The pending approval of 76 residential units for a new development at the old Economy Plumbing site on Washington Street between Montebello and Iffley streets sets a series of bad precedents for development of the entire JP Washington Street corridor.
The proposed 3200 Washington St. project overwhelms the surrounding community in both size and density. On only three-quarters of an acre, the developers propose two seven-story buildings and one townhouse in contrast to the abutting community of two-, three- and four-story buildings.
This project has had limited community input. Community feedback has been through neighborhood group meetings. I and many of my neighbors are not part of neighborhood group. Only two public meetings led by the BRA were held, and much of these meetings were taken up by developer’s presentations. Whether intentional or not, not enough time was allotted by the BRA for community input.
Although marketed as a boost to Eqleston Square, this project will hasten gentrification and add to current skyrocketing rental costs. The developers have been unable (or unwilling) to tell the community how much the market-rate rentals will be. It is hard enough to find a two-bedroom apartment for $1,500 a month. These new units will probably be double that, if not higher. People who can afford these rents are not current Eqleston Square residents. Little is being done to protect its longtime residents and businesses from rising rents.
3200 Washington St. has 76 units, but allows for only 35 parking spaces. Assuming most residents will have at least one car, will they park in a neighborhood with an existing parking problem?
For the scale of this project, not enough affordable units are being offered.
Finally, where is the City’s master plan for the now hot JP Washington corridor? Without a plan, residential developments dwarfing the existing community infrastructure will become commonplace and we will all be wondering, “How did that happen?”