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Building with 65 affordable apartments approved in Jackson Square

1595-1599 Columbus Avenue rendering

Archictect's rendering.

The Zoning Board of Appeal today approved a proposal by Urban Edge Housing Corp. for a six-story apartment building in which all the units would be rented as affordable, at 1599 Columbus Ave., just south of Centre Street.

The building, which would have 21 parking spaces, would replace two commercial buildings, one vacant, and a parking lot. The proposal calls for 4,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.

Urban Edge says it hopes to begin construction in about a year, after it finishes obtaining financing.

The BPDA approved the project last monht.

1595-1599 Columbus Ave. documents.



There’s not enough parking spaces.

Knock down the building you live in and make some.

Cars need more space than people!


That is right where the highway interchange was supposed to be. There is a lot of construction and redevelopment in that immediate vicinity. I hope the T is going to add capacity to its service on the Orange line considering all of the new units that are being built between Jackson Sq and Forest Hills.

Of course they aren't. Let them ride bikes.


but go off.

4000 sq. ft of non-residential space on the first floor seems like a lot of space that's wasted. This isn't a retail district and is only a short walk from Egleston. Still, good stuff to see.


An additional 4,000 sf of retail space is exactly what the area needs. There are two new buildings coming up along Centre Street across from the Jackson Square station (25 Amory and 125 Centre), a 2 1/2 acre private parcel ripe for development, this 65-unit proposal, a 140,000 sf office building that was built on spec and almost finished, two BHA proposals being both rehabbed and redeveloped to add hundreds of mixed-market and new affordable housing (Mildred C Hailey and 125 Amory). This project is exactly what this area needs to continue the revitalization it deserves. We need to dream big and plan ahead. Try not to be so short-sighted.


It's a block away from Jackson Square.


There's already retail across the street from this place and down in the new building at Jackson.

Look around - retail spaces are not in high demand and housing is. So perhaps they could have put in more housing?

Are your bedroom and living room at street level a foot or two tops from the sidewalk?

They are building 65 apartments where there are none now. They are also putting in retail in an area where everything on the ground flood is retail (including the public housing across the street.) This is a common thing. Why the hate? (okay, that's 2 questions.)


Literally on the other side of Columbus from this location is an apartment complex with ground level living. Seems fine? I just think that there's way more need for housing than retail there.


There's a convenience store across the street, a drug store and various other food stores up in Egleston and then a large retail space in 225 Centre, no? Never mind the S+S which is maybe a 10 minute walk.

Those are retail spots.

Again, why are you so alarmed that on a block with retail in an area with retail, they are putting retail in? It is fitting in with the area.

Also, Egleston Square is not the closest square. It’s Jackson Square. This is in Jackson Square.

When I look this up on Google Maps and look across the street, I see the Academy Homes development which has maybe two retail businesses - the market and the hair salon and plenty of street level apartments. On the side of the street the development is going into, there's a muffler shop, random churches (always great retail health indicators, etc...) and of course empty buildings where this is going to go in. Once you get up the 1800 block, there's some brick apartment buildings with first floor apartments - it's not some crazy concept.

If people think this area will support more retail, great. I am all for that. I am not alarmed about anything other than the huge home affordability crisis the city has (not a retail space crisis.) I will ask again though, does 229 Centre have a retail tenant? Continuing up Columbus towards Egleston there are some industrial buildings and then a homeless children center. It's not exactly Centre St in Hyde Square.

These ground floor retail spaces sit empty for years and then a bunch of failing businesses occupy them off and on because ,Amazon.

t was a cool cutsie idea when the development wave started across the country but that was 2011.TImes have changed.The Best used of that retail space would be a daycare-or maybe a metro pcs/boost mobile..half the time.

Apartments might be more helpful

uses for retail space that aren't actually retail

daycare, as you mentioned, or adult daycare for disabled/elderly
quickfood service (dunks, likely, small local counter type place, better)
gym / fitness studio
small medical, dental/optometrist
quick grocery that isn't convenience store
coworking or makerspace
secondhand shop
library pop up, with internet access and other services libraries provide
consumer goods repairs (either small electronics, maybe appliances)
actual retail that has a strong social component - yarn stores with classes, for example
insurance/tax prep/"professional services" office
as much as it kills me, banks

there's still a place for retail space - the problem is after the hype of 2011 all the landlords got really greedy and are demanding rents out of tune with reality. they price existing successful tenants out of space and then keep it empty, writing off the loss against the rest of their portfolio, until a bank or other corporate business moves in to be open 4 hours a day m-f

I missed that at either end of Academy Homes, set back from the street and behind landscaping, there is ground level apartments.

Still, there is retail along the strip, and with more housing going in (see the corner of Columbus and Dimock) there will be more demand for retail. Overall, it is not uncommon for retail to go in at ground level. In Roslindale, look at the new apartments by the library and Vinny Marino's apartments by Healy Field. Even the new apartments going up next door to Dominos by Archdale will have retail on the ground level. If you are going to dismiss this area as being away from retail, my last example is in the countryside.

The new cars are to replace older cars that are well past their expected lifetime. That is not the same as expanding capacity.

They're going from 114 old cars to 152 new cars. Well, eventually.


Each car can hold more people, so its also expanding capacity that way as well.

by the new cars breaking down less (more throughput) and by having the capacity to utilize new signaling systems (also more throughout).

Baker and Co have cut T operations and maintenance to the bone.

This development is right on the Southwest Corridor, which is a great and safe way to bike into downtown. And being able to catch the Orange Line (which is adding new cars) or grab a bus in bad weather is the icing on the cake.


Biking is a GREAT option--at least for those that are young, fit, and bold enough. Please don't expect this to be a viable option for my mother in a typical Jan-March. As density increases, rational citizens should expect more frequent and more reliable mass transit options.

No one was saying otherwise - and again, there are new Orange Line cars coming. And the more everyone who can bike does, the better commuting gets for everyone who can't, regardless of their transportation method.

(Also, you don't need to be that young, fit, or bold to ride a bike along a protected bike path - which is part of why they're so great. I know several elderly women who bike year-round - with good tires and good clothing, it's often safer than walking on the crappily cleared sidewalks).

I'm in my mid-50s and I bike.

You don't have to be young, and you get fit from biking.

Many options here to work up to it, too - bike to T, etc.

Me too. Congrats to both of us. I'm saying that painting a stripe in the gutter of a street does not reduce the need for adding public transportation commensurate with added density.

They are adding bus only lanes to this area.

I hope not! Traffic is awful there as it is.

adding bus-only lanes is a great way to improve it. See here

Of course they aren't. Let them ride bikes.

This is also a spot where one could easily ride a bike downtown and other places considering it's right on the SW Corridor.

As in the city has to sell assets to raise money and apply new taxes so that the lucky lottery winners can live somewhere nicer and/or cheaper? How about we just rezone the city so that developers can acquire land at a reasonable cost and build to demand? Sure construction costs are slightly higher here than in other parts of the country - but the big driver for costs and obstacles for developers is land cost.

Wow, type slower so I can keep up.

Urban Edge already owns this land. Are you mad that they don't want to pay out of pocket to build a development? Pretty much all projects are subject to obtaining financing...

BTW Urban Edge is an interesting private/public thing where they get funding from places like regional banks, not from the City of Boston actually.



When the mayor gave his state of the City?

He is proposing selling the Lafayette garage and pushing for a new tax on properties over $2 million (I think residential and commercial) to pay for new "affordable" housing. This is often how these projects get partially funded. If we just opened up zoning, we would have "affordable" housing.

And if you think that tax is fine, you should talk to Gov. Cuomo in NY. He's tired of everyone saying "tax the rich" because guess what? NY and other high tax states are losing their wealthy residents to places like FL, TX and NV because they can save so much on both income and estate taxes.

If it's "private public" - but they get their money from banks - that's private private. If it's private/public - the money is coming from some public entity or it's not private public. Not sure this project will tap those funds - but this is exactly the kind of project they have in mind for crap like this (according to this group - you get deductions and credits for these donations - those are not free - they are direct losses to government revenue)

Gary, did I type slow enough. Keep up.

I was replying to your post bemoaning the cost of land acquisition as a big factor in housing costs. In this case, Urban Edge is the owner of the land so that is not the issue.

We do need to open up housing but that's only part of the solution. We also need non-profit actors (like Urban Edge) to help increase affordable housing stock along with the developers who do the kinds of projects that are springing up around the Parkway.

When they bought it in 2016?

Not likely. Plus, since they don't have to make a profit or pay taxes (and they ended up with the land), so they probably outbid several private developers. And thus my point, groups like this drive costs up and limit supply - exacerbating the mismatch of supply and demand, so we all pay more. This is not a "free" program. Companies get tax breaks and tax credits for giving them money meaning government has less to spend on things that we really need like roads and bridges, not discounted housing for middle class people that could afford it if we just changed our outdated zoning rules.


Getting tiresome!

Next up: Stevil whines that he needs to pay a living wage to house cleaners because they can't afford to live near the city, nor can they afford to commute into it.

You'd keel over if you knew what we pay our house cleaner. And she lives in the city. With two kids. One in college.

has the first floor commercial at the other corner of centre near jackson filled? feel like they've had a bunch of tenants with no success. tough area.

Will there be a spot for a new and improved Ribs on Wheels?