Major housing, stores coming to T parcel

January 4, 2013
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FOREST HILLS—Developer Urbanica is planning to build 120 new units of housing on “Parcel U” across the street from Forest Hills Station starting in 2014.

Urbanica’s bid for the parcel was selected by the MBTA, spokesperson Joe Pesaturo told the Gazette, and Urbanica is expected to agree to the T’s terms by today.

Vacant “Parcel U,” encompassing about 2.8 acres, is one of a handful of parcels that the T has been trying to sell, with limited success, since 2007. It is bounded by Hyde Park Avenue on the east and Ukraine Way on the north. It extends just south of Walk Hill Street.

Of the planned 120 housing units, 64 are planned for sale, eight of which would be affordably-priced. Fifty-six units would be rentals, 23 of which would be affordable. Urbanica is also planning 10,000 square feet of commercial space and up to 130 parking spaces, Urbanica President Kamran Zahedi told the Gazette. Construction is planned to begin in the spring of 2014.

The Forest Hills Planning Initiative (FHII) Use and Design Guidelines, completed in 2008, state that the parcel should include a mixed-use project of housing, including affordable units, and retail or commercial space. It should also house locally-supportive businesses such as hardware stores, bookstores or dry cleaners.

The guidelines also state that 4,000 square feet should be set aside for community use, such as a day care facility. They further ask for 150 housing units, half of which should be affordable; 130 residential parking spaces; and for 30,000 square feet, or 24 percent of the parcel’s area, to be left as open space.

Urbanica has until today to accept the terms and complete the $1.05 million sale. After the sale is final, Urbanica would have 18 months to secure zoning and building permits from the city.

Two different MBTA lots, located on Washington Street south of Ukraine Way and subject to the same FHII guidelines, were sold in 2009 and are being developed under the name Arboretum Place.