Real Estate Today: The state of S. Huntington projects

March 28, 2014
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S. Huntington Avenue has become a focal point of development in Jamaica Plain with two large construction projects in the works and the ongoing sale of the mammoth former Goddard House building.

The two construction projects are the 195-unit “The Serenity” building at 105a S. Huntington Ave. and the 196-unit “Olmsted Place” building at 161 S. Huntington Ave.

Olmsted Place

“Olmsted Place,” which is being developed by Boston Residential Group (BRG), is already under construction. Spokesperson Janey Bishoff said prep work at the site began in January followed by construction started in February.

“No news at this point,” Bishoff responded when the Gazette asked if any problems had been encountered so far in the construction.

The Gazette visited the site March 24 to find the historic building, the former residence of the Home for Little Wanderers, gutted and partially demolished. The demolition crew was hosing the building with water to keep dust down as an excavator knocked down walls.

The destruction of the historic building drew community opposition when the project was first announced, as well as its density and price of the apartments.

The project was delayed for a year because of a lawsuit launched by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC), which argued it is a municipal body crucial to the zoning process. Both the City and a judge said it is not true. The JPNC voted to approve a settlement deal last year that increased the number of affordable housing units.

The Serenity

The project at 105a S. Huntington Ave. appears set to begin construction this summer, according to the developer.

“The Longwood Group, LLC, developer of Serenity, at 105a S. Huntington Ave., is engaged with its architect in schematic design of the new building, with plans to begin construction late this coming summer,” said Anthony Nader Jr., vice president of the Longwood Group, through spokesperson Tom Palmer.

The 195 rental units in the multi-building development will 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.

Goddard House

On the market for about a year, the former Goddard House property continues looking for a buyer.

“Goddard House remains on the market and we continue to look for an appropriate buyer,” said Diana Pisciotta, spokesperson for the Goddard House.

The Goddard House, which is located at 201 S. Huntington Ave., was a nursing home that controversially ceased operations on Sept. 8, 2012. The enormous brick building was constructed in 1927 and housed about 100 seniors.

The property was put on the market last spring through a private-bidding process.

The former Home for Little Wanderers building undergoing demolition to make room for “Olmsted Place.” (Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley)

The former Home for Little Wanderers building undergoing demolition to make room for “Olmsted Place.” (Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley)