By Lauren Bennett/Staff Report
A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit against the Zoning Board of Appeal decision to approve the proposed affordable housing project at 3368 Washington St., which has been widely supported by the Jamaica Plain community since it was first announced.
The project, which will be developed by Pine Street Inn and The Community Builders, will have 202 units of affordable housing, 140 of which will be supportive housing units for formerly homeless individuals—the largest development of this type in the city.
As previously reported by the Gazette, Monty Gold, the landlord of the building at 3377 Washington St. where Turtle Swamp Brewery is located, had brought a lawsuit against the ZBA approval, saying that the project was too big and would create issues with parking in the area. His building is located across the street from the proposed development.
Many residents and neighbors spoke out in favor of the project, saying that more affordable housing is needed as soon as possible in the neighborhood. Many also opposed the lawsuit, saying that a delay in the project’s ability to move forward is a detriment. A petition was also started by City Life/Vida Urbana, encouraging Gold to drop the lawsuit.
Pine Street Inn and The Community Builders issued the following statement on May 10:
The Community Builders (TCB), a leading nonprofit developer of mixed-income housing, and Pine Street Inn (PSI), New England’s largest homeless services agency, have an agreement in place with an abutting commercial property owner concerning the Pine Street-owned property at 3368 Washington Street in Jamaica Plain. The abutter had brought a lawsuit challenging the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals’ (ZBA) unanimous approval of the zoning variance for the project.
This step forward is especially critical at this time, given that the building will provide much-needed 202 affordable rental apartment homes, including 62 income-restricted for families and 140 units of permanent housing for vulnerable men and women moving out of homelessness. The property will be managed by TCB with services provided by Pine Street.
We pursued resolution of this situation, and it went into mediation which led to an agreement on several issues. We will now move ahead with the project, with an anticipated timeline of closing and beginning construction in summer 2021.
While we do expect that costs on the project will be somewhat higher, due to increases in materials costs during the passage of time, we are pleased to now move on to the final phase of bidding.
The settlement does not change the building we will build or impact the priorities or the programs that the community supported. This is a big win for the larger community, and we greatly appreciate their outpouring of support.
The new building will replace the existing PSI warehouse/office building and create 202 income-restricted apartment homes, 140 of which will have support services for men and women moving out of homelessness. The design, by Boston-based RODE Architects, includes an estimated 18,000 square feet of office space on the ground floor, along with community space and amenities for residents.