BPDA Approves Curtis Street Project

Last Thursday at its May board meeting the Boston Planning and Development Agency voted to approve a 29-unit residential development on Curtis Street. 

Owners and developers of 7-11 Curtis St., Seth Williams and Jim Grossman plan to demolish the existing structure that currently houses Eastern Flooring, combine four separate parcels and erect two buildings–one on Curtis Street with 21 units and a second one on Saratoga Street with 8 units.

An artist rendering of the BPDA approved project on Curtis Street.

Williams and Grossman want to create a mix of condo/rental units. The building with 21 units will include 17 parking spots while the building with only 8 units on Saratoga Street will have no parking spots. The developers also plan to contribute $30,000 to the Mclean Playground rehab project. 

Four of the 29 residential units will be income restricted under the BPDA inclusionary policy. The units will be a mix of studio, one bedroom, two bedrooms, and three bedrooms. The housing will be transit oriented as it sits between the Wood Island and Orient Heights MBTA stops and is in close proximity to different bus routes. The project will also contain a bike room to encourage less vehicular travel.

The developers met several times with members of the Harbor View Neighborhood Association (HVNA) over the past year and made several changes to the project after hearing feedback from the community. 

Williams and Grossman moved away from boxy brick buildings and incorporated bay windows, the use of fiber cement clapboard siding, shed dormers and added continuity with windows to pick up site lines of adjacent buildings in the final design. 

The project was also reduced from five stories down to four stories and the parking has been sunk underground. 

The owners also added greenspace and added greenscaping along the frontage of the buildings and reduced the overall square footage by 1,400 square feet. 

At the meetings prior to the BPDA vote HVNA members seemed to be warming up to the project when compared to the initial presentation. Some applauded the changes and thanked the developers for listening to community input. 

However, HVNA members still voted 23-9 against the project. Those in opposition pointed to density, lack of parking and the overall size and scope of the project as another example of over-building in the neighborhood. 

One of the nine HVNA members that voted in favor of the project said, “I have been in the  neighborhood for over 40 years. This could be a great  opportunity for the neighborhood. I look forward to the new building and new activity in the area”. 

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