The state of S. Huntington development

December 20, 2013
By

S. HUTINGTON—S. Huntington Ave. is about to experience a lot of simultaneous construction now that projects at 105A and 161 have been approved by the City and resolved neighborhood conflicts.

The luxury apartments and retail project at 105A S. Huntington Ave., named “The Serenity,” was approved by the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals earlier this month, clearing the way for construction to start on the 130-foot-tall building.

Construction is expected to begin in late spring or early summer 2014 and to complete in early fall of 2015, spokesperson Tom Palmer told the Gazette. As for a community contact person, Palmer said he’s “sure thre will be someone attached on call, that goes without saying.”

The project is currently finalizing design and getting financing, Palmer added.

The Serenity is being developed by Anthony Nader. The 195 luxury rental units in the multi-building development would include townhouses and apartment buildings of one-, two- and three-bedroom units targeted at graduate students and families. The project would also include 26 affordable units, 1,600 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 176 parking spaces in an underground garage.

Olmsted Place

Construction on “Olmsted Place,” the luxury apartment project at 161 S. Huntington Ave., is slated to begin “early next year,” spokesperson Janey Bishoff told the Gazette last week.

Construction on Olmsted Place was delayed for a year, due to a lawsuit filed by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council. The suit was settled earlier this month.

According to former JPNC chair Ben Day, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, of those 37 units, five will be rented at reduced rates to lesees who make 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), a range of up to $56,650 for a family of four. Rent for a three-bedroom apartment for such a family would be $1,317.

Thirty-two of the units will rented at reduced rates to lesees with 70 to 90 percent AMI income, and one unit will be rented at 100 percent AMI income rate.

“We’re still talking about a pretty high income bracket. When we looked at the latest census data for JP, folks with incomes at 100 percent of AMI were just not those who needed the most help, or who were spending huge chunks of their income on housing costs,” Day told the Gazette.

Market-rate monthly rents were originally estimated to be in the range of $1,900 to $4,000. Exact rent amounts for the affordable units depend on the size of the unit, the size of the family moving in and their AMI income level. Those rents are available on the City’s Redevelopment Authority (BRA) website at bit.ly/BRAaffordablerents.

The settlement also added more larger, family-sized units to the affordable roster and created a pedestrian walkway between S. Huntington Avenue and the Jamaicaway, on the other side of the property.

“I think it could really transform that part of the neighborhood by connecting it with the Emerald Necklace, though, and hopefully will encourage other developers along South Huntington to do the same,” Day said.

Olmsted Place is being developed by Boston Residential Group (BRG). It will create 196 units consisting of studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom units in a four- to five-story building on the former site of the Home for Little Wanderers. The plans were controversial even before the lawsuit. They involve knocking down a historic building and building dense, market-rate apartments with such high-end amenities as concierge service and a fitness center.

The JPNC’s lawsuit to block it was controversial as well. The council had never before sued anyone. And the suit was based on an apparently unprecedented claim that the JPNC is a municipal body crucial to the zoning process—which both the City and a judge said is not true. The JPNC voted to approve the settlement deal on Oct. 29, as the Gazette previously reported.

The current building at 161 S. Huntington Ave., the former Home for Little Wanderers building. (Gazette Photo by Rebeca Oliveira)

The current building at 161 S. Huntington Ave., the former Home for Little Wanderers building. (Gazette Photo by Rebeca Oliveira)

The latest rendering of “The Serenity,” expected to be completed by 2015. (Illustration Courtesy Prellwitz Chilinski Associates)

The latest rendering of “The Serenity,” expected to be completed by 2015. (Illustration Courtesy Prellwitz Chilinski Associates)