Letter: Concerns remain for Allandale St. project

We appreciate the Gazette’s continuing coverage of the proposed development adjacent to Allandale Woods. (“Abundant Displeasure Voiced over New Design of 64 Allandale Project,” 4/29/16) The piece correctly reports that the developer aims to spend 20 million dollars to build 20 units. The article also states that the units would sell for $700,000 to $1 million.

That cannot be true as it would be below the cost of production. This misinformation on the part of the developer is unfortunate. The developer strongly asserted that the project that she must build 20 units to have the pricing make sense. That means she must know estimated sales prices of the units and simply chose not to divulge this fully or accurately. The developer’s attorney was quoted as saying “any house on this site would sell like hotcakes.” Yet, another of the developer’s projects, on one of the most beautiful streets in JP, 23 Eliot St. #2, has remained unsold for nearly two years. That calls into question the attorney’s assertion, the developer’s track-record, and the market- demand for townhouse-size millionaire housing in southwest Boston.

One of the projects few supporters, Michael Loconto, identified himself as a friend of the developer’s before making his statement. It’s unfortunate that others did not hold themselves to the same ethical standard. That includes Dan Janis, who was also quoted in the article. He did not disclose that he is a personal friend of the developer. The developer’s support is so manufactured that all but one of those speaking in support of the project had some personal tie to her.

The purported eco-friendliness of the project has been a main selling point (as people may have seen from the subsequent barrage of push-polling, sponsored Facebook ads, and the like). The developer’s attorney conceded that building green was a preference, not a necessity or hardship. Eco-friendly building is a good thing but there are reasons to question the developer’s approach.

For instance, fortified construction is likely unnecessary given the sheltered hillside location far from the shoreline.  Nothing should stop a developer from building to whatever green standards they choose. Yet, any sensible person must question how a purportedly green project could build in a manner that puts land at risk that the City considers the most ecologically significant in Boston. Furthermore, how could an eco-friendly project undermine the City Climate Action Plan, which states “states that the City mandate is to “protect and expand green spaces and the urban forest in all neighborhoods.”

The developer would do well to heed the recommendations of Boston Parks and Recreation Department, the Sierra Club, the editorial page of the Gazette, and the voices of many neighborhood groups.  All call for a less dense project that better protects and enhances the woods. Let us hope that the City continues the work of three mayoral administrations to grow the woods by ensuring that adjacent developers act to enhance it.  More info can be found at allandalewoods.org.

Marc Lavine

Hyde Park resident

Friends of Allandale Woods



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *