Residential units proposed for light-industrial area near Arborway bus yard

50 Stedman St. rendering

Architect's rendering

A South Boston developer is betting people will want to live in what could be a "gateway project" to transform Stedman Street in Jamaica Plain from a collection of truck yards and cinderblock buildings into a new residential area.

In a filing with the BPDA, Helm Investments is proposing to tear down one of those cinderblock buildings to erect a 21-unit residential building, where at least some of the units will have a good view of the activity in the MBTA's permanently temporary bus yard.

The proposed project will result in revitalizing the appeal and vibrancy of the Stedman Street streetscape through converting of an existing one story structure, previously used as an industrial facility with an empty lot area, in a residential area. The new building designed in a Boston vernacular, complementary to the surrounding neighborhood and structures. The project will include a partial, underground level housing 21 parking spaces with supporting facilities. In addition a new sidewalk along the frontage of the property providing safe public pedestrian access on Stedman Street to Brookley Road. We will provide pedestrian crossing striping at the Stedman Street and Brookley Road intersection.

In particular, the project will remove non-descriptive, underused structure presented by the existing conditions and use of the property, to an aesthetically pleasing residential facility complementing the immediate neighborhood.

Of the 21 units, 15 will have two bedrooms, the rest one bedroom each. Four of the units will be marketed as affordable.

The filing adds:

Within walking distance to the site, there are residential apartments, professional office space, restaurants, commercial banks, shopping area and neighborhood retail businesses.

Also noted: The easy walk residents will have to the Orange Line, buses and commuter rail at the nearby Forest Hills station.

50 Stedman St. small-project review application (6.8M PDF).



Free tagging: 



Paint bucket tool

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Looks like the architect was playing around with the paint bucket tool on MS Paint. White, red, brown, green


thumbs up

Always happy to see land so close to the city being put to better use. If there's a downside, my orange line commute isn't ever going to get less crowded.


Look around

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You on your phone too much to notice the childish colors in our autumn leaves?

Unless I read the maps wrong

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The area around it, aside from the triple decker, will still be industrial?

As always, I worry about the pushing out of industrial uses, but otherwise the proposal seems sound, down to roughly 20% of the units being affordable.

The MBTA needs to live up to

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The MBTA needs to live up to their word and move the bus yard. It should have been gone years ago. The land is valuable now(as evidenced by all the development in this part of town). They could sell the land for a pretty penny and use the funds to transit improvements. Parking lots are a huge waste of space and the bus yard is largely empty anyway.



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It already is and has been valuable land - valuable to operating the T.

...MBTA needs to live up to their word ...

...leaving aside the other word that they never lived up to (cough, Green Line E, Heath/Arborway, cough cough) where that space would be a light-rail yard...

"...sell the land for a pretty penny and use the funds to transit improvements."

Like paying for land someplace else to replace the storage & service space (for existing transit) you'd dispose of?

For transit improvements like...?

...buses? Buses that would need a yard somewhere?

...buses that if you move their storage further away from their operating routes mean more wear & tear just getting between storage and their routes?

...buses that if you move their storage further away from their operating routes mean not-in-service runs clogging up streets?

...buses that if you move their storage further away from their operating routes you increase fuel costs? increase pollution? ...they become less cost-effective because you have a limiting reagent of how much time the operators can spend driving in each shift, so part of their pay will be going just to getting between storage & routes, or better yet having to drive back & forth to get layover/break time, so that each driver will be doing less actual route-driving and therefore will need to pay more drivers just to maintain current amount of service?

Can we PLEASE stop trotting out this bizarre notion that city-building is somehow all housing and it's good to get rid of industry & convert industrial property, implying that white-collar jobs and some schools/hospitals/shopping are enough?
Don't want the nuts & bolts (and related issues) or don't see the need for them? Let's ship it out of town to someplace else! Industrial business - send them to other towns! Homeless people and/or drug addicts - send them to an island! Ban delivery trucks! Vacate and redevelop Widett Circle!

It's the kind of mindset that results in garbage barges and your city being the butt of jokes.

Not everybody is white-collar. Some are blue collar, and need places to live and work, too. The city-building mindset I talk about says there's no place for those people.
Besides being an exclusionist mindset, it's short-sighted and ignorant. People complain about things like delivery trucks and "under-utilized" Widett Circle, but still expect their ivory tower city to have home delivery and good restaurants and public transportation.
...and all that better transit people give lip-service too? That's infrastructure, fools!!! No unicorns! No thestrals! It's built, maintained, and operated by those same blue-collar people. Amazing, isn't it?

Here's a marginally more useful idea. Take the yard, figure out what can be done between city & state to permit some sort of combined use - deck over bus yard & build houses on top, build housing & a multi-level bus facility side-by-side.... Do something that makes some sort of improvement without creating new problems.


Where Does The Bus Yard Go?

That land has been used as a critical part of the area's transportation infrastructure since the 1880's.

Where are the buses supposed to go? Abington? Wareham? Rhode Island?

The buses, which are needed to funnel riders to the train lines and to other places, have to go somewhere. Preferably close to their ridership. The Arborway yard serves JP, HP, Roxbury, Brookline, West Roxbury, Dedham, and Newton.

I'm open to answers from you. It seems like you want to take this use and make it someone's else's problem.

Remember, the bus yard (nee trolley yard) was there when this area was still kind of rural.

Complaining about the bus yard is the JP equivalent of moving to East Boston and saying the planes are too loud.


People can just drive

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Right, Kinopio.

I mean, if we’re about getting rid of the buses that serve southern Boston, that would be the other option.

Well ...

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After the Arborway line disappeared, the T said the newly expanded bus yard was temporary. They even came up with a plan to shrink it and use much of the land for housing. Then they announced it would cost $200 million or so and that was that.

There are options

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Adam already mentioned the plot off of American Legion. Alternatively, why not incorporate a more efficiently designed lot in to an otherwise residential building. Why not, for example, have a lot inside the building on the first and second floors, hidden by the facade (with room for retail fronting Washington), then residential or offices above that?

Ultimately, it depends on the value of the land measured against the cost of doing something else. Maybe we aren't at the point yet where it is more cost effective to find that something else, but I bet we will be before too long. Hopefully the 'T is thinking about this on some strategic level.

Ah, a bus yard on American Legion Parkway

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I’m sure the politicians who want to keep the area green would love a huge bus yard going in there.

I am totally in favor of a redesign of the current lot. Heck, why not sell the whole parcel to a developer with the stipulation that a facility be built to handle the buses. It could even be totally enclosed.

where would it go?

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Has there been any discussion as to where the bus yard could be relocated to? They need a facility and it needs to be fairly central to the various routes, so Forest Hills is an ideal location (from the MBTA's logistics standpoint). I'm not being snarky, just curious as to what location would be feasible. There's always a tradeoff.

we need

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to come up with a rating system for these drawings. this one is cleary a 1.5/10, which is massively better than the nearest competitor. those actually look like houses, and that's a start.

slight edit

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"In particular, the project will remove non-descriptive, underused structure presented by the existing conditions and use of the property, to an aesthetically retarded residential facility of non-descriptive #crapitechture."

you're welcome.

Between Keep it 100 JP and

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Between Keep it 100 JP and then the usual JP NIMBYs, this should be a fun one to watch. Given its proximity to Forest Hills, this isn't dense enough a project as is. Godspeed.