in the process of redevelopment. 

In its filing, the developer said it plans to revitalize the area with the project, providing “quality affordable housing for families and young professionals,” while also offering area improvements. The building design, according to the filing, will also complement the other new projects nearby. 

The project is expected to cost $8 million and will include a 950-square-foot commercial space, more than 2,500 square feet of amenity space and parking for 30 bicycles. 

A public hearing on the project is scheduled for Oct. 19. The comment period for the proposal is open until Nov. 3.

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New real estate development projects in Boston

Bids received for Charlestown’s Pier 5 redevelopment

The Boston Planning and Development Agency is reviewing three bids for the redevelopment of Pier 5 in the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Built in 1912, the original wood pier was reconstructed with concrete and steel in 1943. According to project documents, the pier, as it stands today, is not salvageable and needs to be demolished. Redevelopment of Pier 5 would rehabilitate the blighted structure and help complete the implementation of the vision for the redevelopment of the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Redevelopment of the Charlestown Navy Yard includes waterfront enhancements for both local residents and workers, as well as visitors, including the creation of a year-round destination and improved access, as well as increasing water-dependent uses like sailing facilities, marinas, and water-transit facilities. 

Three companies submitted bids for the projects: Navy Blue LLC, 6M Development and Urbanica. 

Navy Blue, LLC, a partnership of Charlestown Marina, Parent + Diamond, and Urban Spaces, is proposing what they call Boston’s “first floating community,” which would replace the existing pier with 115,000 square feet of live-aboard vessel space. It would be a 55-slip marina, designed to accommodate 122 of these vessels ranging in size from 530 square feet to 2,100 square feet. Additionally, the proposal includes creating a marina community with a floating pavilion for outdoor space, as well as a stop for water shuttles. 

6M’s proposal also calls for a floating community of homes and parks, selectively demolishing and retaining parts of the pier to create four sturdy islands as anchoring points for the floating homes, “merging the canal feeling of Amsterdam with the dynamic tidal range of Boston’s inner harbor.” The 172,000 square foot residential community would include a combination of townhouses, duplexes, and apartments on islands connected by a harbor walk running from the landward side to the pier’s end to allow for pedestrian and emergency vehicle access. Some units would have access to a boat slip, and there is also space for a water shuttle stop. 

Urbanica is proposing the development of 89 income-restricted housing units consisting of 15 studios, 39 one-bedrooms, 22 two bedrooms, and 13 three bedrooms. The building footprint would be designed as a public rooftop urban farm that would provide community garden plots and harvest areas for an adjoining restaurant. The proposal also includes public green space.

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In November of 2018, the BPDA held a community meeting where they shared that the cost to demolish and rebuild the pier would be at least $16 million and that the agency would pursue an RFP to explore options for the pier’s redevelopment. Also at that meeting, BPDA officials said if that wasn’t feasible, the pier could be demolished and would be very unlikely to be rebuilt. 

In October 2019, the BPDA sought community feedback about releasing the RFP. Community members indicated they were open to exploring various options, including a marina, residential units, and open space. They also expressed concerns about potential congestion, noise, and view obstruction. A priority was placed on resilience to sea-level rise.

Historic Boston, Inc. yesterday filed plans with the BPD to build a three-story, 14-unit condo building on Hawthorne Street in Roxbury, behind the currently empty St. James African Orthodox Church on Cedar Street, which the group would renovate into commercial space after completing the condos.

All of the condos, split between one- and two-bedroom units, would be sold to people making no more than the Boston area median income.

City Realty had originally bought the church, for $1 million, in 2015 and planned to tear it down for replacement by 30 market-rate residential units. After an outcry in the neighborhood – and an injunction filed by the city – the company agreed to sell the church to Historic Boston in 2018, at a 40% markup over what it had paid for the property.

In recent years, Historic Boston has developed projects that feature modern construction as a way to preserve a historic building on a site. In Roslindale, for example, it worked with a developer to renovate a former Boston Elevated trolley power substation into what is now a beer hall – with apartments in a new building wrapped around it.

According to the group’s filing, the church was built in 1908 as the Norwegian Evangelical Congregational Church, in “a style that combined Gothic and Shingle style influences, as well as elements of Norwegian traditional ecclesiastical design.” St. James bought the church n 1955, when the Norwegian congregation moved to Waltham.

HBI says it does not yet have a specific tenant for the church – where renovations would include opening up loft space near the top for daily use – but says:

Our goal is to identify a use that will allow for occasional public access to the rehabilitated sanctuary, as requested by the neighborhood. Additionally, we are making an effort to identify a use that can accommodate periodic assemblies by the neighborhood’s Nathan Hale school.

50 Cedar St. small-project review application (9.6M PDF).

 

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