Developer proposes 27-unit apartment building near a Fairmount Line stop in Dorchester

185 Geneva architectural rendering

Architect's rendering.

Developer Hiep Chu of Dorchester has filed plans with the BPDA for a five-story, $8.9-million apartment building at 185-191 Geneva, within eyesight of the Four Corners/Geneva stop on the Fairmount Line.

His proposed Bedrock Geneva building would include four affordable units and a total of eight parking spaces. Of the units, nine would be studios, twelve would have one bedroom, five would have two bedrooms and one would have three bedrooms.

The proposed development will remove a simple one-family house and replace it with a thoughtfully designed, attractive new building with enclosed parking spaces, first floor lobby, large community room, and residential units.

185-191 Geneva Ave. small-project review application (6.7M PDF).

Side view:

Side view of 185-191 Geneva

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Comments

The correct house is a bit further down the street

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191 Geneva (the project refers to 185-191 Geneva) is the single-family beige house with reddish-brown shutters next door. If you look at the aerial view, the lot goes pretty far back; perhaps 2.5 times the front-to-back dimension of the house in total.

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Two lots

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Yes the house that you mention is being taken down and combined with the vacant lot in the foreground. This is the right view.

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Wrong!

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No area in Boston is in greater need of 'affordable' family housing than Geneva. It's a neighborhood of families. A 5 story complex packed with studios, with only a single 3BR unit in this neighborhood is borderline insulting.

If Mr. Chu wants to make some quick coin throwing another Millenial Palace onto the city, he can do it somewhere else. But if he doesn't want to have to pay the land costs for somewhere that might actually be appropriate for one of these things, ie Jeffries Point, Boston Landing, and is committed to Geneva - he needs to get in sync with the community here.

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You're Wrong

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Someone wants to invest in your neighborhood and your first response is "Go away." Great strategy. Not every unit of housing can or will be 'affordable.' There has to be an income mix to sustain neighborhoods and businesses. The Geneva area needs investment. Stop impugning developers, of course they want to make profit, that's how it works. The government doesn't build housing anymore so this is the only game in town.

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Pal...

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This is one of the poorest & most crime ridden neighborhoods in Boston, that consists of virtually all families. 3 BR affordable homes is what this neighborhood needs....not studio condos... (The term condo is getting way to comfortable in Boston)

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How's yer mom's basement?

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You clearly have no idea what the rental market is like.

Put singles into singles, and you free up affordable housing and parking.

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So I, a young millenial, have

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So I, a young millenial, have many friends who live in 3 or 4 bedroom units with a collection of roomates, each paying an absurd sum for their portion of the unit.... many of whom would prefer to live by themselves or with an S.O, but the inventory of studios and 1 beds in this town is abyssmal.

build more single/duo housing, and they will willingly free up the bigger old family units that have turned into rooming situations. building more 3 beds isn't going to help families right now, because landlords can always get more $$ if they rent to three working adults than a mom and two kids.

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Great investment, I concur

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Plus, it puts more eyes on the station. The end of the northbound platform at Geneva, the dead-end peninsula, has become a gathering point for drug abuse and other issues

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No One Said 'Go Away'

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If he wants to build housing in Geneva - great. Just don't make the project look like a big FU to what the neighborhood is all about.

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You literally said 'go away.'

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You literally said 'go away.'

If Mr. Chu wants to make some quick coin throwing another Millenial Palace onto the city, he can do it somewhere else.

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how is that?

The neighborhood needs more that just family housing. Dorchester has a lot a large multi bedroom apartments and homes. It has very few one bedrooms or studios for entry level workers. Not millenials with trustfunds renting trendy micro apartments. Single people starting out that need a safe reasonable place to live near public transportation. Integration is what this neighborhood needs.

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"Millenial Palace"

What on earth are you talking about? This is nothing like any of the Millennium buildings downtown.

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Single people need housing

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Single people need housing too... if you build more studio units overall maybe those three young people sharing a flat will each move into a studio and that 3 bedroom triple decker unit can go back out onto the market for a family.

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Just More Trickle Down

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Why is it always that the wealthier among us have to first get what they want in order for the less wealthy to - maybe - see something that they need?

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Okay

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How many affordable units are there now?

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Well, because in addition to

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Well, because in addition to countless other things along the lines of "that's how wealth works" it is also the case here that the proceeds from selling those expensive units to the rich is actually what pays half the construction cost for the below-market-rate units. So without the rich people, there is also no housing for the poor.

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Needs More Affordable Units

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Yes, there needs to be more affordable units in Dorchester! 4 out of 27 is the minimum 15% requirement for Zone C, which includes Dorchester. You figure with all the money pouring into the IDP fund from other developments in Boston that they could be used in areas like this for a higher % of affordable housing!

Please excuse my complete ignorance, but would it be feasible that this developer (Chu) received funding from the IDP fund to subsidize the building and allocation of the required 15% of the units or is that not how it would work?

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I thought the minimum in the

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I thought the minimum in the "law" was 13% (http://www.bostonplans.org/getattachment/91c30f77-6836-43f9-85b9-f0ad73d...). The problem is that market rate units subsidize the construction cost of affordable units, so in neighborhoods where the market rate isn't super high (of which this is one), you can't push that percentage nearly as high as, say, Jamaica Plain, where we sometimes get as much as 20%, because the project doesn't pencil out.

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Please excuse my complete

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Please excuse my complete ignorance, but would it be feasible that this developer (Chu) received funding from the IDP fund to subsidize the building and allocation of the required 15% of the units or is that not how it would work?

That is not how it works.

He’s very involved in

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He’s very involved in Dorchester and has built affordable housing that caters to middle class people. You’d have to have some contact with the Vietnamese community vs whatever bubble you seem to be in.
We have lots of need for small studios and one beds. One of the things that drives up rent is a putting 3-4 people in a floor of a triple decker because there are no studios and one-beds to rent.
We need housing of all sizes and NIMBY neighbors have made it near impossible to build using claims like ‘family neighborhood’ to keep certain populations out. I can’t believe the veiled racism and homophobia I’ve witnessed at the association meetings.

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You're kidding, right?

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How many people in the market to buy or rent in a "Millenial Palace" do you really think are interested in living in Bowdoin-Geneva? Seriously? I personally think the developer is nuts to try to take on this project because the project will reportedly cost $8.9 million for 27 units -- or roughly $330,000 per unit. I'm guessing rents for the market-rate studios would have to start in the neighborhood of $1,200 to $1,500 per month just to make back the costs of financing, taxes, and operation, not to mention subsidizing the affordable units. The three-bedroom unit is a bit over twice the size of a studio in the project so it'd likely have to go for $2,500-$3,000/month.

If the developer were to redo the project as all 3-bedroom, the same footprint would likely end up yielding 11 or 12 units. At that point, it probably would make sense to just build 9 to avoid the inclusionary development requirement. But they'd still have to go for $2,500-$3,000/month to cover the financing of the construction cost and all the other costs of operation and taxes.

Maybe he's betting on the neighborhood gentrifying? You can complain about that, too.

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Yes, I do

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Thanks.

And do I mean I maybe shouldn't write while under the influence of a head cold? Yes, I do. And I hadn't even taken any of the good pills yet, the ones you have to show ID for.

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"These brownstones all look

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"These brownstones all look the same. Can't they do anything different?" - Boston residents, late 1800s

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Yes, it's called "the only

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Yes, it's called "the only thing neighborhood groups will allow because anything remotely interesting is deemed out of character with the neighborhood."

But keep making this exact same comment on every uHub article about a new building. That'll change things.

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