By John Lynds
Last week the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), formerly the Boston Redevelopment Authority, held an Article 80 design review meeting regarding the large residential development on Border Street in East Boston.
The market rate condo development project from 301 to 323 Border would replace an existing auto body shop that extends from Eutaw Street to the community garden between Border and Meridian Streets.
At the meeting the developer of the project, City Realty Group, said they have addressed several concerns from past community meetings in Eagle Hill. The Eagle Hill Civic Association (EHCA) voted 18 to 4 in favor of the project but there were still some concerns regarding parking.
The proposal and drawings received praise from residents at the meeting and the developer decided to up the number of parking spaces from 30 to 42 spaces. This was done to address some concerns regarding impacts to parking in area. The new plans presented also brings the total number of units down from 65 to 64 units.
“The Developers understand that parking is always a concern to the neighborhood residents, and are proposing a ground level interior parking facility that will house 42 parking spaces and bike racks for 22 bikes, as well as an electric car charging station for residents,” said Attorney Jeff Drago. “Furthermore, a separate bike room has been proposed, which will accommodate fifty-two additional bicycles. The Proposed Project’s proximity to two MBTA stations will minimize community impact from resident/patron parking from the Proposed Project.”
City Realty is proposing a mixed use project that will include 64 residential units and 984 square feet of commercial space along the ground floor of the building.
The $21 million project will also include the creation of a gym for the residents, and a gallery in the ground level lobby, which will pay homage to the shipbuilding legacy of this particular section of Eastie. The gallery will include photographs and neighborhood artwork from the local artist community.
The units will have a mixture of different sizes, which will accommodate Eastie’s diverse and growing population. The units will be comprised of one studio unit, 17 one bedroom/one study units, 37 two bedroom units, and nine three bedroom units. Approximately half the units will have exterior decks, and the project also includes a proposed common roof deck, which will provide residents with usable outdoor space.
The second component of the Proposed Project will include 984 square feet of commercial space. The commercial space will accommodate the needs of East Boston’s growing population. The Developers have proposed using this space as a yoga studio/juice bar or another comparable use that will encourage local neighborhood shopping. This type of amenity, said Drago, will allow for residents of the neighborhood to walk to the studio from their home or from one of the busy MBTA stations.
The developers are also seeking for the building to be meet a Gold LEED standard. They also plan to be good neighbors and run a charitable organization called City Kids. Through this organization they hope to partner with the Mario Umana Academy.
They are also in talks with East Boston’s NOAH to help fund ongoing maintenance of the stairs and park that connects Border Street to Meridian Street.