South Boston developer wants to add more units to building he has yet to start putting up

Architect's rendering

Architect's moody rendering.

Developer Joe Hassell, who won BPDA and zoning-board approval in 2016 for a 32-unit, five-story building at 55 West 5 St. is now asking the city for permission to put up a 50-unit, six-story building instead.

Hassell is seeking to take advantage of new zoning along the Dorchester Avenue corridor that lets developers build taller buildings than they could otherwise in exchange for adding units aimed at the "middle class," or people making up to 120% of the area median income. That is currently about $120,000 a year for a family of four. In a letter to the BPDA, Hassell's lawyer writes that in exchange for tearing up its earlier approval, Hassell would designate two of the units for such residents.

The number of "affordable" units for people making up to about 80% of the area median income would increase from the four approved in 2016 to seven - but that is because the expanded building would still have to to meet the city's requirement that 13% of all units be "affordable." The rest of the units would be rented or sold at market rates.

Hassell had originall planned to call the building SOBO Place, but dropped that propose monicker early on.

55 West 5 Street notice of project change (17M PDF).

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Comments

Oh

SOuth BOston.

Or were you going for the SoB joke? :)

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Voting is closed. 37

SOBO?

Are you kidding me or what? Is there some junior intern at some real estate conglomerate in this town chained to a basement and forced to come up with
these stupid acronyms?

This is not NYC and will never be. You want to live in SoHo, then move there.

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Voting is closed. 43

SoBo, SoWa, EaBo, FiDi

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Etc have all been tried to have been pushed by realestate brokers and yuppie transplants for years/decades now, its not something new.

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Voting is closed. 34

Artist Lofts

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I've never known an artist who lived in a loft. But I've known plenty who were in live/work spaces that became 'artist lofts' after they got kicked out. No actual artist referred to their spaces in old industrial buildings as a lofts. That terminology was always recognized as just a gimmick for real estate marketers to lure in yuppies looking for a place with 'edge' and willing to pay 10 times more per square foot for the experience than the artists.

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Voting is closed. 47

With our luck

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They'll change the name to "Southies Place".

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Voting is closed. 36

Better design

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They should approve this ASAP given how ugly the previously proposed building was.

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Voting is closed. 41

Money in the Bag

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How much are the SoBo politicians putting in their pockets to let this one go by? How much is the Zoning Board pocketing? What bagman, excuse me, “strategy/solutions company” is the developer using to grease the skids? Thanks to the BRA, the Zoning code has been rewritten to benefit developers and screw the neighborhoods.

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Voting is closed. 47

It hasn't been approved just yet

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They only submitted the notification last week.

But the new zoning along Dot. Ave. in South Boston was designed for just this sort of thing - taller buildings in exchange for slightly fewer market-rate units. Whether the BPDA and the zoning board will let him just do this or require him to start the whole review process from scratch (and at 50 units, he'd need to file far more detailed plans and be subject to review by a citizen group appointed by the BPDA), I don't know (which probably shows my ignorance of the new Dot. Ave. density stuff).

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Voting is closed. 32

The idea that they'd force a

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The idea that they'd force a completely new review of the project when it would be by right with the new zoning is the kind of delay and lawlessness that led to our current housing crisis. How about we let people build rapidly without needless delays and cut into our housing supply problem?

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Voting is closed. 45

I was wrong to raise the question

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For some reason, I thought 50 units was the threshold for the BPDA's more extensive requirements for large projects. In fact, it's 50,000 square feet, and this project is about 46,000 square feet, so it's still a "small" project as defined by the BPDA. My apologies for screwing that up.

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Voting is closed. 29

How high is that?

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Assuming the little guy in the drawing is six feet tall, that building appears to be 55’ to 60’ feet tall. Even with the corrupt BRA and ZBA and their new height limits, it’s still too high. Is he looking for a variance on top of the automatic variance that the corrupt boys at the BRA already gave him?

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Voting is closed. 39

The proposed new building is

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The proposed new building is 60' high. The new zoning, which was the product of a two year process with heights recommended by the neighborhood association, allows for 70' on this stretch of B Street. No variances required where the building is LESS THAN the allowed height. Do your homework Carmella before spouting off conspiracy theories.

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Voting is closed. 56

Hey, Jimmy

Can you tell the assembled throng here what you do for a living?

Just wondering.

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Voting is closed. 33

How high are you?

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The guy is really 2 ft tall, I swear. They use little people in the drawings to be inclusive.

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Voting is closed. 28

AdamG -- do your homework

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AdamG -- do your homework before spouting off nonsense. The SOBO name was dropped shortly after the original filing. This stretch of B Street has undergone near substantial redevelopment. But yeah, auto body shops and vacant parcels strewn with litter were much better than new homes for people to live in... you're right.

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Voting is closed. 47

Thanks, I obviously didn't know that

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I apologize for not knowing everything and will fix the original post. From now on, I will leave knowing everything to you, since you seem to know it all.

As for whether this is a better use of the property than an auto-body shop, again, I will bow to your clearly superior knowledge, even if it has blinded you to the fact that I was not taking a position one way or another on the project itself (which would be kind of stupid, given that I live nowhere near the site), just the name.

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Voting is closed. 53

Can we retire "yuppie"?

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Or use it properly?

YUPPIES were the people who moved into the Back Bay and Fenway in the 1970s and then whined about how the 100 year old college housing devalued their condo property.

I think the youngest one is like 70 years old - no longer young - and they are now the ones whining about younger people trying to do the same.

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Voting is closed. 40

Young Urban Professionals?

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Practically every kid who sits in a cubicle at some tech company refers to themselves a 'professional'. So it hardly seems like a perjorative term anymore. Unless it's now considered demeaning to suggest that a 27 year old is young.

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Location