Forest Hills could get new apartment building not clad in olive and orange panels

Proposed Washington Street apartment building in Jamaica Plain

Jamaica Plain News reports on a BRA meeting in Jamaica Plain on the latest plans for 3521-3529 Washington St., where a developer wants to replace an old car dealership building with 132 apartments and a self-storage facility.

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132 apartments and 166 parking spaces?

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I get that there are a mix of uses at this place but the last thing anything in Boston needs is more cars. And it is right next to Forest Hills!

Lets unbundle the parking and let people make their own economic decisions...

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Looks like the complex by the

Looks like the complex by the Woodland D line station. I looked at those once and they averaged about 3 grand for 1brs. Hope this won't be the same.

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Agreed

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The proposal is for .78 spaces per residential unit, which is probably too high, especially if they do rentals. (Oddly, they haven't decided if the Washington Street building will be condos or apts.) The bigger waste is with the retail and storage facility parking--they are proposing 47 spaces for 25KSF retail, which is appropriate for a suburban supermarket, not urban neighborhood-oriented retail. Plus 15 spaces will be underground and hidden from the public, meaning that they will probably end up used as employee parking. Then there are another 15 spaces for the storage facility, which seems like overkill also. They should spend less on unneeded parking and more on affordable units.

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Parking is scaled back to 50

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Parking is scaled back to 50 from 78.

It'd be impossible and impractical to ask someone to buy (unclear if its apt or condo) a house that has no parking. Washington and McBride have no on street parking. I'm sure the residents want no parking, but also don't want to come home from work and not be able to park in front of THEIR houses. 0.78, with most of them underground and out of the way really isn't bad at all.

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Dunno, but why not let the prices sort themselves out?

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We do have to be extremely thoughtful with any impact on neighboring stakeholders (and there are ways to do this), but why don't we let prices sort themselves within this development?

Free parking takes up land "induces" demand for car traffic. Excluding the cost of land, parking spaces can cost between $4000 and $25000, someone (actually, everyone!) will be paying for this. If this city really needs affordable housing and less traffic, then adding parking spaces works against the city's goals.

Why not reduce the spaces as much as the developer will accept? Let them have a bonus to density (maybe not up but replace parking) and unbundle/meter any spaces built. In the case of street meters, allow for market rate parking with revenues being spent on improvements in the district. Those who want cars will pay for them.

Rapid transit is a quarter of a mile down the road. We have to move away from this "ample parking" nonsense if we want to move beyond a city suburbia. The sooner we do it the easier it will be to live without a car. There is no better place to start than right here...

Free parking comes with very big costs. We can do better than this...

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It's a relief to see a decent

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It's a relief to see a decent-looking residential building being proposed for the city of Boston! Hope it gets approved. More housing is a good thing.

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That car lot used to be a

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That car lot used to be a Kinney Vacuum, ( http://pubs.acs.org/appl/literatum/publisher/achs/journals/content/ancha... ) . Lots of jobs there , I picked up an oxygen vacuum pump repaired there, not to be confused with nitrogen. The businesses across the street were all a bunch of flat roofed three deckers. As the Orange Line El steel ran down Washington street, they were good enough back then. The motor car company there now was formerly on Harvard street Allston across from the old fire house. The Boston Gas Company was on the other side of McBride street, and had a dump lot behind the pump company.The Rossmore Cafe was there back then , now it's a Fountain. Leo owned the Midway then down the steet, Braddock Cafe across the side street. It was a gritty working, drinking class neighborhood.

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Was he any relation to C.

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Was he any relation to C. Naughton the contractor, from Galway I believe ?

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I don't know.

He's one of the jazz people I know. He began playing piano at 7 and ended up in a Connors band before switching to vibraphone.

http://www.bobbynaughton.com/

I'm also pretty sure Laurence Cook is from West Roxbury. He was in one of the first Museum School class years and still plays drums superbly at 70 something.

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JP Housing

And cue the JP NIMBY bitching and whining and pissing and moaning about new housing in 10...9...8...7........

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Reporting for duty, sir!

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I live in the neighborhood, and I won't stand for this! I just hate--

Wait, this is a large-mixed-use development, right next to a major transit hub, which would make this part of Washington Street safer and more attractive, while also driving business to Doyle's and South Street, and encouraging more commercial development down in the southern part of JP? And they might even listen to residents who want more affordable housing?

Nope, I guess this granola-crunching, Subaru-driving, yuppie JP resident is in favor of the project.

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It has to be bigger

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I would bet the developer has a pretty good bookkeeper. If the affordable housing advocates want more affordable housing, "You're gonna need a bigger building" to subsidize those units - then the NIMBYs will really come out of the woodwork.

How do the affordable advocates not understand that putting in restrictions like this is part of the reason housing is so unaffordable? All you do is take people who could afford to live in JP, for example, and push them out to the far end of Mattapan, Rozzie, West Rox etc. All you are doing is shifting the pea under the walnut. If we just got rid of all these crazy controls on housing (along with more expansion-friendly zoning) - wouldn't surprise me if housing got cheaper for everyone.

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How about a smaller garage instead

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Yes there are too many restrictions on density and too much local opposition to housing, but in this case, the developers are wasting a ton of money on expensive underground parking that is really unnecessary--and not because the NIMBYs (of which none were in attendance on Monday) or city regs say they have to have it. It's probably their pencil-pushing accountants and lenders who can't believe the development could be successful unless every shopper can park easily. Get rid of some of that underground parking and use the $ for some internal subsidies for affordability, and it would be a much better project without being any bigger. Not that I would object to it being bigger or having more housing. I mean, they are using a quarter of the site for a massive self-storage facility, which doesn't house anyone--just all their unnecessary crap.

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How about YOU cut a check to

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How about YOU cut a check to pay for this virtuous affordable housing you like so much?

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I am genuinely confused by

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I am genuinely confused by this comment. No snark, for once--how does more affordable housing push would-be residents out of JP? We're not talking Section 8, we're talking affordable housing, which just means you can afford it on 80% of the median income of the area. In Boston, that's only $100-150 below market rate for apartments like these. It's not like the rest of the building is going to need to be $5K/month penthouses for the developer to make his money back. And adding those affordable units doesn't suddenly exempt the rest of the building from the laws of supply and demand, so that same developer is going to have to charge market rate for the rest of the building.

Are you worried that he's going to counter the affordable-housing folks by insisting that the rest of the units be "luxury" apartments (whatever that means, these days)? I agree that a building full of luxury apartments would be not-useful, but I also don't think anyone would rent luxury apartments in the Forest Hills neighborhood, even if they've got stainless steel appliances or whatever other trinkets make apartments "luxury" space.

Affordable housing is how you keep the middle class in Boston. I'm not sure why we would want to avoid that.

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think of it this way

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There are only 3 market units of housing in the city and one affordable unit. The 3 units are in Downtown, JP and Mattapan. The affordable unit is in JP also.

There are 4 renters. One makes $100k a year, two make $75k and one makes $50k.

All want to live as close to the downtown as possible - but only the one making $50k qualifies for affordable housing.

The person making $100k lives downtown - and bids up the rent accordingly, easily out-bidding the other 3 residents for the right to live downtown.

Both people making $75k want to live in JP - but only one can - it becomes a war between which one is willing to pay the most rent.

The person who makes $50k in a market world lives in Mattapan - but by default, they win the "affordable" lottery so they get the right to live in JP. The person making $75k gets shunted to Mattapan.

Obviously much more complicated than this simplified model in a dynamic market - but that's effectively what happens in Boston and why rents eat up so much of a person's income here.

We have lots of people bidding up the price of properties closer to downtown where people want to live. Valuable units that could satisfy demand on the margin are given away at effectively subsidized rates. Eventually somebody says uncle (or doesn't have a rich uncle) and they move further from downtown - driving up the prices in that outer area to boot. This affordable housing shell game is a charade for politicians to claim they are doing something for the middle class when the real winners are the landlords.

Simply charge the market rent, have zoning that makes development profitable and the market will take care of it. If you really want to live downtown, but can't afford a place, you make the decision between a smaller, more convenient apartment or something bigger and less convenient. The "affordable" charade just drives up costs by limiting supply in the area where it's built and pushes people on the margin to rent at higher prices in less desirable places - it's a lose/lose.

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what's wrong with mattapan?

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there are some nice houses there - plus you're close to blue hills, and restaurants in lower mills and roslindale... one of the few close-in areas where you can still get a nice-size house with a yard for not a lot of money.

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Nothing

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Just the furthest spot I could think of from downtown but still in Boston.

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Not well connected to downtown

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Sure, the 21 and 31 will get you to Forest Hills, and some day the commuter rail station on Blue Hill Ave will begin to be built, but wouldn't it be easier to just live by Forest Hills and skip the bus part of the commute. The high speed trolley is cool, but that's still a 2 seat ride, and if you work in Back Bay or the LMA, that's more headaches every day.

Hyde Park at least has quick connections via the Hyde Park commuter rail station (not Fairmont, commuter rail troll)

Other than that, Mattapan is great. I ran over to the Neponset River Trail via River Street the other day. It's nice, but out there.

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I can't believe what's-her

I can't believe what's-her-face, the know it all from that inconsequential m town, hasn't chimed in yet with her usual b.s. telling everyone in Boston how we should live.

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"inconsequential m town"

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"inconsequential m town"

No need to be a snob. It doesn't help you at all.

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couple gripes about this project

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there are actually three buildings as part of the proposal - the self-storage facility is this hideous suburban strip mall thing (they could do something interesting with the skin - like this)- and the washington street mixed-use building looks like it was designed by a first year architecture student. the rendering of the building adam posted and the "future SW corridor bike path extension" are the two nice things about this project.

the townhouse project on parcel U looks a lot nicer - except they haven't resolved the train track side.

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Is there much demand for self

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Is there much demand for self-stotage in the area? There may be, I genuinely don't know. I used to live on Brookside, not far from the self-storage place on Boylston & Washington, and it did seem to be pretty busy. Having said that, they advertise a lot, so I assume they're not at capacity.

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It's cuz

The apartments will be so tiny the residents will have to put their furniture in storage.

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Good God you're all a bunch of compainers!!

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I live in the neighborhood and have been to several of the meetings about this development and have even met the developers. They have been responsive to the community about all sorts of requests, adding in community meeting space, community gardens, etc. and being open to locals' requests about the types of retailers that will be included.

And for the record, whatever weird baggage you carry around about people who live in JP, there isn't any NIMBYism going on. This development has so far been welcomed by the immediate surrounding neighbors who have been actively involved in making sure that this makes sense from a long-term perspective.

While the neighbors don't necessarily love the idea of the storage facility, the developers' primary business is storage facilities so it's the main anchor of the development and can't be changed.

At this rate ANYthing is better than the monstrosity of the building that is there now and we're happy about it.

So PLEASE stop complaining on our behalf. We're quite happy, thankyouverymuch.

I love this site and the service that Adam provides for Bostonians but dear god I could do with about half of the asshat comments that accompany nearly every story. NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU THINK! Go troll Reddit or something.

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