At its May board meeting last Thursday the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved a 26-unit residential project on Geneva Street.
In its ruling the BPDA board wrote that, “28-30 Geneva Street advances consistent with the priorities outlined in ongoing PLAN: East Boston initiative”. The PLAN: East Boston initiative hopes to change some zoning in areas of Eastie while ‘preserving, enhancing and growing’ the community.
Joel DeLuca, owner of 28-30 Geneva St., is proposing to tear down a former automotive storage facility and replace it with five-story residential building with 26 home ownership units, including three income-restricted units.
The 8,000 sq. ft. lot would also include 19 off-street parking spaces as part of the proposal and at least 26 on-site bicycle storage spaces.
“This transit oriented development is located within a half mile of the MBTA subway and bus service, providing residents with access throughout the City of Boston and greater Boston area,” wrote the BPDA. “The project is expected to bring a number of public benefits to the East Boston neighborhood, including investments in roadway infrastructure and public realm improvements. Additionally, 28-30 Geneva St. is consistent with the planning and development guidelines identified in the BPDA’s ongoing PLAN: East Boston study.”
During the community process some Gove Street Citizens Association (GSCA) members were quick to dismiss a proposed residential development on Geneva Street as yet another large scale development that does not fit in with the surrounding community.
However, other longtime Geneva Street residents welcomed the proposal as something that may start a rebirth on the long neglected street.
At the first meeting regarding the proposal, some GSCA members were wary of another large-scale development with one member commenting that the group has seen enough five-story proposals and didn’t like the modern design.
Attorney Jeff Drago, representing DeLuca, said Geneva Street is basically a blank canvas that needs some attention. Historically the unpaved Geneva, which connects Gove Street to Maverick Street, has been dotted with auto repair shops, auto storage facilities and a few homes.
Those who live on the street agreed with Drago and want to see more developers take interest in the street.
“There’s nothing down here,” said one resident at the meeting. “I’m an abutter to this project and the street has been a dump for as long as I can remember. I’m all for anything they can do to make this street look better because honestly it can’t be any worse than it is now. There are no sidewalks and no street.”
Drago said already one developer has started a project on the street and another of Drago’s clients received approval for a nine-unit development on the corner of Gove and Geneva Streets.
“As more and more parcels are developed on this street the better the street will look,” said Drago. “We are proposing new sidewalks and as more projects come on line the sidewalks will be extended and eventually the street will be paved.”