Car lot project revived after 2-year delay

May 10, 2013
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STONYBROOK—Two years after it was first proposed, a stalled mixed-use development on Washington Street has been revived with only minor changes, following the discovery of hazardous chemicals on the site in 2011.

The project proposed for the former Flanagan & Seaton Motor Car Company location at 3521-3529 Washington St. calls for a four-story self-storage facility, a two-story retail building fronting Washington Street and multifamily housing fronting Burnett Street.

The development team is composed of New Boston Ventures and SSG Development.

According to the state Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the parcel’s soil and groundwater has been contaminated with 15 chemical solvents that the developers say date from the first half of the last century. The current owners had no idea of the problem, the development team said at an April 30 Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) meeting.

“This is an extremely serious environmental problem,” development team member David Goldman said at the meeting, noting that the developers expect to be fully capable of cleaning up the site during its development and that there is no danger to the public.

A Gazette phone call to the site’s current owner, Dorothea Sullivan, was not returned.

The contamination and costs and procedures associated with the cleanup were the cause of the two-year delay. The original sale agreement lapsed and the owners tried to find new buyers, to no avail, the development team stated.

The developers would be in charge of at least part of the cleanup, but it is unclear how far that responsibility would be shared with the owners. MassDEP has not yet released a cleanup plan, according to the developers.

Current plans for housing on the site would create a 36-unit building and two three-unit homes, with 15 percent of those units being affordably-priced.

“Affordable housing is something we’re very committed to. It’s part of our company,” Goldman said.

Of the 42 units, about 50 to 60 percent are expected to be two-bedroom units. Three- and one-bedrooms would make up 20 to 25 percent each, the development team said.

The development team has been consulting with the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association for its input. They are discussing the size of the project’s commercial parking lot, which currently has 70 spaces.

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