Major retail, housing planned for car lot

STONYBROOK—A major development that would bring new commercial space and housing to the corner of Washington and McBride streets was unveiled this week. A small team of developers is under agreement to buy the parcel at 3529 Washington St.—currently occupied by the Flanagan & Seaton Motor Car Company—and to develop retail space, a self-storage facility and 30 units of housing.

The used car dealership has sat on that corner for decades. Rumors of it being sold have circulated for some time.

The developers—New Boston Ventures, represented by David Goldman, SSG Development, represented by David Fulton, and Harry Collings, an independent consultant for the development team—made their presentation for the proposed project to members of the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) on April 11 at Doyle’s Café.

The development of the site would involve a complete demolition of the existing buildings, developers said. The developers don’t have a design for the proposed buildings yet—they came to the SNA early, even before presenting the project to the Boston Redevelopment Authority—to make sure the neighborhood would accept their proposal.

The preliminary site plan calls for a 22,000-square-foot, two-story retail space facing Washington Street, a four-story self-storage facility and 30 units of housing along Burnett Street.

The storage facility would be a shorter building than a standard four-story and would sit along McBride Street, Fulton said.

“Right now we just have a concept,” Collings said.

“We’re here to hear what you think is appropriate for the site,” Goldman said. “This is not a proposal. This is a point of discussion.”

The proposed development on the corner of Washington and McBride streets has residents excited for the possibility of revitalizing an industrial stretch of the Stonybrook neighborhood.

“It begins to make a pedestrian cityscape…It makes Washington Street friendly,” said Fred Vetterlein, co-chair of the SNA.

“This is going to set the precedent for this street,” Bill Reyelt, a resident, said. “This could really create some vitality. We need more residents on Washington Street.”

Residents who live along Burnett Street expressed concern about possible gridlock along that street with as many as 60 new cars to deal with.

Other residents were concerned about the availability of affordable housing. Several SNA members urged Goldman to offer more affordable housing than the 14.5 percent minimum mandated by the city.

The developers are currently working to secure financing for the project, Goldman later told the Gazette.

“Even in the worst part of the recession, New Boston has successfully financed every project we’ve started,” Goldman said. New Boston is responsible for the redevelopment of Lawrence Court in the Back Bay and a small project on Halifax Street.

The construction for the project should be complete by the end of 2012, the developers said, well before the demolition of the Casey Overpass is scheduled to start in the second half of 2013. The project’s location is directly across the street from the northern boundary of the Arborway Yard.

New Boston would be in charge of the 30 units of housing, while SSG would take the commercial development. SSG mostly does self-storage facilities, Fulton said.

Developers plan to split the large L-shaped parcel into two, but the development would be treated as one project. The development is expected to add 30 units of housing—mostly one- or two-bedroom condos—in six buildings, Goldman said.

SSG would be the developer, contractor and owner of the storage facility. Fulton said either Public Storage or Extra Space Storage would eventually manage the facility. SSG’s storage facilities are “class A” facilities, Fulton said—that means security cameras inside and out, and frequent monitoring by security staff on-site.

Dorothy Sullivan, the current owner of Flanagan & Seaton Motor Car Company, did not return a Gazette phone call by press time.

SNA is organizing a committee that will continue to work with the developers as the project progresses.