Real Estate Today: Height vs. affordability trade-off at 3200 Washington

The developers of 3200 Washington St. said at an Impact Advisory Group (IAG) group this week that sacrificing the building’s height would also cause a drop in affordably priced units.

During an IAG meeting on March 23 at the District E-13 Police Station, a member of the development team said that maintaining a height of “six stories plus a mezzanine”—the same height as seven stories, but structurally different on the inside of the building—is the determining factor in offering as many as 22 percent of the proposed units at affordable prices.

IAG members had asked about lowering the building’s height by nixing the mezzanine. Once the developers explained the dilemma, community members stated that maintaining the affordable-unit count was preferable.

The all-rental housing project has no specific rent rates determined yet. The affordable units would vary in pricing from 30 percent to 100 percent of area median income, developers say.

The mezzanine level, the highest in the proposed building, has also been set back at least 10 feet from the street, creating the illusion of a shorter building from street level.

Community IAG members suggested that the developers include infrastructure for trash separated not just into recyclables and non-recyclables, but also into recycles, organics and others. The developers enthusiastically said they would look into it.

The developers also stated at that meeting that each of the units would have bicycle storage inside the building.

The project would also create leased parking on top of residential parking, but it is not yet known exactly how many of each would be created. The developers agreed to keep leased spots separate from deeded spots.

It is also not known how much a leased spot would cost.

Most of the community IAG members had questions about traffic impacts resulting from other projects on Washington Street, including The Commons at Forest Hills, 3521-3529 Washington St. and the Casey Arborway project.

Developers said they have included data from all those projects in their traffic study. That study found that the main impact of the project at 3200 Washington St. would be an additional 20 to 30 cars per hour during peak morning and evening rush hours.

A community meeting is scheduled for April 1. The comment period on the project is open until April 15. Comments can be sent to [email protected]

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