ZBA Approved New Bremen Street Project

Back in July, the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) sent the developers of a proposed large-scale mixed-use development 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 ZBA approved project on Bremen Street.

While the project received BPDA approval, it lacked support from the community and the Mayor’s Office. 

However, last week the ZBA approved a scaled-down version of the original proposal. 

Ahead of the ZBA hearing the developer reduced the number of units from 145 to 126, or a 13 percent decrease, and increased the percentage of affordable units from 15 to 20 percent. 

Overall the approved project includes 13 live/work studios for artists and 5 three-bedroom apartments aimed at families making no more than 60 percent of the Boston area median income. In total, 20 percent of the units will be rented to people making no more than 60 percent of the Boston area median income. 

The changes were supported at last week’s ZBA hearing by City Councilor Lydia Edwards. 

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

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The developer wanted to take a non-conforming and outdated industrial use currently housing Gino’s Auto Body on Bremen Street and turn the site into a development that includes a mix of residential housing and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.

Other highlights of the project include 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 inked a community mitigation package with 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 20 percent affordable onsite housing–seven 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.

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