Condo building proposed for Washington Street in Oak Square

Architect's rendering of 544 Washington St. in Brighton

Architect's rendering

Encore Properties of Newton, which owns several buildings on Washington Street at Langley Road, has filed plans to replace them with a five-story, 37-unit condo building that would include ground-floor retail space.

In a filing with the BPDA, Encore says it would provide 37 parking spaces for the building's residents.

Encore, which has owned the land since 2011, says it has figured out the challenge of putting up a building on land that starts on the largely commercial strip of Washington Street and slopes upward to the two- and three-family homes of Langley Road:

The project appropriately concentrates height and density along Washington street and incorporates smaller scale, duplex townhome style units along Langley Road. This innovative approach to massing is made possible by constructing below-grade parking which connects the different structures and provides a building platform that addresses the significant grade change along Langley Road. The project’s townhome component along Langley Road echoes the scale of the adjacent single-family homes, while porch-like entry terraces reinforce neighborhood architectural cues and allow accessible entrances to these units. Importantly, the project locates the mass of its fivestory portion beyond the rear property line of any Langley Road abutter. The impact of the building is further relieved by a significant planted green space, creating a courtyard for outside activity and a buffer between the differing scales of the structure within the development. ...

The footprint of the fifth-floor units is 50% smaller than the floors below, and these units are recessed significantly back from the Langley side so that they are not visible from the street level. This design feature also makes it possible to provide both private and common outdoor roof deck spaces for the residents.

The proposed view from Langley Road:

Langley Road view of proposed building

Access to parking will be on Washington Street only, the company says.

Encore had originally proposed to build apartments, but switched to condos after residents said those would encourage the arrival of people with a vested interest in the neighborhood and would serve as a bulwark against growing student encroachment in Oak Square. The company also reduced the number of units from 47 to 37.

Encore hopes to break ground next spring and anticipates construction would take 18 months.

544 Washington St. small-project review application (31M PDF).

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Comments

Lots to love here

By on

Seems like they got lots of things right. Increased height and density while minimizing the imposition. First floor retail. Recognizing the differences between Washington and Langley. I even like the style of the duplexes -- not old school, but not the same lame we typically see with new condos.

I'd like fewer parking spaces, some (more?) publicly accessible car share, and generous bike/scooter/micromobility parking. I think they could have gone one more floor up, but I can see how that might have felt too tall for the hood. I wish the duplex window projections included 45 degree window bays rather than the 90 degree angle.

Also, Langley is a two way road. Why are they showing someone parked on the wrong side of the street? I checked Google satellite, and it seems to be a neighborhood tradition to park cars facing either way on either side of the street, so maybe they did it to represent neighborhood "culture."

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Voting is closed. 9

Nice Infill

It's scaled to the neighborhood (see: the apartment building on the opposite corner of Langley and Washington St.), intensifies a lot with a large surface parking lot, and replaces a building with a considerable setback from the curb. Too bad it will have 10 fewer homes and that anti-renter rhetoric still has currency.

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Voting is closed. 23

I appreciate the anti renter

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I appreciate the anti renter rhetoric. Rents are already high enough and i would say most people who rent would prefer to own and have stability from the ever increasing rents and invest more in the community. Hopefully some of these will be priced with middle and low income folks in mind.

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Voting is closed. 9

you call that scaled?

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you call that scaled?
That is over powering all other buildings!
look at that little tiny house on the street behind it
and the triple decker right next to it
if you lopped off the top it might be considered in scale with the building across the street

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Voting is closed. 7

no to over-development

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Whoever thinks this development is a good idea has never tried to park a car on Langley Road during a winter storm. Langley is a small, crowded street where parking is very difficult. The alleged drawing of how the development would look from Langley Road is "fake news." Reality is that some developer will make his money and run, leaving our neighborhood with a completely impossible parking situation. Do not insult our intelligence saying that one parking space per unit will solve things. Let this guy go build a five-story development on the street in Newton where he lives!

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Voting is closed. 12

Eyesore

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This architecture is horrible. A finger to the neighborhood.

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Voting is closed. 5

Terrace to preserve the view

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Maybe the developer could terrace the units to match the slope of Langley Road. Langley has a beautiful view of Washington St heading towards Brighton Center. It was one of my favorite sights during dog walks through the neighborhood. I think the structure, even as rendered, blocks the view completely.

Each unit downhill of the first will dwarf the homes on Langley. It's easy to see by comparing the structure to the ugly brick apartment complex further downhill, which already dwarves the bottom two homes.

I like the idea of the walk out decking on the Langley facing side. Langley has a strong neighborhood culture, and I think this is encouraged by the walk outs. But it won't look anything like the rendering... Langley isn't flat, it is very steep. Without terracing the units to match the slope, the idea won't work at all.

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Voting is closed. 3