Affordable housing: BPDA approves Bremen Street project

Last Thursday the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors approved the development project on Bremen Street in East Boston.
The BPDA approved project will bring 145 residential units, 21 of which are income-restricted to the neighborhood. The BPDA said the project will make progress towards Mayor Martin Walsh’s goal of increasing affordable housing to support a strong middle class.
Bremen Acquisitions filed the project with the BPDA last year that kicked off an Article 80 review by the BPDA and the appointment of an IAG made up of community members for the proposal.
The now approved project will revitalize a non-conforming and outdated industrial use currently housing Gino’s Auto Body on Bremen Street into a development that includes a mix of residential housing and ground-floor retail space.
The project consists of the construction of a mixed-use development with 145 residential units, up to 3,200 square feet of retail space, and up to 61 off-street vehicle parking spaces.The project also includes related upgrades in public realm improvements, including pedestrian and vehicular access, landscaping and streetscape design. With a combined land area of approximately 34,160 square feet, the site consists of nine contiguous parcels of land with a series of non-descript automobile repair structures, one small wood-frame residential buildings, surface parking and multiple curb-cuts off Bremen Street.
The 110,000 square-foot building will also include more than 3,000 square feet of retail space, over 2,155 square feet of artist workspace with gallery programming, up to 61 parking spaces and 145 bicycle storage spaces.
According to the BPDA the ground-floor retail space will be designed for an urban grocery store/market operator, daycare operator or local retailer. The development team will work in consultation with the BPDA and the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development to market the retail space for these desired uses.
Prior to the BPDA vote Bremen Acquisition released its community mitigation package to members of the project’s IAG.
The package is comparable to other projects of its size with $200,000 in direct money benefits Eastie. The developer agreed to doing 15 percent affordable onsite housing–two percent more than what is required under the BPDA inclusionary policy.
The developer is also planting 19 trees, expanding the sidewalks, up to 18 feet in some areas, a safety bump out to make crossing Bremen Street easier for pedestrians, as well as creating a more active Bremen Street in what has been an industrial area.
Bremen Acquisitions has also agreed to expand the retail space to make room for a fresh grocer, which is desperately needed in the area.

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