By John Lynds
Last Wednesday the Eagle Hill Civic Association approved a development project in Day Square on the corner of Prescott and Chelsea Street by a vote of 11 to 5.
According to the attorney for the project Diane Modica the Roberto Family, owners of Spinelli’s, currently own the property at 341 Chelsea street at the corner of Prescott Street across from La Chiva and Realty Ventures.
“They are seeking to take down the existing two unit two story building and the garage in the rear to construct a three-story building that will house five townhouse-style units all with separate entrances,” said Modica. “The garages in the rear are in a state of disrepair and are not usable.”
The project will consist of four, two-bedroom units and one, one-bedroom unit.
Modica said the project needs zoning relief for parking, floor area ratio and rear-year setback.
“The entire 1875 sq. ft. footprint of the lot will be used for the building,” said Modica. “A small open courtyard in the rear will provide a lovely landscaped area as an open respite space for the unit residents and add a sense of air and light for the abutting properties.”
Modica said the property is located in a Neighborhood Shopping district where both businesses and residential uses are allowed with many three-story properties existing side by side with businesses and residences situated right over the businesses.
“The project also allows for the shopping convenience of having local business available for neighbored residents and creates a mutually beneficial relationship allowing business to have access to many nearby patrons as well as those who visit from elsewhere,” said Modica
The brick structure the Roberto’s plan to construct with historic-looking detail like copper bays will become a ‘signature building’ in the square, said Modica.
“The new building offers impressive curb appeal with a brick and cast stone facade with three bays on Prescott Street side and flat facade on Chelsea street side that will anchor this corner lot and provide a substantial residential upgrade,” said Modica. “Two new trees will offer a softening of the building on the Prescott Street of the building. As a signature building, it welcomes people to Day Square and improves the streetscape. The rationale behind allowing housing and business in the same district in different sections of the community is that it is mutually beneficial for business and residents alike.”
Modica said the project would be a transit-oriented project. While there will be no parking proposed, the curb cuts that serve the small parking space in the rear of the building will be returned to the street restoring the curb that allows for net gain of two spaces on street.
“Also it is most notable that alternate public transit is available out the back and front door so to speak with the airport T station and Wood Island station and bus route within walking distance,” said Modica.
There are also emerging trends in the neighborhood with the increasing use of Zip Car by the local neighborhood that the proponent hopes to take advantage of.
“There are four locations in East Boston where you can pick up a Zip Car for errands or for the day at a cost that is competitive with owning a car,” said Modica. “This along with new mobile apps for Uber and Lyft as well as liveries and taxis , East Boston residents are beginning to see the savings and value of not owning a car and using public transit and these new options.”
The city also just had installed 10 Hubway Bike stations in various parts of East Boston with 139 bikes available for getting around to do errands visit places and people all for $6 for the day. It may seem unlikely that people will use any of these alternate modes but the fact is that the statistics and our demographics are showing otherwise.
Architect for the project at 341 Chelsea Street presents the design of the building. The project was approved by EHCA members last Wednesday.