The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) held a public meeting on September 23 regarding the Doyle’s Cafe project at 3478-3484 Washington St. The proposal includes bringing back a new version of the historic Doyle’s Cafe, along with a 4,178 square foot grocery market and a total of 29 condominium units between three buildings, six of which will be affordable units.
There have been some changes in the proposal from the last time it was presented to the public, namely the involvement of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) in the building to be built at 69 Williams St. for the six affordable condos.
Lee Goodman of Watermark Development and architect Elaine Scales presented the proposal, along with Rebecca Mautner of the JPNDC. The proposal includes land at 3484 Washington St., which is the current Doyle’s building, along with 3474 Washington St. a two family dwelling., and 1 Gartland St.The proposal also includes 60 Williams St., which is currently the 22 car parking lot for Doyle’s, as well as 69 Williams St. where there is currently a single family home, along with the “Meehan strip,” which consists of parking for Doyle’s.
The six affordable condos at 69 Williams St. will consist of one one bedroom unit, one two bedroom unit, two three bedroom units, and two four bedroom units.
Mautner said that the affordability level is a combination of units at 80 and 100 percent Area Median Income (AMI)—three of each.
“The most significant part is getting four three and four bedroom units,” she said, which are in demand for families.
Goodman explained that the different portions of the project fall under different names. The “Anchor” portion includes the Brassica at Doyle’s restaurant, the grocery store, residential parking in a garage, as well as 16 condo units in a four story structure, four on each floor above the proposed market at 3484 Washington St. and 1 Gartland St.
At 60 Williams St., the “Bridge” portion includes covered parking for the commercial spaces, as well as seven condominium units.
At 69 Williams, the “Opportunity” portion, the six affordable condos will be located, along with both covered residential parking and surface parking for the commercial spaces.
Scales said that three bicycle racks will be added on Washington St., along with three on Gartland St.
Additionally, there will be a new traffic pattern for the Doyle’s site, where traffic would enter on Williams St. and exit on Gartland. People will “be able to loop around as you need to instead of exiting and going down through the residential neighborhood,” Scales said. Street trees will also be added in several places.
Scales explained that the structure at 60 Williams is “designed as a four story counterpart to the three family buildings that it’s in line with,” and the front porch is intended to look like the other triple deckers already on Williams St.
She then spoke about small changes to the exterior of the proposed building at 69 Williams St. She said that the first floor units will be accessible, as well as the lobby, and there will be a “ramp on the corner that’s masked with vegetation,” and cars will enter and exit in the same space. Scales said that doing this will allow for more green space along with more parking for the commercial spaces.
“We just really want this to be a much more beautiful intersection here in front of this building and gesturing towards Doyle’s and not just to be a sea of pavement much like it is today,” Scales said.
Goodman added that the team is working with the JPNDC to reconfigure the inside of the building to accommodate larger units, but the outside will remain largely as previously proposed.
He also talked about parking, saying that there are 18 parking spaces proposed behind the restaurant, with another 12 on the “Meehan strip,” totaling 30 private spaces for the restaurant and the market.
“This is so much more private parking than any restaurant in JP has,” he said.
The existing Doyle’s Cafe had a capacity of 265 people, Goodman said, but the expectation is that the new restaurant will be “about a third smaller,” though details are still being worked out.
There is also currently no official tenant for the grocery space, as Goodman said many market owners are saying the opening date for the market is too far out to make a commitment right now as there are still no permits issued for this project, but the goal is to “find a small bodega-style market,” Goodman said.
There were also some concerns from the public about maintaining the historical integrity of Doyle’s Cafe.
“We’re going to do everything we can to either save or recreate all the features…specifically the bar, the panels, the tin ceiling,” Goodman said, and “just the general feel of the barroom.”
The restaurant’s Kennedy Room will be recreated, and Goodman said that the team will “reuse any of the murals that we can to be spread throughout the space,” as well as the clocks from the original restaurant.
Some changes are in order, though, such as relocating the kitchen to make it open to patron viewing.
Goodman said that the next step for the proposal is the BPDA Board, along with the Article 85 Demolition Delay hearing that will be held this month, which will focus on the existing two family home at 3474 Washington St. Then the project will go before the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) Zoning Committee and the Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA), after which construction permits will be obtained and construction can commence. The full video and slideshow from this meeting can be viewed on the project page on the BPDA website at bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/doyle-s-cafe-restoration