ZBA Votes Down Development on Bremen Street

Last Tuesday the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals sent developers of a Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved project on Bremen Street back to the drawing board.

Citing a lack of greenspace coupled with the size and scope of the project, the ZBA unanimously rejected the proposed project at 282-302 Bremen St. that would have brought 145 additional units to Eastie.

An artist rendering of the proposed project on Bremen Street. While the project received BPDA approval, it was rejected by the ZBA last Tuesday.

A representative of Mayor Martin Walsh’s office spoke in opposition to the project at last week’s ZBA hearing–something that made abutters to the project very happy.

The project received BPDA approval in February and was under Article 80 Large Project review and still needed zoning variances from the ZBA to move forward.

In February the BPDA approved 145 residential units, 21 of which are income-restricted to the neighborhood at the site.

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The developer wanted to take a non-conforming and outdated industrial use currently housing Gino’s Auto Body on Bremen Street and turn the site into a development that includes a mix of residential housing and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 included 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 would be designed for an urban grocery store/market operator, daycare operator or local retailer.

Prior to the ZBA 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 also agreed to install 19 trees, expand the sidewalks–up to 18 feet in some areas, install 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.

However, in the end the ZBA ruled that the community and abutter’s concerns over density, design and lack of greenspace needed to be addressed before moving forward.

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