Neighbors of rotting West Roxbury factory still hate idea of the apartments proposed to replace it

Proposed building at 425 Lagrange St. in West Roxbury

From the 425 Lagrange St. filing with the BRA.

The meeting was not quite as boisterous as past sessions. But at the one hearing the BRA was required to hold, residents of Lagrange Street and nearby side streets told landlord Michael Argiros they still can't stomach his proposal for apartments on Lagrange just off Centre because it's too big.

Argiros's current proposal calls for replacing the burned out and water-damaged asthma-inhaler plant with 48 apartments in a three-story building and 81 parking spaces - a proposal his team developed after residents screamed bloody murder about his original plans for 62 apartments in a four-story building and 52 parking spaces.

Argiros is also aiming the apartments at the sort of young professionals who want "very high-end" apartments with granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances - with one-bedroom, 800-square-foot units starting at about $2,400 a month. Six of the units will be rented to people making no more than 70% of the area median income, as required by the BRA.

Residents said the project was still too large for what they said was a Lagrange Street already overburdened by traffic, with on-street parking spaces scooped up by people from other parts of West Roxbury who get neighborhood parking permits just so they can park near the Needham Line train station for free rather than paying to park in the station's lot.

One resident said Argiros should simply replace the current hulking ruin with a parking lot.

"If I had known this was going in, I would have moved someplace else," one resident said. A man who'd moved to the area from Charlestown, who expressed similar sentiments, said Argiros's tenants would make it even harder for other residents to get their kids into the local elementary schools and would further burden police and firefighters. Another resident told Argiros: "You wouldn't want this in your neighborhood in Westwood; no one wants this here." And one said the proposed building looked like it belonged in the Back Bay, not West Roxbury.

One resident questioned why Argiros insisted on building apartments rather than condos, whose residents would have more of a stake in the neighborhood. Argiros declined to answer, although in the past he has said he wants to put up the building to provide a long-term source of income for his sons.

Not everybody opposed the project. A tenant of Belgrade Place - an apartment building near Roche Bros. - objected to the denigration of apartment dwellers. "I'm not bringing down West Roxbury" - and neither are the doctors, nurses and retired people who live also live there - she said.

Argiros's traffic engineer said the building would have minimal impact on traffic. Still, Argiros said he has talked to BTD about adding left-turn signals for people seeking to turn from Lagrange onto Centre - and that he could ask BTD to limit parking to two hours in front of his building and the cemetery on Centre to try to limit non-locals from parking there to use the train station. When residents said that would just push these boors further up the street, Argiros said there's a limit to how much he can do; "I can't be the parking police for all of the neighborhood."

Residents have until the end of the month to file comments with the BRA. Ultimately, the BRA will decide whether to approve the project, after which Argiros will have to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals.

425 Lagrange small-project-review application (4M PDF).

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Comments

The factory

Well, how many people worked in that factory when it was up and running? Where did those employees park?

Also, what the f is wrong with people?

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Indeed, given that this was a

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Indeed, given that this was a factory in Boston proper, it operated way back when the city had about 800,000 residents, many of whom were working natives who hadn't decamped for the suburbs and rode streetcars and buses.

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What the f is wrong

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Is that the BTD allows (and even encourages)'residents to get worked up instead of telling them they're acting crazy. We need reasonable people to show up at these meetings.

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Duh

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Yuppies and the scumbag developers getting rich off the market right now are the only people in the entire city of Boston interested in renovating every historic piece of the city.....nothing against yuppies because everyone's a yuppie at some point but if you embrace it to the point where you're encouraging urban development so drastically that you want the entire North End renovated then f*** you. MOVE TO MIDTOWN MANHATTAN!! #KEEPWESTIEFORFAMILIES

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Bellevue Street

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What's that large building just past the train tracks and the Y? Could it be an apartment building?

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It's a half empty

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Overpriced prefabricated apartment building with extremely creepy statues outfront.

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Wrong building

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Bellevue Street is the street with the apartment building that went up at least 50 years ago.

But as long as you bring up Belgrade Place, you might want to talk to the residents there: One of them was at last night's meeting and she said not only are all the apartments full, there's a waiting list.

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Not only creepy

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But so uninspired I feel depressed whenever I pass by.

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I hate those f'n statues.

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I hate those f'n statues. They suck and have zero imagination. I don't see ever see kids playing there so WTF were they thinking with those things?

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Boston is Manhattanizing. I

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Boston is Manhattanizing. I am noticing it is losing its architectural character and its residents are becoming more divided by income and financial status. Sad and makes me feel uneasy about it's future. I'm sure the acrobatics and screening one has to go through to find an affordable place to live in Boston is like shoppers fighting over the last hot item at Target on Black Friday!!

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So true

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Just look at how mad Tom the commentator up above is that someone who can't afford a house might move to his neighborhood.

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you want the entire North End

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you want the entire North End renovated

What person, let alone persons, want this to happen, or are you just making up straw men?

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You're so right.

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Cities which maintain the status quo and don't grow to accommodate a swelling population are often better places to live than those which do. In this particular case, I'm sure not replacing a burned out factory with living space would have no negative impact on the neighborhood.

Also #keepwestieforfamilies sounds like a hashtag that would've been used by the last generation of westie NIMBYs who were fighting the T expansion because they didn't want a bunch of poor people moving in. Cool dog whistle, bro.

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lucille-bluth-eyeroll.gif

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#KEEPWESTIEFORFAMILIES

Because nothing says "family friendly" like the burnt-out husk of a factory square in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

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Also, in case you had not

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Also, in case you had not noticed already, you live in Boston. AKA the largest city in New England. Maybe West Rox isn't Back Bay, but if you put your street address on the envelope and then address it to "Boston, MA," the Post Office will bring it to your front door. If you want suburban culture and suburban zoning, move to the goddamn suburbs, away from the train station, and let the rest of us enjoy density.

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Nah

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Just because this is Boston doesn't mean every last square inch has to have a high rise stuck on it - this isn't SimCity and it's not Manhattan. The neighbors in this case may be getting out of hand, but there are vast numbers of Bostonians living in single-family homes (with driveways, even!), and they (make that we) are as entitled to live here as you apartment/condo types.

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No argument there.

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Oh, no arguments there, Adam... we're a diverse and multi-faceted city, where housing stock goes, and I wouldn't have it any other way. However, opposing reasonable density (medium-density residential, if we're going by SimCity standards) on the grounds that it will completely alter the face of the neighborhood and drive out families is a little silly, given that this is Boston and not Sudbury.

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Thanks!

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We agree. Sorry if I'm a little touchy; it comes from years of listening to people in denser neighborhoods talking like the earth ends south of Landmark Center.

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Heh.

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I plead sometimes-guilty to that. That said, there's a tendency in all of these conversations for people to refer in a panicky way to "hi-rises" which is virtually never what's actually being discussed. A four-story building is not a high-rise and will not turn any suburban idyll into Downtown Crossing.

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Nothing screams families

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Like a dilapidated, hazardous, partially burnt out building.

Also apparently for you a real family doesn't rent an apartment, so my husband and I weren't a "family" when we lived in West Roxbury. Cool.

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Shh ...

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People living in parts of West Roxbury don't want to admit that Washington Street runs through their neighborhood - or that half of Hancock Village is in West Roxbury.

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These slogans

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Always remind me of Jean-Marie Le Pen when he was the head of the National Front party in France. I believe his slogan was "France for the French" or something to that effect.

Families also live in apartments.

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Those proposed apartment buildings:

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Those proposed apartment buildings don't even look like they belong in any kind of urban area. They look more like they belong out in the suburbs(bedroom communities), as subsidized housing.

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I totally agree

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This design looks like garbage, and if the locals should oppose it on any grounds it should be for lack of good design. Build it out of brick, or hell, even make it look Nordic style. This just looks like a mutated version of a detached single family.

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Unfortunately Wood Is In

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Even when a building gets built now with faux brick cladding or aluminum panels guess what is under everything if it's under 8 stories... pressed wood. A true crime because you can toss noise mitigation between neighbors right out the window. But builders just don't want to spend money to build apartment/condo buildings right - with concrete.

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You're waiting for Frank Lloyd Wright

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to rise from the dead and start designing condos in Westie? Sorry but not happening. Frankly I'm kind of relieved to see something besides the grey on grey stacked shoeboxes we've been seeing everywhere from Chelsea to Dorchester. No matter your personal architectural design preference, aesthetics are pretty much a bottom priority--if you read this site at all you'll see that pretty much all people value is whether Development X will slow down their route to their nearest Dunkies by thirty seconds, threaten their parking spot in front of their house, or bring in undesirables...like people who can only afford $2000 a month for a one-bedroom.

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Nobody is really against building there

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It's more the size. It's huge. Too big- that's debatable - but its quite large.

Honestly - as someone who lives less that .25 miles from it - I would love to see a mixed use bldg. retail/restaurant on the first level- apartments or (even better) condos.

Folks should really look into the developed (Mike Agiros) other properties on Carol Circle and behind Party City on VFW, and then there is this gem :

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/06/23/portions-davis-square-build...

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this is an appropriate spot to put apartments in westie

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We need to build higher density housing near train stations so we can minimize traffic impacts on the existing roads that are at capacity while adding housing units. We should be encouraging people to live in dense housing where they can take a train. The city should be undertaking a massive infrastructure project to fix the mbta (and add capacity to it) as the longer we kick the can down the road the worse traffic gets for everyone.

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The sad part is that the

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The sad part is that the Needham line sux balls. You pay top price for shite service.

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You leave the Needham Line alone

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Your weird limey insults change nothing -- the Needham line is short, direct and simple and thus the catastrophic delays that afflict the longer lines are rarely seen. Plus the in-city stations all have (much slower) bus alternatives to get to the Orange line, making it so much less likely that the NL can screw you too badly.

I live in JP now, but when it comes time to flee the BPS like the yuppie scum we are, I have my eye on Needham to stick with the stubby little devil I know.

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Are you paid by Keolis? They

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Are you paid by Keolis? They have you right where they want you; lulled into a sad state of acceptance of shit service :)

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Thanks again to Westie who

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Thanks again to Westie who blocked that spur from becoming Orange Line like god intended.

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not...the Back Bay!!

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Oh, the horrors!!

Still trying to get my head around the idea of someone who'd rather live next to a parking lot than an attractive, modest sized apartment building.

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on-street parking spaces

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on-street parking spaces scooped up by people from other parts of West Roxbury who get neighborhood parking permits just so they can park near the Needham Line train station for free

How is this in any way the developer's problem? Shouldn't this be brought up with the city - can't they zone neighborhood permits down even further? Or, ideally, wouldn't the best solution be to increase transit access into Westie so people don't have to drive across town to access the only (insufficient, expensive) option?

One resident said Argiros should simply replace the current hulking ruin with a parking lot.

Nothing says 'nice neighborhood' like a giant gravel pay lot, amirite.

"very high-end" apartments with granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances, with one-bedroom, 800-square-foot units starting at about $2,400 a month.

tenants would make it even harder for other residents to get their kids into the local elementary schools

Or.... the kind of single, childless yuppies who can afford 2400 a month to live in a one-bedroom will be pouring tax money into services they aren't using....

Jesus Christ, these people and the JP people should get together and have a party in one of their precious rotting industrial buildings.

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Most of the area doesn't have

Most of the area doesn't have permit parking at all. Pushing it out further would require more people to get stickers just to park in front of their own houses (their God/Constitution-given right). There'd be even more whinging.

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Westie

Ah, my former neighbors. Consistently awful and selfish.

Growing up, I never could fathom how a pharmaceutical factory ever got built in a residential area to begin with.

Googling brought up their pitch when they sold the property: "This property has produced all of the Primatene Mist (epinephrine) sold worldwide since the 1950s. Located directly across the street from the MBTA Commuter Rail's West Roxbury Station, this property is ideal for any kind of lab user looking for a less expensive alternative to the Cambridge/Lexington markets.

Alternatively, the location across the street from the MBTA makes it an ideal candidate for a residential redevelopment."

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These sites like the burned

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These sites like the burned out pharmaceutical factory here and the long-empty Weld American parcel in Roslindale are low-hanging fruit for developers to build some housing on. The city needs to greenlight denser buildings like this on these sites in order to meeting its new housing goals, that's just reality. And I expect the city/BRA ultimately will give the go-ahead on some version of these. That having been said, the design here is unappealing. That's my issue. This is a cookie cutter building. At least build something visually appealing. Also give us more landscaping than just three trees. You'll get a lot more buy-in from neighbors who aren't NIMBYs but also want to see something nice built near their homes.

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Housing

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That intersection is already busy and this will make it busier, asking for less units more parking ad better traffic flow is not being all NIMBY. All over West Roxbury there a new homes shoe horned in with questionable lot sizes. Oh we should relax the rules for this project allows the next and next and next. Take a look at the houses at Constance rd. and Spring Street that the former Mayor allowed to have a variance. Do they make the neighborhood better, or conform to the character of the neighborhood? This is why people are wary of the city an developers.

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You know the more parking a

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You know the more parking a complex has, the more people with cars live there, and the worse the traffic gets, right?

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills here.

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Not really true outside of

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Not really true outside of downtown. On-street parking is free and available so people will move into a building in West Roxbury without a dedicated off-street space, and they'll just park on-street. Once the city starts charging for residential parking permits, that will cut down on the casual users who don't really need to own one. But even then, the effect will be most seen in places like the South End. In West Roxbury, despite what some residents may claim, there really is no parking crunch. This project is in one of the few areas in West Roxbury that does need the residential sticker but it's still easy enough to park on the street outside of that zone.

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As a knuckle dragging apartment dweller

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I think I should crawl over to one of these meetings, stand close and breath noisily down the neck backs of those who are afraid of me and what folks like me will do to "their" neighborhood.

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Lived on LaGrange Street for Years

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Grew up in WR and lived on LaGrange Street for years. Bought in Charlestown where I now live. While on LaGrange Street I used to cringe walking or driving past Armstrong. It's horrible looking and not sure how it was ever allowed to begin with.

Though I suppose not so surprising when you drive along Centre street these days and all you see (with exception of a few stellar restaurants and shops by Spring Street) are CRAPPY and random discount stores and no uniformity to signage. Shop owners put up cheap banners or others that have been there forever and never bother to update their shop frontage. It's a shame and really not sure why people pay so much to live in WR anymore.

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