Urbanica hosts Parcel U meetings

FOREST HILLS—Developer Urbanica presented a draft plan for 121 new housing units on “Parcel U” last week as part of a host of community meetings.

Urbanica plans to create 56 rental units and 65 condo units on the former MBTA parcel, bounded by Hyde Park Avenue on the east and Ukraine Way on the north and extending just south of Walk Hill Street. Urbanica bought the property for $1.05 million a year ago.

Construction is planned to take place in three stages, Urbanica presenters said at a Jan. 23 meeting. Phases A and B will each create 28 rental units in a four-story building, while Phase C will create a larger, 65-unit condo building with some retail space on the corner of Ukraine and Hyde Park Avenue.

Attendees at that meeting had some questions about logistics and parking, but were supportive of the project.

Phase A is planned to start construction in spring 2015. Phase B could start anytime between then and spring 2016, depending on how the financing lines up, an Urbanica team member said at the meeting. Phase C, a five-story building, is expected to start construction spring 2017.

Just over 25 percent of the units, or 31 in total, would be affordable, the developers said at the meeting. A market-rate two-bedroom unit is projected to rent in the range of $2,000 and sell in the projected range of $500,000.

The developers are mindful of the heights of the proposed new buildings, bringing up the fact most other residences on Hyde Park Avenue are three-story single- or multiple-family homes. Because of the geographical slope, however, those three-story buildings’ roofs actually are about the height of a four- to five-story building, the development team said.

The Forest Hills Improvement Initiative guidelines, a Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) plan completed with community input in 2008, ask that plans for that parcel should create 150 housing units, half of which should be affordable.

The developers made the point that in order to accommodate more units, they would need to build bigger buildings. They are trying to keep to the existing scale, they said.

Phases A and B are planned to create 56 parking spaces, or one space per unit, behind the apartment buildings. Phase C is planned for 42 spaces for a 65 percent ratio in an underground garage.

Each phase is expected to take about 14 to 16 months to construct.

This spate of ongoing meetings is intended to inform the developers as they design the project. They have not yet filed with the City’s Redevelopment Authority (BRA), but a community meeting will be required once they do.

One more community information session is scheduled for Feb. 5 at the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s Zoning Committee meeting at the Farnsworth House at 90 South St.

Correction: Due to a reporter error, the purchase price for a 2-bedroom unit was incorrect. The above article shows the correct price.

An early draft concept of the proposed rental buildings on Parcel U, on Hyde Park Avenue looking north. (Courtesy Illustration)

An early draft concept of the proposed rental buildings on Parcel U, on Hyde Park Avenue looking north. (Courtesy Illustration)

1 comment for “Urbanica hosts Parcel U meetings

  1. Othemts
    February 3, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Sounds like a great plan. I’m glad that there is finally some initiative to infill the empty lots that were cleared for the I-95/Southwest Expressway project.

    One way to make the housing more affordable would be to remove some or all of offstreet parking. Building parking (especially underground garages) adds a ton to the cost that is passed on in housing costs. Having so much parking will also encourage car use which will add to traffic congestion around Forest Hills.

    I’d also like to see the SW Corridor Bike Path extended alongside Hyde Park Av at least as far as the Tollgate Cemetery. Set these new houses back from the street just a little further and there would be space for the bike path shaded by the already existing linden trees.

    I hope that plans for commercial/residential development of the parcels replacing the MBTA parking lot and Fitzgerald parking lot come to fruition soon. Then Forest Hills will begin to be reshaped as a transit-oriented urban village where people live, work, shop, and dine rather than the defacto park & ride for suburban motorists that it is now.

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