Car lot project gets major revisions

STONYBROOK—Three years after it was first proposed, a stalled mixed-use development on Washington Street has been revived with major 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. is now planned to include a four- to five-story multi-use building with a much larger footprint than before at the corner of Washington and McBride streets. The ground floor is planned to have 27,000 square feet of retail space and the upper floors will hold up to 92 residential units.

The change from a two-story commercial-only building was in response to frequent neighborhood requests to “activate” the streetscape, developer Harry Collins told the Gazette. He added that the development team is working with the community on determining the size and mix of the new residential units.

“We’re talking about a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, and focusing on larger, family-sized units,” he said.

Collins presented the changes to a meeting of the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) last month.

The plan includes green space connecting New Washington and McBride streets. It would be made from a small swath of MBTA-owned greenspace between the property and the train tracks running behind it.

The revised plans did not include that greenspace, but it will be put back in following SNA complaints, Collins told the Gazette.

“They’ve asked us to put the connection through, so we’re going to do that,” he said.

Surface parking has also been reduced from 73 to 50 spaces.

The location of the greenway connector and housing units along Burnett Street has been altered due to the contamination found on the site in 2011, Collins said.

The original plan called 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 when the sale and redevelopment was first proposed, Collins said.

Collins said the project’s construction schedule is wholly dependent on the cleanup process, over which they have little control. He did say the developers plan to start as soon as they get state clearance, hopefully by August or September. In the meantime, they will continue to consult with the community to finesse the plans, he said.

The contamination and costs and procedures associated with the cleanup were the cause of a two-year delay. The original sale agreement lapsed and the owners tried to find new buyers, to no avail, the development team previously stated. The development team are still working with the current owners around the “very significant” cost of cleanup.

Illustrations of the new design concept for the 3521-3529 Washington St. redevelopment. (Courtesy Image)

Illustrations of the new design concept for the 3521-3529 Washington St. redevelopment. (Courtesy Image)

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