BPDA Holds Meeting on 2 Ford St. Proposal

Last Wednesday, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) held a community meeting regarding the proposed mixed-use development at 2 Ford St. in Orient Heights Square.

The meeting was part of the project’s Article 80 Small Project Review process.

The public comment period will be open until Friday, May 31 and letters can be submitted at www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/2-ford-street#comment_Form.

Developer MG2’s proposed project consists of the development of a 9,409 square-foot site situated at 2 Ford Street, the site of the former Nu-Trend tire and auto mechanic shop.

MG2 plans to construct a new four story, mixed use multifamily residential/retail building, containing twenty 27 residential units, 1,630 square feet of ground floor retail, and 25 off-street parking spaces located in the building’s at grade garage.

The garage will be entered and exited via Boardman Street, which has direct access to McClellan Highway and Saratoga Street.

According to MG2’s attorney, Richard Lynds, the proposed project would create a mixed-use residential/retail development combining market- rate and affordable housing opportunities in an aesthetic appropriate in scale, massing and design to the Orient Heights Neighborhood of East Boston.  In planning the building Lynds said great care was taken by his clients to respecting the abutting properties, which share boundaries with the site as well as modifications made during the community outreach process with direct abutters and the Orient Heights Neighborhood Council.

The at-grade floor will contain 3,395 square feet of an enclosed parking garage intending to accommodate the needs of the building’s residents through the provision of 25 parking spaces and at least 25 bicycle racks.

Floors two, three and four will contain 27 total residential units, with a mix of twelve 12, one-bedroom units and 15, two-bedroom units.  There will be bicycle parking within the garage, in addition to trash handling and recycling facilities, storage.

MG2 plans to use a mix of metal panels and other design elements.

At the meeting, neighbors still raised concerns over traffic and parking and how another 27 units in the square would impact current traffic levels. The BPDA’s project manager for the project, John Campbell, said because the proposal is a Small Project under Article 80 no traffic study needed to be done. Campbell added that in his experience at the BPDA, a project of this size has relatively little impact on local traffic.

“When you get up into the 60, 70 or 100 unit projects is when you start to see impacts,” he said.

Also some had a concern over the garage entrance and exit pattern. While Lynds said vehicles exiting the building would only be allowed to turn right onto Boardman Street residents argued that many would ignore the double yellow line and try and turn left into Orient Heights Square. With Boardman Street usually backed up during the afternoon commute some feared residents of the building would add to the congestion.

However, some ideas like installing flexible lane dividers from the Orient Heights Square rotary down to the building’s garage would prevent resident exiting the proposed building from making the left onto Boardman and force them to turn right towards McClellan Highway. 

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