Developer signals intent to build 25-story tower in Dudley Square

A Roxbury-area developer has filed a letter of intent with the BPDA to build a 25-story tower at 2345 Washington St., on what is now a parking lot.

The project, which would incorporate the former Roxbury Institute for Savings Building and the former Boston Consolidated Gas Company Building, was the dream of developer Kenneth Guscott, who died in a Milton house fire in March. His family's Rio Grande Limited Partnership submitted the letter to the BPDA in advance of a more detailed project-notification form.

Rio Grande proposed 236 residential units, from two bedrooms down to micro (smaller than a studio) - and says it will set aside 20% of the units as affordable in what it says is a project that will have a "transformative impact" on Dudley Square.

Rio Grande did not specify how many parking spaces it would provide, or where, but said it would seek permission to provide less parking than required by zoning because the tower would be directly across the street from the Dudley T station - and that making it harder to get parking would encourage transit use.

The first two floors of the building would be leased as commercial space.

Letter of intent (180k PDF).

Man nabbed in Dominican Republic for 2010 murder outside infamous Roxbury bar

Boston Police report arresting Charlie Brea, 31, for the murder of Luis Martinez outside the now shuttered Breezeway on Blue Hill Avenue at closing time on Oct. 23, 2010.

Brea was extradited from the Dominican Republic and arrived at Logan early this morning, police say.

The Breezeway got a two-day suspension for failing to do enough to prevent the double shooting that left Martinez dead and another man injured.

The bar, involved in other violent incidents, closed in 2012 after owner Christ Stomatos sold its liquor license to the operators of the Fogo do Chao in Copley Square.

Innocent, etc.

Criminal helps feds catch another alleged MS-13 member

A man whose actual identity remains in question faces federal racketeering and gun charges as part of an overall federal and local investigation that resulted in dozens of indictments last year.

A second man was also charged with new MS-13-related racketeering charges in an indictment released this week.

In the indictment, a federal grand jury charged that the first man, who has a variety of aliases, including Tony Colon, Henry Enrique, Anderson Chacon and his alleged MS-13 street name of Scooby, and who allegedly entered the US illegally via Mexico, sold a gun to an informant in 2015. Federal law bars illegal aliens from possessing firearms.

The indictment also charges Scooby and the second man, William "Humilde" Pineda Portillo, of engaging in at least two unspecified acts of racketeering as part of their membership in MS-13, an El Salvador-based gang blamed for at least six murders in East Boston and nearby communities, several of them of teenagers.

In an affidavit, an FBI agent says Scooby was snared thanks to a "cooperating witness" who agreed to wear a wire as he bought a gun from him on April 29, 2015.

The affidavit specifies that the cooperating witness had some issues of his own: He had a criminal record before the investigation began and even as he was working with the feds, he committed "unauthorized street robberies." Still, his work was valuable enough that the government agreed to provide him and his family with "immigration benefits" that let the enter and stay in the US and to put them in the witness protection program.

According to the affidavit, Scooby was taken into custody on Feb. 27 of this year, when a Massachusetts state trooper active in the MS-13 investigation recognized him walking down Everett Avenue in Chelsea - almost a year after the trooper had conducted a "field interview" of him in East Boston.

Scooby allegedly became very nervous and appeared ready to bolt as the trooper talked to him, and gave a different name than he gave in East Boston, at which point the trooper conducted a pat frisk and found a knife in his backpack. The blade was longer than 2 inches, good enough for an arrest under a state law banning such knives in public.

In addition to murder - done as part of the gang's battles with the rival 18th Street gang or as an initiation rite - MS-13 is also charged with drug running. Earlier this week, the feds charged that one of the locals picked up in the sweep was actually a national MS-13 leader - and had helped arrange the murders of two local teens.

Innocent, etc.

Old Roxbury hospital site could become apartments

Rendering by Studio G Architects.

Kensington Investment Co. has filed a letter of intent with the BPDA to turn the former Radius hospital complex off Townsend and Harrishof streets into a 322-unit market-rate apartment complex with 217 parking spaces, a cafe and a billiards room.

In its filing, the Congress Street-based company says it would meet its affordable-housing requirements by building condos elsewhere in the neighborhood, "within walking distance" of the site.

Kensington says its project, which would rise up to 7 1/2 stories, would take two year to build, once demolition of the current five Radius buildings is finished and construction begins in 2019.

Other project amenities include 24 hour front desk and on-site security, gathering places for exhibitions, kitchen and dining area, games room with billiards, reading nooks and lending library, TVs, multiple sitting areas, with fireplace, access to outdoors, coffee and tea bar, fitness center and Yoga studio, outdoor pool, meeting spaces for study and work, computer area with printing and outdoor BBQs and sitting areas.

45 Townsend letter of intent (1.8M PDF).
More from Kensington.

Roslindale residents, merchants want Target to lose the food, add more office supplies to impending store

Target's Aaron Hemquist talks about proposed Roslindale store.

Some 50 Roslindale residents and Roslindale Square business owners had a pretty clear request for Target officials tonight: Replace the food aisles in their proposed replacement for the Washington Street Staples with office supplies or even more clothes, because they don't want to see the nearby Village Market - a cornerstone of the village's revival, driven out of business.

And ditto for the planned mini-CVS in a neighborhood that has one of New England's last remaining independent pharmacies and which is just a mile or so away from a full-service CVS.

"Don't push our market out," state Rep. Liz Malia told two Target officials and their real-estate lawyer at the meeting at the Roslindale Community Center, organized by Roslindale Village Main Street.

Target recently announced it will open a small-scale store next March where the Staples is closing next month.

The new store, about the size of two basketball courts, rather than the two football fields of a full-size Target, will focus on what Roslindale's young families and homeowners need, according to Mark Hokanson, Target's new-store development lead, said. So expect plenty of clothes, the latest in electronic gadgets and enough home furnishings to tide somebody over until they can get to a full-sized Target, he said.

And in response to a common request he's heard so far, "we will carry socks, I promise," he said.

Fans of the neighboring Dunkin' Donuts, have nothing to worry about - as a condition of their lease with the owner of both the Dunkin' Donuts and the impending Target, the chain will not be installing a Starbucks.

Residents applauded Target for bringing non-boutique clothing back to Roslindale - which has not had a clothing store since the JB Edwards uniform store moved to West Roxbury a couple years ago - along with home goods and the like.

But residents pleaded with Target not to add a food department that, while not a full-fledged supermarket, could jeopardize the Village Market, which residents and store owners credited with being the catalyst for the revival of Roslindale Square more than 20 years ago. They urged Target to recognize the unique village makeup of the area, an area full of small shop owners catering to people who moved there in part because of its village feel - and an area, they said, that needs office supplies for local businesses and at-home workers more than another place to buy bananas.

"We worked so hard to get this supermarket in this community," Barbara Lottero, executive director of the Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center said.

Resident Alan Wright threatened to lead a boycott of a Target with food.

Residents made a similar push on the proposed pharmacy.

Courtney Feeley Karp said she will love being able to shop locally for onesies for her toddler rather than driving to the Westwood Target. But she said she's not going to be very happy if the pharmacy harms Sullivan's, where she now goes to get the specially compounded medications her daughter needs.

Karp said small stores like Sullivan's are part of what make Roslindale Square special - a village where people can walk from shop to shop. "We relish it," she said of the village nature of the shopping area, adding that while she's willing to drive to Westwood for onesies, she wouldn't want to live there.

But while nobody at the meeting said they wanted the food, several said they would love to see Target bolster its office-supply offerings to replace what they said was the best part of Staples from them. Glenn Williams said it would be great if Target could even add in copy and print services, to replace the ones that will go away with Staples.

On all the requests, Hokanson was, at best, non-committal. Although he acknowledged that neither food nor the pharmacy were one of the chain's four main "pillars" - "baby," "kids," "wellness" and "style" - he said they were a key convenience for people who come in for one thing, then decide to pick up some food or a prescription. In fact, he said it might be difficult for the store to meet revenue goals without them. But he said he'd bring the suggestions back with him to Target headquarters in Minnesota.

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