Decaying warehouse and garage to be replaced by condos in East Boston's Jeffries Point

Architect's rendering of 287 Maverick St.

Architect's rendering.

The Board of Appeals yesterday approved plans for a five-story, 38-unit condo building at 287-293 Maverick St. that will include ground-floor space for a cafe or restaurant.

Developer Joseph Donovan's plans won approval of the BPDA board last week.

The proposal calls for 30 parking spaces and storage space for 38 bicycles.

Five of the units will be marketed as affordable.

Nobody spoke in opposition at the board's hearing.

Small-project review application (45M PDF).

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honest question

Is there a particular reason that this blocky design is so widespread, even though everyone seems to hate it?

Is it beloved by architecture critics and nobody else, a modern analogue to brutalism? Is it just cheaper to build for some reason?

Or is it just that the majority of UHub commenters hate it and everyone else thinks it's fine? I honestly don't know.

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Basic economics of design and build

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Here's the bottom line: you put up a frame, you attach panels, you put panels inside the unit, you have homes.

There is nothing wrong with it. It can be painted later if the inhabitants so choose.

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Has nothing to do with economics

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it's all about greed. If it was about economics these developers would be creating parking lots or garages which is cheaper dollars per square foot than housing. Then you can sell them for many more dollars per square foot than it was to create them.

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Look at the buildings in the area

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What do you see?

These are going into mixed residential/commercial areas. They look like rehabbed warehouses, and match the rehabbed warehouses in their areas.

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Not so much

in this case. 95% of the surrounding buildings are 3 family homes. I live so close to this that I may have to move, because this will not be a fun project to live through.

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38 units will mean 38 condo

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38 units will mean 38 condo owners will have to put their garbage onto the curb once a week that is a lot of barrels and recycling containors.

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Really?

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I thought if a residential building has more than 6 units it has to arrange for contract trash pickup?

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This building will have

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This building will have commercial space and it will be a caffe. More garbage that will be accumulated, building will need a large dumpster or maybe two large dumpsters to carry the load, and where ever there are large dumpsters filled with all sorts of household items from food etc, there will be large rodents scurrying around the neighborhood, it’ll be like having a hotel right in the neighborhood.

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Page 30

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Take a look at Page 30 of the linked Project Notification. Quite clearly there is a trash room. Is it sized properly? Probably not, but quit crying like the developers don't think of it.

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The large amounts of trash

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The large amounts of trash alone should raise eyebrows on top of the carbon emissions from the 30 plus cars coming and going from the garage in the building, the exhaust fumes will be pouring out from the vents and the air quality in that immediate neighborhood will be harmful to residents!! These proposed large condo buildings that have more than 10 or 20 units surrounded by 2 or 3 family homes that are occupied by homeowners in this densely populated neighborhood can be a health risk..

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Mind you, these 30 plus condo

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Mind you, these 30 plus condo buildings should only be allowed along the outskirts of Eastie away from the inner part of the Neighborhood, what happens if a condo owner decides to have a party at night and invites 10 people, well the 10 people will eat up parking spaces while a nearby resident coming home from work is driving around searching for a parking spot, these are the concerns nearby residents should be addressing, I believe it’s too late now, the Jeffries point neighborhood association is ok’ing every project.

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Shakey Assumptons

1. that paying property taxes on one's condo property doesn't count as meriting parking for one's events
2. that current residents never throw parties
3. that people would necessarily drive to said party
4 That any given resident has any special right to that parking or owns it because they don't live in a newer building

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It's a building

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99.9% of buildings are blocks. What exactly are you looking for, a spherical building?

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thanks, that's helpful

I think you know what my question meant. If you look at the neighboring structures in the rendering, you can see the difference. This is a very frequent topic of conversation on this website.

But I guess this is what I get for asking an earnest question and expecting something other than pissy weirdness in response.

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economics

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I think I piss and moan the most about these buildings on this website and in fairness I think the whole thing boils down to money. No one wants to make an ugly building but then again no one wants to pay for a good looking building unless you're going to get some really big spenders to make it worth your while. And this is Eastie not Back Bay, so you're at the bleeding edge of gentrification. The market could tank tomorrow and if you build for deep pockets and things go tits up, you're screwed. Accountants call the shots, architects create the cheapest thing they can come up with that doesn't totally embarrass them professionally and everyone's happy.

Except me goddamnit!!

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Development and Zoning

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Don't forget the city has abandoned all zoning. All new development is done on a one off basis at the zoning board of appeals, just like this project. It means higher, denser, fewer set backs and less parking which all add up to more money for the developer, the building trades, and the political campaign committee for the Mayor. The existing residents of the neighborhoods are no where in the equation.

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there is a reason

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There is a reason the city has largely abandoned zoning, and that is because it is extremely out of date. It was written largely in the 60's with some provisions going to back to the 20's.

That is a problem because Boston was pretty different back then, experiencing serious population loss as opposed to today where we are seeing extreme population gains.

1950 - 801,444
1960 - 697,197
1970 - 641,071
1980 - 562,994

http://www.iboston.org/mcp.php?pid=popFig

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Population numbers

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I agree with your general point -- our zoning is outdated and population is increasing. But in looking at the trends I'd say we have been experiencing a slow build up in population growth but the magnitude is still nothing like the drops we experienced after the War.
1950 - 801,444
1960 - 697,197 (-13.01%)
1970 - 641,071 (-8.05%)
1980 - 562,994 (-12.18%)
1990 - 572,479 (1.68%)
2000 - 590,433 (3.14%)
2010 - 620,701 (5.13%)
2016 - 673,184 (8.46%)

The trend is dictating that we'd best get off our asses and get some zoning in place that reflects what we want our neighborhoods to look like in the future or we'll be experiencing a sort of imploding sprawl.

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I asked...

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What exactly are you looking for? Are you looking for brick rowhouses? That's not going to happen again and I think you're smart enough to know why. All glass towers? What exactly is your complaint? That it's a box? It's going to be in the space that was formerly a garage, it's not on Newbury St. or Comm Ave.

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I am not complaining

Read the original post again, and remind yourself that not everything online has to be an angry argument. The title "honest question" was a clue. I personally don't have strong opinions about architecture.

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Reasonable question

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I think it's a solid question. Right now this is what the economics of construction support in Boston: maximize the building on the site, lay out the first floor parking first then stick the residential on top. Throw some bays on that hang over the sidewalk to get more room in the building and cover it with an assortment of materials to "break down" the mass.

In a hundred years people will be going on submarine tours of that awesome early 21st century style

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Yes and No

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Throw some bays on that hang over the sidewalk to get more room in the building and cover it with an assortment of materials to "break down" the mass.

You're right, it's the economies of construction, building code requirements, maximizing square footage to make the loans worth it (sometimes the banks actually have a say, depending upon loan terms).

But, you can't hang over the sidewalk without getting a variance. so the bays you see are often shown in the drawings to be at or just shy of the property line. And the change in materials are used to create visual interest and yes, break down the mass.

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bc it is the most economical

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bc it is the most economical way to build dense housing allowed by the current code - steel podium to park at grade with 4 levels of wood boxes on top of it

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So

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The developer should build a new building that looks like 50+ year old triple deckers? You still haven't answered, even after editing your post. What do you want to see?

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Blame the BRA or whatever it's called this week

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Basically it's the City of Boston's fault for allowing these uglies. Back in the early 80's my neighbor wax to,d by the City that the windows he proposed to install did not match those in his non-historic district section of the City.

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crap

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it's crap. it's cheap. but it sells and makes a larger profit for the developer. and at the end of the day isn't that what this is all about?

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What do you want to see?

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Honest question - what would you like to see instead? What would your not ugly building look like? How would it be different?

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It's not as cheap

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It's not as cheap as you think. Construction is pretty expensive these days.

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Suckers

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unless you are a tradesman, you have no idea what you are getting roped in to buying. As a property management employee, I can tell you a brand new luxury condo should not leak or have doors that do not latch. Spread the luxury to Eastie now.

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Curious, How much did the

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Curious, How much did the developers pay for the entire 8000 sq ft lot , I believe vacant land in East Boston is extremely expensive ,large or small parcels. Look at 90 Cottage Street , East Boston, developers there are in the process of building a luxury 7 unit condo complex and the units are for sale now (pre sale) .

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It's All About The Interiors

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I know two or three scumbag developers, and all they care about is the 'finishes' inside the units, and the amenities. What exotic wood the floor is made out of, what stone you've never heard of the counters are made of, and what European appliances are in. There's no cutting corners with the bling.

Nobody cares about the outside of the building. Because that's not what people are paying for. The people with a $800K pre-approval aren't going to be spending their time on the sidewalk out front or across the street looking back at it. They're going to be inside with their wine refrigerators and jacuzzi tubs. And they're the audience of the developers, not you or the neighbors.

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warehouse to condo

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Here in Baltimore, the same thing happens. Alpha dog developers feel a need to lift their leg, to mark their spot. Never mind the neighborhood they are accosting. With a Scaramucci like swagger, penchant for bling and tacky, they hire narrow visioned designers who pump out cheap imitations of 1940s -50s architecture, but instead of the quality materials, they use crap. In the Baltimore- DC region we have also seen the fast rising of apts and condo's being built on brown sites, overlooking a trash dump or junk yard. The residents must be living like rats in their white interiors dominated by dry wall on metal studs. With all their techno gadgets and close to retail they care nothing for the surroundings.
Sadly the organic growth of older neighborhoods are wrecked with these ersatz fifties eyesores, which do not blend with their neighbors.
Needless to say the fast talking developer will grease the right palms, in city hall, and enjoy his McMansion, in the gated community, knowing he does not have to look at the egg he just laid.

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Location