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$47-million project would reshape Warren Street block

280 Warren St. in Roxbury

Architect's rendering.

Developer John Cruz recently filed formal plans with the BPDA for a 95-apartment complex on Warren Street at Waverly Street in Roxbury.

The Dr. Michael E. Haynes Arms - named after the Roxbury state representative and minister - would also become home to Cruz's 45-employee firm, now headquartered in John Eliot Square.

Cruz proposes erecting the two-building complex in two phases, starting with a 51-unit, five-story building along Warren that would have first-floor office space for Cruz Development Corp.

The second building, which would have 44 apartments for the elderly and first-floor retail space would then go up at the corner of Warren and Waverly, assuming Cruz can purchase the two properties there.

Cruz proposes a 102-space garage - and 95 bicycle spaces.

The apartments would be split between one- and two-bedroom units, with two three-bedroom units.

The proposed design intent of this residential and commercial project is to restore the urban fabric and residential street life of traditional Roxbury and to enhance and encourage further redevelopment of Warren Street between Dudley Square and Blue Hill Avenue.

The location of the Site, at approximately halfway between the Dudley Square and Blue Hill Avenue, appears ideally suited and placed for these goals.

The proposed architectural style is reflective of the architecture along Warren Street and in the adjacent Roxbury residential neighborhoods. The use of brick, traditional bays, mansard roofs and familiar windows, translated into a more modern form, is in keeping with other new residential developments of this era in this area.

It is expected that the Michael E. Haynes project will restore a residential presence and vitality to this long abandoned site and productively refinish and establish this neighborhood edge. To reinforce this sense of extension of the residential fabric, we believe that the commercial, restaurant and office space used at the first floor is traditional on Warren Street and appropriate in restoring a sense of street vitality.

280-290 Warren St. project notification form (72M PDF).

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Comments

Which is saying something, considering how awful most of the design proposals for midrise development have been over the last few years. I don't see anything in here about pricing--any sense of what they think they'll be selling/renting the 1/2BR places for? It's somewhat of a transitional neighborhood, not located near any heavy rail, though there are bus routes that go from the front door to most parts of the city. Would be interested to see ballpark costs, and what the neighbors think of it. The building there right now is a godawful eyesore, and the concept renderings look like they keep the same red-brick aesthetic, so hopefully the locals are in favor of it.

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Nicely worked into the surrounding neighborhood and a solid tribute to Haynes. Good to see a nod to bikes too, though I wish the surrounding streets were remotely bike-friendly. It's super-close to Dudley though and lots of buses on that route.

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This is the kind of major, quality development that really improves a neighborhood. Nice to see money being put into something other than luxury high-rises.

Clever how the photos in the PDF are careful not to highlight the painting of Nelson Mandela, which clearly will be going away.

IMAGE(http://c.o0bg.com/rf/image_1200w/Boston/2011-2020/2015/08/19/BostonGlobe.com/Metro/Images/tlumacki_mandelamuralfeature_metro.jpg)

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Who's paying for this? I have a funny feeling it's mostly coming out of taxpayer pockets.

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Would you ask this if the project were in Roslindale instead of Roxbury? Do you know anything about Cruz or his company?

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I certainly would ask about any location where developer is unlikely to recoup the construction costs, let alone make a profit. We're talking half million per unit on average here, who's going to pay that much for the privilege of witnessing daily drug deals on the corner and ducking an occasional stray bullet? That money has to come from somewhere - if it doesn't come from the buyer, it comes from taxpayer pockets.

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Sadly, you can find needles pretty much anywhere these days. And while you may be terrified of certain areas (hey, how about those morons putting up multi-million-dollar condos in crime-riddled Downtown Crossing!), not everybody is. These are apartments, not condos. And Cruz's company has been building and operating apartments since the 1940s.

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I got a flat bike tire from one recently ... IN LEXINGTON!

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that one time you came into Boston, 30 years ago. All those undesireables in the South End!

You'd best stay out in the suburbs, where it's nice and safe.

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I seriously considered buying the house across the street a few years ago (lot was too small): https://www.redfin.com/MA/Boston/19-Clifford-St-02119/home/9292062

You could do worse than to own a single-family house in Boston in a neighborhood that the city is pumping money into.

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Cities have been pumping money into certain neighborhoods for 60 or so years at this point, yet those neighborhoods haven't really changed all that much and the money seems to have just disappeared. Also, those units will have to rent for well over $2000/month just to break even, and who's going to pay that much to live in one of the worst, crime-ridden parts of the city, far away from any public transit? Once again, someone has to make up for the shortfall, otherwise we won't be seeing all those big fancy plans and pictures.

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I can't make you listen/read/think/visit.

It's a <10 minute walk to the busiest bus station in Boston:
https://goo.gl/maps/uPUhZQ4dTRM2

New, recently renovated or planned projects in the near vicinity:
Shelburne Community Center
Melnea Cass Pool
Bartlet Yard Project
B2 Police Station
Bolling Building
Dudley Square Library
Vine Street Community Center
Dearborn 6-12 Stem School
Tropical Foods
Demolition of old B2 to make way for BRA/BPDA development (RFP in progress)

... to name a few

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that is a beautiful house.

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95 units divided into 47 million dollars is about $495,000 per unit. Very difficult to sell units for that amount of money there. As someone who owns and pays taxes in this neighborhood, it is not accelerating at the rate that other neighborhoods are.

Cruz has been around a long time, they have been partners with companies that can use a good minority component on their projects. They are known for getting mid level projects done. They know how the system works and like any good builder or business (GE, Liberty Mutual) they look for every bit of available money they can get.

I would venture to guess the poster is correct, look for where the money comes from. If they build it for $47 million of subsidized money and there is a 20 percent 'builders fee', even if they come in on time and budget they already made over 9 million dollars.

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I can't believe I'm defending a builder here, but: where do you see any evidence that any of this money is public? It's not a public housing project, it doesn't make any claims about exceeding the quota of affordable units, and there's been no chatter about sweetheart tax deals. Nor is there any secret slush fund to be handed out to developers building outside of red-hot neighborhoods. As far as I can tell, this is good old fashioned capitalism at work. They're apartments, not condos, so he doesn't need to turn around and sell them for half a million dollars each; all Cruz has to do is earn more in rent than he spends servicing the loan and maintaining the facilities. Rents are cheaper here than they are in the South End, but not THAT much cheaper, especially for new construction for people who are going to be working in the immediate area. He's also betting on the neighborhood, and putting his money where his mouth is: Dorchester is shaping up to be the next JP, and after Dorchester is built up, where do you think the yuppies are going to go next? If I had that kind of available capital, I'd be investing it all in underdeveloped neighborhoods in Boston, too.

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$500,000 mortgage at 3.5% is $2,245/month - throw in property taxes, utilities and maintenance expenses and we're easily talking well over $3,000/month - are you expecting us to believe folks will be lining up to pay that much to live in a crime-ridden neighborhood next to a bunch of public housing projects, with no public transportation nearby?

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Four different northbound bus routes stop right in front of the building, the 14, 19, 23, and 28. The 14 goes over to Heath, the 19 goes over to Ruggles, then Longwood and Kenmore, the 23 and 28 go to Roxbury Crossing, then Ruggles.

Where is it you want to go?

Seriously, just because you don't live next to a T stop doesn't mean you don't have access to public transportation. This location is better served than most of the city.

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Units not for sale.
Acquisition of adjoining properties required.
Some land coming from DND.
Costs include demolition and hazardous materials abatement.

I would assume the $47M is total project cost including acquisition costs, design fees, lawyer fees, permits, escalation, contingency, etc. And, if public funds are available, what's wrong with applying for them?

$47,000,000/167277sf = $281/sf

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He's relocating his offices and employees to the building, though, presumably either saving a good amount on rent or freeing himself to sell wherever they were stationed previously, presumably in a neighborhood that has been accelerating.

Projected savings in the costs of doing business should be accounted for

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He's not just a builder - he's a tenant.

Respect for Mr. John Cruz. Well done, sir.

May he have great success and build more.

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It's not unusual at all for these kinds of companies to build their own headquarters. Every development needs to be evaluated on it's merits. There's been a tremendous amount of development all over this state already without adequate road or transit. There's only ever so much room to build on.

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I appreciate the thoroughness of the submission - certainly better than this similar but lesser design in Lower Mills which has received little attention and is taking out two 18th century buildings: http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/getattachment/5d0c70f5-5b49-...

Regarding this proposal, I strongly suggest that all parking enter from Waverly - Clifford is west-bound and more strictly residential - however if Clifford is exit-only that might be acceptable. I also suggest that the Waverly Street facade receive some more attention and not just expose the parking. After that just ensure that the materials are high quality and the details are tight.

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That seems like a funny, old-fashioned way to name an apartment building. It's a nice change from "The Residences at..." but it still makes me think that there will be suits of armor on either side on the entrance.

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Is Bacon Chambers on Harvard Avenue in Allston.

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It's been interesting, but mostly kind of sad watching all the racists come out to complain about a developer and an apartment building in a way that, oh, I can't figure out why, they would never do for most of the other developers and apartment buildings I've written about.

I'm exercising my control over the delete box to just delete, delete, delete anonymous comments as they come in. There are other places you can fulminate about people whose skin color doesn't match yours.

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Asking questions when the numbers aren't adding up is racist? Can I use that when IRS tries to audit me?

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No, it's not so much the questions about financing - that's kind of interesting actually - but the allegations there's some sort of scam going on here, obvs, because nobody would ever want to live in such a place. I'm sure it's 100% coincidental the only project I've written about that brings out those sorts of questions is one right in the middle of Roxbury. Please.

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Any photos of the interior of the Warren theater converted into a church to be torn down for this project?

/paging Ron Newman

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Add me to the list of people pleased to see this proposed development. The structure is very much in keeping with the architectural character of the neighborhood and it will provide much-needed housing to average working folk. Excellent access to public transportation and revitalizing a lot that could use it. I'd love to see more of this in Roxbury.

And to those Anons who are terrified of the neighborhood or think it's nothing but a crime and drug-filled war zone, I invite you to come for a visit and I will be happy to personally show you around. Seriously. I bought a beautiful old Victorian house in Roxbury over 15 years ago and the property value has shot through the roof. Great investment and it beats living in some soulless suburban split-level any day. Now I see hipsters on skateboards and women jogging - alone! So let me know when you'd like to visit and this white guy will show you that it's not so scary here.

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This looks like a great project for the neighborhood. My kids go to BLA, and I am also a teacher, so I'm around the Boiling Building/BLA neighborhoods more and more. Things are happening and it's exciting. There are some beautiful old homes in this area, especially as you move closer to Franklin Park. I anticipate the area looking vastly different in 15 years. That said, I hope the community has input in the process of envisioning the future of their neighborhoods.

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