161 S. Huntington vote slated

October 12, 2012
By

S. HUNTINGTON— The controversial luxury apartment project proposed for 161 S. Huntington Ave. will be heard and voted on by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) board at its Thurs., Oct. 18 meeting, according to BRA Director Peter Meade. It has a high likelihood of being approved, as BRA staff only submit projects to the board when they consider the plans ready for approval.

No changes to the proposed building have been made since it was last presented to the community. Most of the work the BRA has done on the project has been over its “financial feasibility,” BRA spokesperson Melina Schuler said.

“It’s important for us to review that and confirm that the project has the monetary backing to take it to completion,” she said.

“This development will bring much needed rental housing, including 30 units of affordable housing, far in excess of the requirement, to Jamaica Plain and Boston; will add new property tax revenue to the City; and will beautify and transform S. Huntington Avenue,” developer spokesperson Janey Bishoff told the Gazette.

No official meeting is scheduled prior to the BRA vote. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council is holding a community meeting about the project on Mon., Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hennigan School, 200 Heath St.

The project was originally scheduled for a vote at last month’s BRA board meeting before being taken off the agenda three days before the meeting amid community opposition.

The developer, Boston Residential Group, plans to create 196 units consisting of studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom units in a four- to five-story building on the current site of the Home for Little Wanderers.

Many Jamaica Plain residents have raised concerns over rental prices—expected to range from $1,900 to $4,000—the small size of the proposed units; its “ugly” facade; the number of units; expected low percentage of affordable units; the proposed removal of 53 mature trees; and failure to restore or adapt a historic 1914 building.

The plans were submitted in March and have already undergone one round of alterations, following strong community opposition.

The BRA meeting is open to the public and will take place in City Hall at 5:30 p.m.

This article was edited to add comments from the developer spokesperson.

Best of JP 2014