Boylston Street in the Fenway could get another high rise - this time an 'onsite ecosystem' aimed at grad students

A British developer wants to replace one of the last remaining low-rise buildings on the south side of Boylston Street with 500 apartments and support services aimed at the city's burgeoning population of graduate students.

In a letter of intent filed with the BPDA yesterday, Scape says it would replace the two-story building at 1252-1268 Boylston St. that stretches from what will soon be the street's last gas station to the Baseball Tavern with a building "purpose-built" and staffed 24/7 to provide for the needs of 21st-century students, with "a consistent focus on student health and wellness" and "environments to serve the graduate-level scholars driving the City's research and intellectual exploration."

In its fully buzzword-compliant letter of intent, it avers:

Scape focuses on the power of placemaking and endeavors to deliver an integrated onsite ecosystem which allows students - graduate and undergraduate - to participate in a positive way in the neighborhoods in which they live.

The current building includes Machine and the Domino's best known for being where an off-duty New Jersey cop allegedly beat up a BC hockey player, as well as a GNC and a bed store. The Baseball Tavern, at 1270 Boylston, is a separate building.

Scape, which said it will file more detailed plans within a month, said the need for such housing is particularly acute in the Fenway, which is home to several institutions of higher learning.

The company promised its building will both respect the new architecture that has arisen along Boylston Street in recent years and pay homage to the neighborhood's "architectural heritage through a distinct masonry facade."

If approved, this would be Scape's first US project. The company, which also set Boston as its US headquarters, said it chose Boston, because, well, it's pretty bloody obvious we're the "epicenter of American education," isn't it?

In addition to the student ecosystem, the building will have ground-floor retail space.

1252-1268 Boylston St. letter of intent (1M PDF).

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Comments

Can’t Londonize Boston..

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Can’t Londonize Boston..
British think they have a solution for Housing in Boston.
I think the Japanese have even better ideas.
The British can’t even take care of their own Teeth!!

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The Japanese Solution

The Japanese solution is *shocker* build lots of new homes.

"Here is a startling fact: in 2014 there were 142,417 housing starts in the city of Tokyo (population 13.3m, no empty land), more than the 83,657 housing permits issued in the state of California (population 38.7m), or the 137,010 houses started in the entire country of England (population 54.3m)."

From: https://www.ft.com/content/023562e2-54a6-11e6-befd-2fc0c26b3c60

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Surprised it's lasted as long as it has.

The current owners have been holding out longer than I would've expected, but I guess the price is finally right. Sad to see the end of Ramrod/Machine (or whatever it's called these days), but the writing has been on the wall for years. I'd be surprised if the Baseball Tavern (which I will always think of as the 1270) lasts much longer. That whole stretch is unrecognizable from 5-10 years ago...truly amazing transformation, for better or for worse.

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Baseball Tavern Has Only Been There 8 or 9 Years

They have been in that space only since 2008-2009ish. It used to be on the other side of where McDonald's was on the corner of Jersey Street.

Before that it was Esme and a place that my wife cannot seem to remember the name of but she remembers a fire bar, a water bar, and a very small dance floor early / mid 90's.

Anyone, anyone?

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Yes and No

Machine and Maximum Security were always the bars I told people wearing Yankee hats to go to if they wanted a great time, pre-google, when I was asked where was a great bar to go to around Fenway.

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I moved to the Fenway

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I moved to the Fenway February 2007, and Baseball Tavern was already there, and 1330 was already under construction (and on television, that was the big crane behind the 406 Club on broadcasts in 2007).

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The reason it's so 'buzz word

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The reason it's so 'buzz word' heavy is that these would be DORMS! Calling it out for grad students is a smart way to try and get some people on-board before they unveil that it's really micro-unit/dorms. In that location however (not next to ANY college) the city should not approve.

If they want to build a massive student dorm building in Allston, then let them have at it. If we want Fenway neighborhood to thrive than we shouldn't permit a massive dorm project on Boylston street.

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SCAPE IS A MISTAKE

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Nice to see the BPDA is allowing another arrogant deep pocketed foreign developer to ignore the consensus based zoning which the community spent 10 years putting together.

Dormitories are a FORBIDDEN USE in this part of the Fenway.

This project is a giant slap in the face to residents. The last thing the Fenway needs is dorms built in the middle of it when there has been a 20+ year campaign to get universities and colleges to build dormitories on campus and out of the neighborhood.

It's bad enough BPDA gave away Yawkey Way to the Redsox for a pittance. It was bad enough the BPDA the neighborhood was promised workforce housing by the BPDA 20 years ago and almost every dime of it has gone to building affordable housing in other neighborhoods. Now the BPDA ONCE AGAIN is going sell out the neighborhood!

ENOUGH!

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Graduate Students

You know, graduate students don't live in dorms, right?

Even university housing for graduate students is usually set up as apartments.

Just because there are students doesn't mean these are dorms.

Many graduate students have already spent time in the work world and are over 30 years old.

When I was a graduate student, I was a homeowner with children! In other words, grad students are ADULTS.

I reamed the city clerk a new one for trying to disenfranchise me because I listed my occupation as GRADUATE student on the census form. Like disenfranchising anyone based on occupation is ever acceptable, but it is never okay when the person in question is listed as a home owner and paying water bills and property taxes and clearly has not moved in years!

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You live in Medford. If

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You live in Medford. If someone proposed a dorm in your neighborhood against zoning and the long time wishes of residents you’d be ranting on here against it.

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It ain't a dorm

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It is an apartment building catering to graduate students. Other people can live there, too, and it is not University owned and will pay taxes.

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I live in Medford, and if

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I live in Medford, and if someone proposed an apartment building aimed at graduate students in Medford Square, I'd support it. It would provide the businesses at the square with something closer to a critical mass of customers. It would keep the buses full which would mean pressure to finally do something sane about traffic around the square. And our one humble coffee shop would finally start keeping steady evening hours.

I'm not too keen on this particular proposal for an "ecosystem" because as far as I am concerned, students should not live in a campus bubble, especially

[0] Boston would benefit from copying Paris's model. All the existing dorms in the city should be available to students from ALL the colleges. Harvard students at MIT dorms, MIT students in BU dorms, et cetera. And a market in off campus rentals for all students starting freshman year. No more off some colleges overcrowding while others are empty. No more campus bubbles.

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they gotta go somewhere

And why should they all be in Allston/Brighton when Fenway is closer to BU? If the Fenway NIMBYs finally lost a battle, cry me a muddy river.

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Fenway NIMBYs? Do you even

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Fenway NIMBYs? Do you even look at development bro? The whole neighborhood was rezoned and has been building out and up for years now. This project is contrary to the plan set forth in that rezoning effort to push mixed use residential development along the major streets and push for on-campus dormitory construction.

Now these British developers are dropping in from the airport with a suitcase full of money and blowing off the whole development plan for that neighborhood to keep students on campus while building more housing for professionals where once there were strip mall type stuff or parking lots.

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Do your homework

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These "British Developers" ... " dropping in from the airport with a suitcase full of money" -- are actually now kinda-local

Scape announces U.S. headquarters in Boston
Launches new academic accommodations housing concept and will invest $1 billion in Boston

(PRNewsfoto/Scape)
NEWS PROVIDED BY

Scape
Oct 11, 2018, 09:00 ET

BOSTON, Oct. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Scape, a London-based global real estate owner, operator and developer that specializes in the private, academic accommodations sector, announced today that it is launching its U.S. headquarters in Boston, with plans to roll out its innovative concept locally and then nationwide. Over the past decade, Scape has transformed the private academic accommodations market and has emerged as a best-in-class, vertically-integrated international operator and a globally-recognized brand.

In each of its locations, Scape focuses on the power of 'placemaking' and endeavors to deliver an integrated onsite 'ecosystem' – this positive-feedback loop benefits all stakeholders, including the surrounding urban neighborhoods; this allows students to thrive and to participate in the neighborhoods in which they live in a positive way. Scape has deployed over $3 billion of capital and its portfolio currently consists of more than 12,500 beds - in operation or in development - in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. Scape USA is targeting 20,000 beds nationwide and is prepared to invest $1 billion in Boston over the next five years.

"We are thrilled to be in Boston, amongst the world's best academic and research institutions and brightest students," said Nigel Taee, founder and global executive chairman of Scape. "There is a tremendous need for student housing in Boston as identified in the city's Imagine Boston 2030 plan and Scape intends to move the needle toward achieving the city's stated objectives in the plan."

check-out https://www.scape.com/

So -- I think they deserve a fair hearing before you switch on Auto-Trash Cycle to trash them

And as for the "Vaunted" Planing

blowing off the whole development plan for that neighborhood to keep students on campus while building more housing for professionals where once there were strip mall type stuff or parking lots.

painstakingly produced by meetings with people over years -- people who probably do not even live in Massachusetts anymore

Well things change -- get used to it

PS: I think BU has quite few dorm beds located in the same neighborhood

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"Whole neighborhood"

You mean 3 blocks of one street?

"mixed use residential development along the major streets"

Major street? check
Mixed uses? check
Residential? check

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Huh?

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Fenway has TONs of students living here, it's just as bad as Allston.

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Why does Marty Walsh hate families?

Honestly, this would be a perfect place for like 5 triple deckers with 3 parking spots each - good starter homes for families who want to raise their kids in Boston, not some foreigner owned place full of eggheads.

Signed,

Any neighborhood association in the city.

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This was supposed to be a

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This was supposed to be a site for multifamily housing. W-T-F is a dorm proposal doing there?

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See Above

WTF are you conflating graduate students with dorms??

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Because they are dorms

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Those units some grad students live in look somewhat like tiny apartments but are basically dorms.

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This building is a dormitory

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This building is a dormitory for graduate students. If you don't understand what a dormitory is -may I suggest a dictionary?

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Not a dormitory

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Did any of you finish high school?

It is a private apartment building
It will pay taxes
It is not owned by a university
It caters to adults
Anyone can live there

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Math

Even the older apartment buildings around there are 4-6 stories tall, first of all.

Second of all that's actually a terrible location for triple-deckers when we can easily fit so much more. Lets do some math:

5 TDs x 3 units ea. x 3 or 4 BRs each = 45-60 bedrooms. Which is about 45-60 people. (some people sleep two to a room, but others leave a room open for guests or office or whatever.)

This proposal would house 10 times that amount. 1,000% more.

Now those 500 grad students will be able to not take up the existing triple deckers. At 3 per unit (4 is illegal), that's 9 per TD, or about 55.5 triple deckers freed. As opposed to your 5.

Forth of all Walsh has nothing to do with this proposal.

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Whooooooooosh.

My post was intended as satire, to mock the city wide complaint heard at pretty much any neighborhood association meeting that whatever is being proposed should be smaller and more family oriented and include parking.

Of course this should be built at density like the rest of Boylston.

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This sounds good on paper but

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This sounds good on paper but the economics and reality of the city have proven this isn’t really how it works. Hence the still increasing rents.Families were booted out of Fenway in the 1990s and were never supposed to come back.

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Families eat up resources

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Gamilies eatbup resources and their earning capacity is capped.

There is no burgeoning population of graduate students in the city. The number of grad student in any city no matter how educated is so insanely tiny no more than 3% that this is a total straw man this is about providing housing for people who have tremendous earning potential with in the next 5 to 10 years and will provide a lot in terms of tax revenue and retail spending to the city there is no burgeoning population of graduate students there is a large population of graduate students in Boston relative to other areas in the country where graduate students typically are less than 1% of the population it’s hilarious absolutely effing hilarious that they are really going to say There’s a large graduate strident population that needs housing when you’ve got thousand of homes less BPS STUDENTS but because those kids use resources and don’t add to the city’s reputation image etc they will be forgotten.m and subject to housing and food insecurity until they are pushed out of the city at 18.

The reality is that’s what Boston about in 2018.

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I learned a lot about Boston in this building :)

As a previous writer mentioned, I also think of the Baseball Tavern (which is a fun spot on its own) as the 1270 Club a mostly gay/lesbian but very open minded club back in the 80's and 90's (?). Roof top bar, Dance floor, piano bar on entrance level and game room downstairs, something for any mood you were in.

But around 15 to 20 years ago (when Machine was Ramrod) I was hired as the contractor to finish the "Adam Berke Gym" at 1252 to 1268 Boylston Street. Adam was a cigar chomping fitness guru who was the 'it' guy at the time. He had been the fitness instructor for Olivia, who was then married to Todd English, and who Olives in Charlestown was named after. Definitely part of the in crowd, Improper Bostonian and all of that.

We had a tight deadline because there was a grand opening party on a Sunday night, with Herb Chambers Mercedes unveiling a new car, some cheerleaders of some team or another, the press, and all the cool people were going to be there so we absolutely had to get an occupancy permit. We were working extra time and I was working with the building inspector who is assigned to that area and on Friday afternoon just before the building department closed the building inspector gave me, the licensed contractor on the job, a temporary certificate of occupancy as there were still some life safety issues and signage issues to get finished. I was extremely thankful and let the inspector know we would have everything done in the next two weeks. I had a plane to catch for a wedding , coming back Sunday evening after the big Grand Opening Party had already started.

I got into Logan and decided to swing by the party to see how the Upper Crust throws a soiree. Sitting at the bar enjoying a cocktail I see one of the building officials (who has long since left city government) who had a less than stellar reputation. I walked over to him and said hi and asked how did he manage to be at this party? He said to me "I am the one that gave them the Certificate of Occupancy." I was gobsmacked, since this guy had nothing to do with the building and hadn't even been inside it as far as I know. I told him that I was the contractor on the job and that I still wasn't done and hadn't even applied for the full Certificate of Occupancy. Not to mention that this wasn't his area of town and that the inspector assigned to the job had concerns about life safety. He took a swig of his drink, nodded his head back and gave me a half crooked smile and a shrug that said 'hey, that's how things work'.

It was one of my naive 'ohhh, that's how Boston works' moments.

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Adam Jerk Gym

was how it was referred to several people I know who dared visit the gym to ask about rates, programs, etc... From all reports, he was not a humble soul.

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I remember when there was a

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I remember when there was a bowling alley on the secon floor, owned I think by the same people that owned the alley under Fenway Park and the ill-fated Sammy Whites in Brighton.

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Lived on the Riverway

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across from what was then Sears/now the Landmark starting in 1980. Wasn't much into going out by myself and never went to the 1270 Club, but your description more or less matches my impression at the time.

I remember when the Adam Berke Gym opened. Totally pretentious and out of character for the neighborhood at the time (hey, might fit right in these days). It was a complete fiasco that didn't last very long.

--gpm

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Which is sad cuz it's not as

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Which is sad cuz it's not as inclusive as they make it out to be :(

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dbar

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Begs to differ.

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sigh

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i know, right? We have like 4 gay bars left total in the city.. but no real dance places any more. Club Cafe is really it (you can dance upstairs at the alley but. meh, its not a "club")

(the 4 bars being Club Cafe, The Alley, Cathedral Station, and dbar)

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Assimilation

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That's the price of "assimilation". Apparently some believe gay bars are no longer needed now that we are "just like everybody else". In my 1970s heyday you couldn't shake a stick without hitting a gay bar. Of course, in those days you had to know where to look. :-)

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I'd argue dbar is a

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I'd argue dbar is a restaurant first and a gay bar as a hobby. But there is also Trophy Room and "blend" that fit that category too. Also The Eagle is still kicking somehow.

Maybe machine could transfer their liquor license to a young entrepreneur looking to start something new for the community.

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Let's make this happen and no

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Let's make this happen and no chowdah head on the ZBA or Parks Commission is gonna stop us!! Shadow what shadow?

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People in the Fenway (and

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People in the Fenway (and Brighton and Allston for that matter) want students out of their neighborhood housing stock. So student housing is proposed. And then the same people oppose it as [fill in the blank: luxury, too dense, overdeveloped, not enough parking, etc.] housing. And around and around we go. There's no negotiating with unreasonable people and they should not be empowered by elected officials at all to stifle needed housing and growth.

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If the building is the right size...

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Look, residential buildings belong on Boylston. If this one is the right height and setback -- and it sure appears to be -- then build it. It's not right to exclude adults of a particular age range or profession from living somewhere. It's also not right to argue that they should be relegated to "those" neighborhoods.

Boston needs more housing. Boston needs more microhousing. Boston needs more housing close to shops and transit.

I was a grad student at BU for some time. I lived off campus with my (not yet) wife. We lived in apartments around the city, including Southie and Fenway. The only difference between me other 25 year olds is where we spent 40+ hours a week at an office job. My wife -- she worked in the private sector the whole time.

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the point is

that these institutions should be building housing for their own students on their own land. They gobbled upland constantly at a rate that actually puts the Fenway neighborhood at risk of not even surviving. I don't think anybody wants to see a city that's nothing but institutions. The institutions need to go up rather than outward, they need to use their own land to house their own communities, and that includes parking not just for their students but for their staffs.

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Boylston St

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I believe that the property from what was once Bradley Liquors down to before the Baseball Tavern is owned by Henry Vara the owner of Machine and at one time several other Boston bars. Vara has to be in his mid 80's and not in the best of health. I am surprised that he has held on the property this long. Vara also own Jacques in Bay Village.

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Oh yeah, gotta preserve that

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Oh yeah, gotta preserve that historical building with the Domino’s in it. Give me a break. This is a private development catering to graduate students, most of whom never live on campus anywhere. They are taking your neighborhood housing, this will move them out of it.

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