BPDA Hosts Meeting on Saratoga Street Project

By John Lynds

Last Wednesday night at the Salesian Boys & Girls Club, the Boston Planning and Development Agency hosted a community meeting regarding the large Saratoga Street project being pitched near Noyes Park as part of the BPDA’s Article 80 review process.

CB Equities Saratoga Street, LLC is planning on constructing a five-story, 42-unit residential building with 43 parking spaces on a parcel of land that once housed D&Z Auto Repair at 944-946 Saratoga St.

At last week’s meeting, residents still felt the massing and height of the building was a bit much for the area. After several back and forth discussions it seems the developer is somewhat willing to knock an entire floor off the building in order to scale it down a bit.

While residents at the meeting said the removal of the entire floor may be something they could live with even if they didn’t like a large building being constructed in the area.

“The goal of the project is to revitalize the neighborhood by replacing the existing commercial use structure with a residential building that  will add new market rate housing units to the increasingly popular  East Boston community,” said attorney for the project, Jeff Drago. “As part  of  the  community benefits related to the proposed project, the existing and unsightly commercial building will be demolished, and replaced with a residential building that is conducive to the surrounding neighborhood.”

The project will also include the creation of a lobby and bike room on the ground level. The building will be comprised of units of different sizes, which will accommodate Eastie’s  diverse  and growing population according to Drago. The units will be comprised of twenty-five one-bedroom units and seventeen two-bedroom units.  Many of the units will have exterior decks, which will provide residents with exclusive usable outdoor space.  Additionally, the  project will include a large second floor landscaped patio, which will be available for use by all future residents. This feature, said Drago, not only provides the residents with additional open space, but it also serves to minimize shadowing and the impact of the building on the direct abutters.

“The developers are cognizant that parking considerations are important to the neighborhood residents, and are proposing a ground level interior  parking facility that will house  forty-three parking spaces, giving the Project  a parking ratio of slightly greater than one to one,” said Drago. “In addition to the ground floor, the project  will also include bike rooms on the third and fourth floors. The proposal’s proximity to the Orient Heights  MBTA station and numerous bus lines will minimalize community impact from resident parking.”

The developer has held numerous meetings with the Orient Heights Neighborhood Council as well as abutters to get feedback and make changes to the project accordingly prior to last week’s BPDA meeting.

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