A Cambridge company has filed plans to replace a small parking lot at 72 Burbank St. in the Fenway with a six-story building housing 36 "Compact Living residential rental units," none more than 673 square feet in size.
Forest Properties Management, which owns the adjoining 91 Westland Ave. building the parking lot now serves, says the small size of the units - ranging from about 358 square feet for a studio to 673 square feet for a two-bedroom apartment - are aimed at meeting new "design quality standards for compact living units" now being developed by the city's Housing Innovation Lab.
The compay says the smaller sizes means it can rent all but five of the units to people making between $85,000 and $120,000 a year. The other five units will be set aside for rental as "affordable," because $85,000 is above the area median income for a single person.
New constructed apartments in downtown Boston with this level of affordability are virtually non-existent.
Forest says it will prevent claustrophobia in the small units through steps such as replacing traditionally bulky kitchen appliances with "slimmer, smaller ones." But, the company says, many urbanites want to trade apartment space for the chance to live in a big city they otherwise might not be able to afford - such as graduate students, young professionals and empty nesters:
Many people are more interested in utilizing their resources to enjoy the urban lifestyle experience than consuming large quantities of living space they do not necessarily need.
The building would have no parking spaces. The company says this will help shrink the city's carbon footprint - along with eliminating the parking lot now used for 91 Westland Ave. and energy-efficient building practices and appliances. Forest notes the building is near several Green and Orange Line stations and bus routes and cites the Ruggles commuter-rail and bus station and says the Back Bay and the South End are within walking distance.
In addition to the BPDA, the project will need approval of the zoning board.
72 Burbank St. small-project review application (24M PDF).