Affordable apartments, food co-op approved on Bowdoin Street

Bowdoin Street proposed building

Architect's rendering.

The Board of Appeals today approved a plan to turn two vacant lots on Bowdoin Street across from Olney Street into a building with 41 affordable apartments and a 6,000-square-foot customer- and worker-owned grocery store.

Apartments in the new building, proposed by VietAID, would be aimed at people making no more than 60% of the area median income - with 11 of the units reserved for people or families making up to 30% of the area median income.

Among the supporters of the proposal was the Dorchester Food Co-op, a group of about 700 Dorchester resident that is in negotiations with VietAID.

The building would have 46 parking spaces and a 3,500-square-foot plaza along Bowdoin Street.

Both lots have been vacant for decades. One is currently owned by the city, the other by the Dorchester Economic Development Corp.

Mayor Walsh and city councilors Frank Baker, Michelle Wu, Michael Flaherty, Andrea Campbell and Ayanna Pressley supported the proposal, as did Dorchester Bay. The BPDA board had previously approved the proposal.

One neighbor opposed the proposal, citing traffic and parking concerns.

191-195 Bowdoin St. small-project review application (10.2M PDF).




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...sounds like a great project. Looks like a bucket of farts. #crapitechture

(but seriously, this sounds like a great project. Some good folks involved in it - I just wish the BSA or somebody would hold a student competition or something to see who can come up with some decent architecture that doesn't look like the same boxes that keep getting pooted out.)


As someone attending architecture, I know a lot about student architecture.

It usually looks like it was designed by someone without experience. Because, you know, it was.

Also, only a cursory understanding of costs, compared to people who have, you know, experience..

hate that argument

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What seems to be there currently are some trees and some sort of temporary park-like thing:,-71.0687313,3a,75y,88.71h,83.48t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sQHTO9nfCpClZ7-RL0oHqwQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

which seems maintained and not all that bad. Unless I got the wrong address.

Provided a vacant lot is not ending up a combination junk lot/shooting gallery/trick-turning pad, I find them to be more enjoyable than most of the new buildings going in around town. Especially when those "new" buildings are about ten years into their life span and they're falling apart. Anything without maintenance is an eyesore in a community, but at least a vacant lot is readily cleaned up and adapted into something - as opposed to run-down or cheaply-made buildings that then become much more of a cost and hassle to deal with.

So, no, quite frequently what is delivered on a proposal is not always better than what is currently there (although the proposals are almost always fantasy-land renderings of happy people holding hands and sauntering through the steel and glass boxes).

But in this case, the project sounds really good and I trust the folks involved to add something to the community that will be a plus....I just wish it didn't look like this current rendering. (Maybe if I just whine enough someone will come up with a better design....)

Yeah, but it's too expensive

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Yeah, but it's too expensive to build things that big with architectural character. This isn't being built in Wellesley or Dover.

One neighbor opposed the

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One neighbor opposed the proposal, citing traffic and parking concerns.

There's always one. In life, and online.


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Yes! More parking for residents so we don't have to park on the street!

You know ...

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If you don't like parking on the street you can pay for parking or get a place with a driveway.

This is called "trade offs" or "choices" in selecting where you live.

In Boston media, the term

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In Boston media, the term "affordable" usually refers to the Chapter 40B definition of the word, not the Merriam Webster definition.


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A second development that's not a 'luxury condo' building! Is this some kinda new thing or something?