Neighbors propose McBride St. project changes

October 7, 2011
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STONYBROOK—Neighbors to a proposed mixed-used development at Washington and McBride streets have created a counter-offer design that shows changes the neighbors would like to see integrated into the project.

The changes would reduce parking and replace a commercial building with a mixed-use building.

“We at the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association have a pretty big interest in what Washington Street is going to look like in the future,” said Carl Lowenberg, a Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) co-chair. “We’re not saying ‘no way’ to any element…We’re trying to work with [the design team].”

A small team of developers—New Boston Ventures and SSG Development—is planning to develop retail space, a self-storage facility and condos on the space currently occupied by the Flanagan & Seaton Motor Car Company at 3529 Washington St.

A plan filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) in August for the 3.39-acre site includes a two-story retail building and a four-story storage facility, along with a surface parking lot with approximately 74 spaces and 42 housing units.

“It’s a big investment, and I think it’ll be a big improvement for that neighborhood,” said Harry Collings, part of the development team.

The neighbors’ suggested plan would reduce parking for the proposed storage facility and commercial building by about a third, to just under 50 spaces.

The revised plan would also enlarge the commercial building that faces Washington Street and make it mixed-use, adding housing to the upper floors.

The developers’ proposed building would be for commercial use only, and it would share frontage on Washington Street with a corner of the parking lot.

“We don’t really want to see any more parking along Washington Street,” Lowenberg said. “We’d like to see the retail more oriented toward the street and the neighbors.”

To counterbalance the increased number of housing units along Washington Street, the neighbors also suggest shrinking the apartment building proposed along Burnett Street.

“We think [the developers] are considering these ideas,” Lowenberg said.

When asked about which changes the developers were willing to consider, Collings said, “I can’t say that right now. We need some more dialogue with [the SNA].”

“We hope to be able to make some accommodations,” Collings said. “We’re encouraged because the tone is very good. People would like to see the project move forward.”

A meeting between the developers and the SNA to discuss the neighbors’ suggestions was scheduled for Oct. 6, after the Gazette’s deadline.

Construction is projected to start in the first quarter of 2012 and to take about a year to complete.

The public meeting for the project has not yet been scheduled. Public comments can be sent to john.fitzgerald.bra@cityofboston.gov.

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