BRA approves first parking-free condo project

Lovejoy Wharf

Associated Press reports on a 15-story, 175-unit project at Lovejoy Wharf, to replace the building where they used to hang that giant Celtics banner, as part of the same complex as the building now being converted into the Converse world headquarters. Developers cite the proximity to North Station as a reason for lopping off parking.

Developer's presentation (20M PDF).

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    Comments

    Good Golly!

    Why would you need cars when the developer has removed the Charlestown Bridge!?!

    This project is great, across from a T Station, near parking if you really need it, near all that the North End Theme Park has to offer, and across the street from a potential elementary school.

    Please do not shed any tears for the old building which was there. It was built as a warehouse with tight, tight, column spacing, that is why it wasn't redeveloped over the past two real estate cycles and with the exception of dead storage or paintball, has sat empty for years. Apartments would have worked in the old building only if we were all R2-D2 height and width.

    Also, if the water is as ever as high as it is in the picture, on a nice day, run to EMS, you are going to need a canoe, not just for fun, but urban transportation.

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    Awesome!

    This will (hopefully) bring in people who will use other forms of transportation than the car, and will make it feel more like a neighborhood than just another apartment block. This is an incredibly promising location with a great view and superb access to great communities.

    Now if they could just make it affordable for people like myself who WORK in this neighborhood...maybe too much to ask.

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    Remember the same guys have

    Remember the same guys have declared the Shreve Crump & Low Building not significant enough to preserve in favor of another generic office tower. Of course that proposal is by their good buddy Ronald Druker which has been claiming it would be too costly to save the facade of the SCL building. Meanwhile down the street some dirt poor Chinese community developers have managed to save multiple historic facades building the new Hong Lok House.

    Boston's history is for sale or destruction as long as you have the right friends.

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    If consumers refused to pay

    If consumers refused to pay luxury prices for appearances worthy of a cheap "Made in China" sticker things would change. As long as developers can sell cheap as luxury they will. With the massive demand for housing a limited supply building built don't count on anything changing soon.

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    There are some people who

    There are some people who refuse to live in a 'used' aka previously occupied condo or apartment. I think it's CRAZY, but this is what I've been told by friends in the building industry and one who is a real estate agent. It's fine if it's an old building as long as the particular unit they want has just been gutted and remodeled. I personally don't know anyone who is of this mindset... including myself, but apparently there are plenty of people with money who are out there buying condos.

    By all means

    Lets force demands on the architect and builder that are totally subjective, and may seriously impact the structural design and constructability of the building, just because some narrow-minded vocal minority decides that the proposed building "isn't pretty enough".

    Talk about unnecessary government intervention into private sector decisions.

    No way

    would I buy property in Boston that did not come with parking. You just limited yourself to a very few potential buyers when you try to resell. And you can thank the BRA for dumping a bunch of cars into the neighboring streets.

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    So you wouldn't buy a condo

    So you wouldn't buy a condo in the North End, South End, Back Bay, or Beacon Hill because it would be a bad investment? Seems like a strange thing to say seeing as the vast majority of those condos a) don't have parking, and b) are among the most expensive in the entire country.

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    Seriously?

    You do realize that you can walk one block and get all over the world from this place.

    Then again, I have a feeling that you don't even use public transportation, and don't know what is in this area for that matter, either.

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    They'll still have cars

    It's naive to think that if there's no parking, they won't have cars.

    Primarily wealthy people will be living in these units...Wealthy people don't need cars, they want cars and they get what they want. They'll pay the monthly fees to park at North Station or other local lots, and have their car regardless if the building has parking or not. It's the working stiff, that drives in for business or an event at the Garden, that gets screwed by having to overpay for the under supply of parking.

    Yes, I know, they can take the train in. They don't have to pay to park downtown. But not everyone has access to rapid transit that stops running at 1AM.

    If the building had parking, the units would be assessed significantly higher, say $50,000 per unit. Not having parking is costing the City significant tax revenue, for parking spaces of cars that probably only leave the building on weekends.

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    Doesn't matter whether they own cars or not

    The decision to own a car should be left to the individual and not forced on them through heavy-handed government regulation.

    That also means not forcing anyone to pay for parking that they may or may not choose to use.

    There's plenty of market parking available in the area, and those who want it can purchase it. Just like with any other commodity.

    Your insistence on forcing the rest of us to subsidize parking is deadly to the city, as the 20th century witnessed.

    Furthermore, your prototypical "working stiff" is the one riding the train or bus, and forcing more parking lots on the city just makes their life worse, makes public transit worse, makes congestion worse, and cuts opportunity overall. All to subsidize the car ownership of people who already have more than enough money to pay for it themselves.

    Enough already! If you want to live in a place where free or cheap parking is a guaranteed right, then go do it somewhere in the expansive exurbs. Subsidized parking is not an policy that makes any sense in the city, neither for geometry reasons, nor equity reasons.

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    I like! Very nice, how much?

    Looks like the usual $2500+/sqft trust fund baby incubator. But who knows, maybe one day we'll get a mayor who has the balls to clean up parts of dot and roxbury along T lines so middle-class families are able to buy a 3 bedroom condo for $300K and not have to choose between buying far away and dealing with a two hour commute into the city or the risk of getting robbed and/or murdered on a daily basis if they choose to live in the city and not deal with an uber-long commute.

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    Please Explain

    For the sake of being a devil's advocate, I ask:
    1. Families use a lot more city services than singles - why should the city be recruiting them by subsidizing real estate?
    2. Where, exactly, are people being robbed and/or murdered daily?

    and, of course, 3. why can't people move into $300K condos now? They do exist if they are willing to actually look at the actual crime rates rather than reject large areas of the city based on assumptions such that you make (surprised Eeka and Molly haven't set you straight about family life in Roxbury ...)

    Half mile to Shawmut Station: http://www.trulia.com/property/3130429112-559-Adams-St-2-Boston-MA-02122...

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    Where do people get robbed?

    I think you just answered your own question - right on that beautiful half-mile walk from Adams Village to Shawmut station, plenty of people got parted with their belongings at gunpoint in that area. True, you can get something semi-decent in areas like that, where your walk home from the T takes you through some rather shady parts where you're running an elevated risk of some thug sticking a gun in you face and taking your wallet, but $300K wouldn't go far at all in safer areas like Lower Mills, Savin Hill or Fort Hill. You might get a small renovated two bedroom if you're lucky, or an old three bedroom in really bad shape. Also, how exactly is the city going to subsidize anyone if parts of it are made safer and more tax-paying homeowners move into what used to be predominantly section 8 housing? Wouldn't that be better than paying to patch up all the gangsta shootout morons? The cost of fixing one up, assuming the shooter had semi-decent aim, would probably be enough to send 10 or 15 kids to Umass Boston for 4 years.

    I question if they'll be able

    I question if they'll be able to market these luxury condo's without parking. The building next door has similar luxury (i.e. > $500k+) condo's and it's garage is overflowing. Seems to me people who buy luxury condo's are not likely to be your hipster bicycle, subway or bus rider.

    Proximity to North Station only gets you home at midnight at the latest via the T and Commuter Rail. What if you work just outside the city or in a place without nearby T service ? What if you are occasionally caring for an older relative in the 'burbs ? Sometimes a car is just plain needed.

    And frankly it's easier to park in the BackBay than the North Station area right now.

    Say even 10% of the residents have an occasional guest like a girlfriend, a boyfriend, mom/dad - where do they park ?

    This is not about being green or nearby public transit - it's about developer greed.

    The developer clearly did this to save $8 million in development costs. And by converting to condo's (instead of rentals) once all the units are sold, the developer is COMPLETELY out of the picture and the neighborhood and buyers are left holding a rotten bag of - no parking available.

    I'm sorry but really - a 300+ person corporate headquarters for Converse, 175 luxury condo's, a restaurant, a recording studio, etc. and ZERO parking spots ? Anyone else think that is insane ? A small garage, a (large) controlled temporary parking area and turn around area, bike racks and ZipCar parking would have made at least some sense.

    Just the taxi's and confused visitors etc. turning around is going to totally congest the area.

    I have an idea

    I question if they'll be able to market these luxury condo's without parking.

    Why don't you pony up the hundreds of millions of dollars to build something, and then you get to do the research and decide how much parking your target market desires? Put your money on the line, not somebody else's.

    Or, could it be that you are just some random schmuck who wants to force other people to subsidize your parking costs, but you don't actually have anything positive to contribute to the city?

    I work in the building industry

    and have worked on "luxury" housing projects in dense, transit-orientated neighborhoods in Boston and other cities. Providing parking is extremely expensive and the spaces don't sell. One project I worked on locally they only sold 25% of the spaces by the time the building was completely full (and at 0.5 spaces per unit), so they'll try to lease out spaces to local business, and the condo association absorbs the rest for "visitor parking" which rarely, if ever, gets used. People who live in these buildings typically take taxis everywhere... and increasingly bikes (at least when the weather is nice). If they do have a car, it doesn't get used unless they're heading to their vacation home somewhere. People who live in these places work in the city. if they work out in the suburbs somewhere they can afford a nice house out in the suburbs.

    anyway - parking is a loss-leader, and if developers can get around not providing it, they'd be happy. However, as someone who lives in the city, I think the trade off should be that at least some of the money that would go to parking should be put back into other forms of transit.

    Developers to put $ into transit?

    I like that idea since they are adding burden to the transit system and profiting from its proximity without being asked to contribute to it. The City of Cambridge uses zoning to shift more transportation to the Red Line from road traffic, yet still gets its full amount of Chapter 90 money from the state. Some of their Chapter 90 money instead ought to go to the MBTA.

    Owners and the developers who come in with the expansion of the Green Line ought to also fund part of the $1.5B project that they profit from via increased property values. Some people complain about parking being a give away, yet don't do the same when it comes to much more substantial public transit give away.