Developer proposes affordable units for artists, and a gallery for their work, in Allston complex

40 Rugg Rd. rendering

Architect's rendering.

A developer has modified his plans for a proposed $107-million, three-building complex on Rugg Road to include eight affordable apartments for artists, all of which would be located above a ground-floor gallery for their work.

In a new filing with the BPDA, developer Michael Levitt, of Marlton, NJ, says that adding the artist spaces would mean bringing the total number of units from 261 in the original filing to 265.

In addition to the eight artsts' apartments, the six-story buildings would include another 26 affordable units. One of the buildings would include a 168-car garage.

The proposed new buildings would replace four low-slung industrial buildings and a parking lot, about a quarter-mile from the Boston Landing commuter-rail stop.

The filing discusses the addition of artists' apartments:

The Proponent recognizes the value and impact artists and their art have in the Project's neighborhood and is thereby allocating eight of the 34 onsite affordable units for City of Boston certified artists. The artist-reserved units will integrate specific accommodations, such as larger unit entrances, flexible floor plans, and more modest finishes, to make the space more applicable for artist use. The artist reserved units will be adjacent to one another, all on the same floor (the 2nd floor of Building C), and will be located immediately above the artists' gallery and workspace reserved for them on the first floor of Building C. Each artist will be provided 1,350 SF on the first floor of Building C for gallery and/or work space.

Furthermore, artwork will also be displayed in common areas throughout the building, including a 1,500 SF flexible gallery/work space, as well as outdoors. In addition to providing affordable housing for artists, the Proponent has voluntarily agreed to work with Artists for Humanity to incorporate civically conscious public art components that are respective of the neighborhood's history. Beginning with a graphic "wrap" of the automated parking garage, the Proponent also intends to work closely with the artists who will call 40 Rugg Road home, as well as the artists community as whole, to incorporate public art components throughout the development, which may include wayfinding signs, artistic bike racks, outdoor seating, and plantings and associated landscape architecture.

From the filing:

Rugg Road with exterior art
Rugg Road side
Rugg Road deck
Rugg Road map

40 Rugg Rd. supplemental filing (14.9M PDF)

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Comments

and more modest finishes, to

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and more modest finishes, to make the space more applicable for artist use.

CLEVER way to get around the "affordable units must be of same quality" rule. Though, as an artist myself, I've destroyed the 'gleaming hardwood floors' in my own condo, so I can't really argue with the logic.

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While I'm all for affordable

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While I'm all for affordable live/work space for artists, Rugg Road is already known to Boston's creative community as a place for artists to live (or was, it may have changed in the last few years?) How many artists are being displaced by this move? I would bet the number is much, much higher than 8.

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If you look at the

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If you look at the contributions to Mark Ciommo's campaign funds on the OCPF website you'll find a few high-amount donors from the developers of this project. Hmmm...

From what I hear, the building on Rugg Road was condemned a few weeks before the land appeared in this plan...and if you've ever been in the building, it was pretty condemnable for the past decade....

What made the city decide to finally pull the plug? What made the city decide to take away artist space so that the Michael's Corporation could make market rate apartments? Is the answer to this on the OCPF website?

Shame.

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If I were to guess,

0.

The proposed new buildings would replace four low-slung industrial buildings and a parking lot,

Street view

You could make the case that maybe someone lives/works in 40 based on the above street view, but it's also entirely possible they'd end up in the new building.

This actually seems like the type of development that benefits a wide range of people (as opposed to just rich people and foreign speculators), and will have a significant positive impact on the area it's in. We need more of this.

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not true at all, you're

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not true at all, you're thinking of the building on Penniman (Rugg Rd Artists Colony) which had tenants up until about a year and a half ago.

The building in question is 32 Rugg Road, which had artists using the space up until last Feb or March when the city decided it was time to kick them out. Tons of bands have practiced in that building. Recording studios were displaced, studios that had entire lives and savings poured into them.

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Pretty sure artists lived in

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Pretty sure artists lived in 30 Penniman, which you can see is not part of this project.

Note, the Zoning Board of Appeals has rejected 30 Penniman's efforts to renovate post-fire to rebuild the artist spaces in that building, so... maybe someone should do something about that.

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Artists and Yuppies Are Usually An Awkward Mix

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Seen it in the South End, Fort Point, Somerville. The yuppies treat the artists as sort of curious building amenities and try to act like they actually care about the concept of 'art'. And the artists secretly loathe their new neighbors and how they have to act like they're interested in what new restaurant is trendy or in someone's new Range Rover in order to be treated as something other than an eccentric.

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Location