Studio apartments proposed for vacant lot in Dudley Square

124 Warren St. rendering

Architect's rendering.

Developer Michael McGough of Dorchester has filed plans with the BPDA to replace a vacant lot on Warren Street at Winthrop Street in Dudley Square with a five-story, 21-studio apartment building - with ground-floor space for a restaurant or shop.

In the BPDA filing, McGough and architect Derek Rubinoff say the $3-million building, which would go where a two-family home burned down in 2014, would be aimed at "entry-level workers including young professionals who will commute via public transportation and bicycle. The site’s convenience to amenities available by foot will empower residents to not be automobile-dependent."

So no parking spaces, save two set aside for car-sharing services and one for the use of a handicapped resident. They're so confident people without cars would rent the units that they're willing to make the building exempt from any resident-permit programs for Roxbury, and note the site's proximity to the Silver Line and numerous other bus lines, as well as its relative nearness to an Orange Line stop.

Four of the units would be rented at "affordable" rates.

The fifth floor would consist of a common room and a rooftop deck and garden.

The proposed building provides street-wall infill massing at an important corner and continues the flow of Victorian brick-faced apartment units that are common on Warren and Winthrop Street. The massing of the building is divided so as to feel more like a collection of three townhouses or small Victorian urban apartment buildings than one large one. The building will prominently address the corner of Winthrop and Warren with a large, transparent, vertical bay, as is customary for other apartment buildings on corner sites along Warren Street. At the top will be a modern, glassy recreation space for residents which will overlook the corner, providing incredible views of downtown. This will be capped, like many other Roxbury vertical bays, by a turret, providing a dramatic architectural gesture addressing the corner. Similar vertical bays will treat the corners along Winthrop Street and along Warren Street adjacent to the historic Warren family home at 130 Warren Street.

The proposal is the latest proof that Dudley Square is becoming a hot development area. In addition to a proposed skyscraper and other private proposals, the city plans to issue an RFP for city-owned lots in the neighborhood.

124-126 Warren St. small-project review application (5.5M PDF).

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

Ad:

Comments

I like this. That lot has sat

I like this. That lot has sat vacant far too long, the need for this kind of housing is strong and the design does fit in with the neighborhood. There are some nice views of downtown coming down the hill on Warren so the rooftop deck might actually have a nice skyline view. Very close to Dudley and several bus lines go right past that address.

up
Voting is closed. 55

Not zero parking?

By on

It looks like there are actually 5 parking spaces at the ground level, which is why there is that big blank wall on the left. That should really be more retail space. They could also expand the bike parking into that area somewhat.

up
Voting is closed. 31

Orange Line?

By on

"as well as its relative nearness to an Orange Line stop."

That's a stretch. It is between .75 and 1.2 miles (walking distance) to the three closest Orange Line stops. When I worked in Dudley (living in Roslindale) I pretty much always took the 14 or 42 bus so as to not have to hike from the OL.

up
Voting is closed. 24

Well...

... there USED to be an Orange Line station there.

up
Voting is closed. 34

A mile is a nice walk...

By on

or a quick bike ride. Of the 250 work days a year, that get the job for ~200 of 'em, anyway.

up
Voting is closed. 17

This is very much within

By on

This is very much within walking distance of the Orange Line. I live in Dudley and do the walk all the time - when I'm not on the bike and it makes sense to take the Orange rather than Silver Line.

I can walk from Dudley to Roxbury Crossing much faster than you can get there by the 14 or 42 - taking into consideration the time you have to wait for the bus, traffic, and other stops between the two intersections.

Americans don't walk. It's ridiculous. The only thing worse than being car-centric is being totally oblivious to how car-centric we are - even in cities where people supposedly walk - like Boston.

up
Voting is closed. 10

And the gentrification continues...

By on

This development is inappropriate for the space. Note that it replaces a two family house with 21 studio units, no set backs or outdoor space, no family housing with a level of density well beyond the current neighborhood. The other properties in the area are two and single family houses and are at most four stories. Only 16% of Roxbury's residents would be able to afford the prices for the "apartments," so it is clear that these are not being built for Roxbury residents. Given their proximity to Northeastern, this is nothing but a glorified dormitory.

up
Voting is closed. 28

It's actually replacing a

It's actually replacing a vacant lot that was left untouched since a fire destroyed the large house that was there several years ago.

Here's what it looks like today.

You'll note there are no setbacks on the row of condos just up the hill, nor at the condos on Winthrop. And while I'm not a "density at all costs" person, this is exactly the kind of development that would benefit this area. It sure beats the vacant eyesore that's there now.

up
Voting is closed. 50

124-126 Warren St.

By on

It was left untouched because it was part of a real estate scam. The lot had been owned by a non-profit housing group and should continue to be used for that purpose , not these tiny student units. The brownstone houses around the project, like most of the neighborhood are homeowner occupied or have a unit for the homeowner and a rental apartment.

It's only a vacant eye sore because the owner was busy working through this overly dense project with the BRA.

up
Voting is closed. 16

agree

By on

Multiple times i walked by this property in the summer and winter and the fence enclosure was down blocking the sidewalk for days until 311 was called. In the winter the snow was not removed until 311 was called. The vacant lot on 65 moreland st was purchased in March of 2016 by RoxDot, Sean Kelly Rand and Place Tailor. The fence is in disrepair black garbage bags are strewn about no TLC what so ever but yet they say they want to improve the blighted lot. Well clean it up, don't wait until you are ready to build. Maybe if the developers showed interest before they make their millions the community would be a little more receptive. shameful but true.

up
Voting is closed. 16

Benefits whom?

By on

Yes, it was a vacant lot but now we have a proposed building that will rent units that are generally not affordable to many.

up
Voting is closed. 14

It benefits the ~30 people

It benefits the ~30 people who will have a nice apartment to live in, the Tropical Foods store who will have more shoppers, Haley House who will have more customers at the cafe, the Dudley Sq Grill, etc. It'll benefit the neighboring homeowners whose property values are depressed because they live next to an abandoned lot, the families who can now rent a 3 bedroom someplace because the demand is eased up a little. And it'll benefit Roxbury residents like myself who walk past that eyesore every day.

How many people is that vacant lot benefitting now?

up
Voting is closed. 19

There is a context missing here

By on

The first point is that this plan is the result of a real estate scam and an arson fire that destroyed the previous two family building, allowing them to seek zoning variances that were not achievable until the previous building was destroyed. Second, right across the street from this building another very dense building is also proposed. These two buildings in combination, more than double the population of that area of neighborhood, and no infrastructure improvements are proposed. The height also contributes to the "canonization" of the area. Also this area has seen two other very large housing developments with commercial space on Washington Street with Bartlett Place with over a hundred new units and more in development. These buildings also fly in the face of the Roxbury Master Plan, and are opposed by the Roxbury Neighborhood Council and the two neighborhood associations.

While I'm all for housing development (preferably at affordable prices), it should carry the involvement of the existing neighborhood. Both the Moreland Street and Tommy's Rock neighborhoods are stable, black, historic communities with a high home ownership rate. These developments are projects that destroy the existing community to make way for new (white) transient residents. It is gentrification, pure and simple.

up
Voting is closed. 25

Standard NIMBY Checklist

By on

Well this is your standard NIMBY checklist right here. This building is no taller than others right in Dudley Sq already. You already have a major bus hub right there and are not far from the Orange Line. Accusing the developer of shady practices with no evidence presented. Saying you support development but just not 'this development.' On and on, same song and dance everywhere in the city. This stuff is wearing thin with people who actually want housing built.

up
Voting is closed. 31

Ownership

If there's such a high ownership rate, and I think you're right about that, how can this threaten the community? It replaces an empty lot, so no one is losing housing, and even if new development raises real estate prices (there's some evidence it can raise them within a short radius of the development, even though for the whole market it lowers prices), that should help the community. They own, so they can't be priced out, and those owners can make more in rent, or sell their property for a small fortune and retire.

up
Voting is closed. 18

family housing

By on

there is oodles and oodles of family housing units in boston. young people pile together into them and outbid actual families, driving up demand and pulling them off-market. I have a friend who's desperate to get out of her place in a three bedroom triple decker floor, because her roomates are insane, but there's just not enough availability of single/studio units in the city. build more studios and some of the three bedrooms will open back up to families. or build nothing, and let supply-and-demand continue to set housing policy.

up
Voting is closed. 33

Huh?

By on

Many of the residential properties nearby are four-story brownstones (i.e. immediately next door on Winthrop St., two doors down on Warren, the next block down on Winthrop). The property across Winthrop is a laundromat while you have the Boys & Girls Club and Roxbury Municipal Court across Warren. Apart from the single-family house next door, nothing else on the block has a set back.

As others have pointed out, Northeastern students are going to need some place to live, so in the absence of sufficient dorm rooms and projects like this with studios, they're going to pack into the family housing you say the neighborhood needs. A group of college students willing to put up with roommates will easily be able to outbid families looking for affordable housing.

Yup, gentrification is happening. That's a huge plus to long-time homeowners, some of whom were probably red-lined into Roxbury in the 1960s. It's a big problem for renters who will see rents rise -- but that will happen either way as housing supply in other neighborhoods is exhausted. At the very least, building new projects like this will help suck up some of the demand that would otherwise displace current residents in the existing housing stock.

up
Voting is closed. 24

Agreed.

By on

Agreed.

up
Voting is closed. 14

No, no, no!

By on

You're supposed to tear DOWN buildings that fit in with the existing neighborhood, not put them up fresh!

up
Voting is closed. 21

The Cornices Are A Nice Touch

By on

Just this simple feature and the hexed corners adds a Boston neighborhood touch to the design. Really more evocative of a triple decker than the mansard topped townhouses beside it. Why is this kind of thing so hard for the latest generation of box designers who call themselves architects? It doesn't seem that hard to show some level of design empathy to the immediate neighborhood. (And I don't buy the argument that any finish beyond box makes a project economically unviable.)

up
Voting is closed. 30

^ 1000x this!

By on

(n/t)

up
Voting is closed. 18

This looks like exactly the

By on

This looks like exactly the type of project that the NIMBYs always claim they really want if someone would just build it:
- Architecture that blends in
- A scale and size commensurate with existing buildings
- Replacing a vacant site, not displacing anyone
- Affordable-deeded units on site.

So, I look forward to new explanations from them on how projects like this now don't work and will destroy the neighborhood. NIMBYs gonna NIMBY.

up
Voting is closed. 33

It infuriates me when (white?

By on

It infuriates me when (white?) people accuse black communities of NIMBYism. It shows a profound ignorance of both the history and the current reality. NIMBYism is a privilege available only to middle and upper class white people. Black people have never had the right to protect or defend their communities. The history of Boston demonstrates that all too clearly, as black homes were razed and black communities were forcibly removed from Beacon Hill, the West End, the South End, the Southwest Corridor, etc. And itt is happening all over Roxbury - witness the battle in Fort Hill over the African Orthodox Church, or in Tommy's Rock with 125 Warren. This is an all out assault on Roxbury with the goal of returning it

Why not build this in West Roxbury - because they won't allow it, that's why! No one wants micro units in their communities because of the density and transient nature. Black communities have historically been forced to take the housing, businesses, and industries that no one else wanted. And this is just another example of that. This is housing being built in Roxbury with no regard for the neighborhood concerns, for current zoning, density, or infrastructure, to house people not from this community. It's not an example of NIMBYism, it's classic gentrification.

up
Voting is closed. 26

Gentrification is happening all over...

By on

And not just in black communities. Southie, Eastie, Charlestown, Allston, Roslindale, as well as black or mixed communities like Dorchester, Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain, the South End and now Roxbury. Even parts of Fenway/Kenmore were seedy a generation ago.

This isn't getting built in West Roxbury because the demand isn't there. You mentioned that Northeastern students are probably a target market for this sort of project and I agree most wholeheartedly -- but they're not going to want to live somewhere that requires a 20-minute bus ride and a 15-minute train ride to class. If West Roxbury had decent transit access then I think we'd see more dense development there -- but it doesn't.

I think you'll find that most of those who decry NIMBYism about this project also criticize the ridiculous NIMBYism in other neighborhoods. I'm trying to figure out exactly what's undesirable about this project. It seems in character with the surrounding buildings and the lack of parking implies it's not intended for residents with cars, so it shouldn't create a lot of additional traffic. And if anything I'd think the density should be a boon to nearby businesses, many minority-owned.

up
Voting is closed. 15

Calling BS On This

By on

If I had a dollar for every post I've read along the lines of - Can't afford to live in your old neighborhood anymore? Then you just move to some distant town you can afford . .

So now it's to the point of - Well, wealthy college kids aren't going to want a long commute from some far off locale like the long-time neighbors have been directed to move to. So rather than suggesting to the wealthy (yes, predominately white) students that they look at Avon and Lynn like is done to people who've lived their whole lives in the community, we've got to instead build new housing that will satisfy their desire for convenience in your well-located neighborhood.

up
Voting is closed. 10

Here's the thing:

By on

The community has been calling for investment in Roxbury for years. Guess what? When the neighborhood starts to become a more attractive place to live and not a ghetto created by racist housing policies, rents are going to rise because people who don't currently live in Roxbury recognize that it is desirable.

The African American homeowners who stuck it out through many bad years finally get rewarded for their investment in the community, but yes, long-time renters can be harmed when rents go up. Building more housing in Roxbury and the region should help alleviate the upward pressure on rents but really the only surefire way to keep rents from going up in Roxbury would be to make it a less appealing place to live like Detroit.

You're the only one suggesting that long-time residents should move to Avon or Lynn. I personally would prefer that enough housing gets built in Boston to meet the demand created by economic & population growth and so long-term residents don't get displaced.

up
Voting is closed. 22

This isn't getting built in West Roxbury...

By on

...because if the city proposed buildings like this there Marty Walsh would lose the next election.

You can't expect a community that has been constantly saddled with racist policies for DECADES to just roll over when suddenly their neighborhood can become profitable for outside developers. There's zero trust there.

up
Voting is closed. 17

West End?

Per the city website " In point of fact, it was a tightly knit community of Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants who cherished their neighborhood." You've got plenty of facts on your side without making any up.

Displacement is a big, complicated issue which needs to be considered but we simply can't/shouldn't draw a line around Roxbury and parts of Dorchester and deem them to be off limits for new residents unless they're the right color. To act as if this centrally located site near several bus routes, not far from the Silver and Orange Lines is the same as some remote part of Mattapan is to ignore the universal appeal to people of all class/race of living closer to the center of city where they might work or go to school.

up
Voting is closed. 21

There are numerous projects

By on

There are numerous projects going up in West Roxbury. Check the BPDA's website and you will see that. There are absolutely NIMBYs there fighting that just like you are fighting it here in Roxbury. I'd say a pox on both houses (pun intended). Stop fighting new housing and making excuses.

up
Voting is closed. 15

There's a lot to like

By on

The building scales with the neighborhood, both on Winthrop and Warren.

Nice to put the top floor set back, so they get a bit more built environment with little visual impact.

Architectural features are interesting.

Yes Virginia, 21 studio apartments is part of helping to reduce rents on family housing because, as mentioned, it helps get the 3-6 kids living together in family apartments into their own places, freeing up units for families.

I don't love the Winthrop St ground-level wall. It needs windows or something else that's inviting, not imposing.

I wonder how many bicycle parking spots are included, and if they're thoughtful about it [e.g. comply with the Cambridge zoning law for bike parking] or just crammed in poorly.

I wonder if this might be a nice place for a crosswalk all the way across Warren, perhaps with a ped actuated light.

Know who else is in the market for studio apartments? Seniors who are single. Low cost, low cleaning requirements. And guess what -- some of 'em don't drive!

up
Voting is closed. 20

There are 26 bike parking

By on

There are 26 bike parking spaces proposed in a rather small bike parking room. I think there should be more than that.

up
Voting is closed. 19

wording

By on

It appears that these are micro units being dubbed as studios, there are 8 variances for this development. There is no guarantee that these units will not turn into an AIR BNB, like so may properties in Roxbury today. Seeing tourist dragging their luggage behind them from Dudley Station up Warren St with a petrified look on their faces is now common place. The neighborhood associations need to demand that if this is approved 50% of the units go to Black and Biracial Americans that live within 5 blocks of Dudley Square and the same occupies the retail space. In the actual document the developer reiterates how he wants the units to be there for the members of the community. At the meeting I attended where this project was proposed the developer referred to this project as a "vanilla box". The majority of the group at that point got up and walked out, I was in attendance.

As a resident of Roxbury, I am somewhat insulted when a developer refers to property in my neighborhood as blighted and derelict. That will not draw a positive response from a community.

up
Voting is closed. 20

Vanilla Box

By on

A common real estate expression. But oof! , what a faux pas for pitching a development to a Roxbury community meeting.

up
Voting is closed. 16

Ever heard of the Fair Housing Act?

By on

To "demand that if this is approved 50% of the units go to Black and Biracial Americans that live within 5 blocks of Dudley Square" would be a clear violation of the Fair Housing Act. "Black and Biracial Americans" aren't the only minorities who experience housing discrimination.

If the concern is short-term rentals, it would be simple enough to require the developer to agree to not permit short-term (i.e. under 3 months) subletting.

And the lot as it currently stands IS blighted and derelict. It has been vacant for four years since the structure on the lot burned, is surrounded by oh-so-lovely cyclone fencing, and is overgrown with weeds.

up
Voting is closed. 26

This is awesome for able

By on

This is awesome for able-bodied cyclists who are young, single and don't have children to take care of. They're just starting out as adults so don't have a lot of material possessions or a car which is a great match for a studio with no parking.

up
Voting is closed. 16

Also

A great for older adults who are losing mobility, because small units are easier to clean, there's no need to climb stairs, even the front stoop anymore, and buses and other amenities are very close.

up
Voting is closed. 26

This is great!

By on

Build it! Build it! Build it! Boston needs decent workforce housing for workers young and old. This is not gentrification. This is doing something to manage housing needs in this neighborhood and city. We should be building mixed use buildings with housing on every single vacant lot in the Roxbury/Dudley/Highland Park areas while enforcing legislation on airbnb type rentals.

Sprawling lots with single home dwellings have no place in a vibrant urban neighborhood and if Dudley Square ever wants to be that again, it's going to have to CHANGE and that means more housing that attracts more working people with some disposable income to attract and support and sustain small business. Right now there is not enough disposable income in the areas around Dudley and there is nothing in the square (besides drugs) to make anyone from outside want to visit it.

There are reasons why Union Square and Davis Square and Centre St, JP and Rozzie Sq (I'll never call it "village") are vibrant business districts and part of that formula is density. Another part is desirability and you can fight as hard as you want to keep Dudley down (it's really not a very nice district whether you want to own that or not) but it will rise.

up
Voting is closed. 14

124-126 Warren Ave

By on

The Developer for this project is what every neighborhood could hope for at best. I have watched Mike McGough both professionally and personally invest in every project and community he becomes involved with. He genuinely cares about the city of Boston, quality over the quantity of the units, and acts in the best interest of how his project will imapact a neighborhood. An overall win for Dudley Square!!!

up
Voting is closed. 12

This developer has a strong

By on

This developer has a strong track record of working with the community and developing quality projects. He was first featured in the Globe years ago for being such a responsible developer in and around Dorchester.
He’s owned and built properties all over Boston for years and a very strong connection to the neighborhoods and is a second generation property owner around Dorchester and South Boston, I know from personal experience that are decades of former tenants and buyers who have stayed close with him for years after they’ve rented and purchased and I can personally confirm his generosity to local causes and comittment to working with neighbors.
He and this project will be a positive addition to the area.

up
Voting is closed. 12

I live on the other side of

By on

I live on the other side of town but whether for school, work or recreation I have driven through the area all my life early on in the 70's, 80's and 90's with my mom and family and for a long time as an adult. I think the building looks like a good fit to the surrounding brownstones that have always caught my attention as being grand and solid. As far as studios go, in my neighborhood we don't have enough studios to keep couples and older singles my age who grew up in the city and want to stay here and are too old to be living with roommates to afford to stay. We have triple-deckers once built for families but now are filled with roommates upon roommates any many should have a revolving door they change so fast. Dining rooms and living rooms are now a thing of the past in the city and are converted to bedrooms. I here from my neighbors all the time "if you hear of any 1 bedrooms so I can stay around hear let me know". Isn't this a positive option, I think it is a very smart idea. From what I've read here Mr. McGough lives and is invested in the neighborhood of Dorchester and sounds like its not his first rodeo with development. I think its the large development corporations building monstrosities we might be concerned with not this one, local guy investing, earning and spending his money in the neighborhood with the chance of "real" current resident workers not fake resident quota workers on paper. Just my thought...

up
Voting is closed. 13