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Dilapidated old factory building on Braintree Street in Allston could be replaced by seven stories of small apartments

A developer says it will soon file plans with the BPDA for a seven-story building filled with 147 "compact" apartments aimed at people who make a bit more than the area median income but hardly enough more to be considered rich.

The Mount Vernon Co., - now based in a Soldiers Field Road building that itself could be torn down soon - alerted the BPDA last week about its proposal for 35-43 Braintree St.

The location is near the intersection of Harvard Avenue and Cambridge Street, where another developer, City Realty, is planning several new apartment and condo buildings, and is near the New Balance complex and the Boston Landing commuter-rail stop, which has become the center of a series of development projects by a variety of developers.

Mount Vernon's proposal relies on the city's compact living pilot, in which developers can cram more, smaller units into a building, ideally with reduced rents that more people could afford.

The pilot requires buildings to be near existing transit stops - and to alert tenants they will not be able to get neighborhood parking permits - and to provide shared space for tenants to use. In its letter of intent, Mount Vernon points to the Boston Landing station and says it will provide "on-site amenity space" for residents. More details will come once it files its formal project-notification plan.

35-43 Braintree St. letter of intent.

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Comments

... rent control back. People are forced into smaller and smaller living spaces and yet have no control when the landlords decide to jack the rents up.
Hard to take in roommates to help with the rent if you’ve only got 250sq feet.

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Voting closed 14

The market is broken in areas parents are paying students' rents *effectively* as a part of tuition. Total rent control might be too far, but I'd at least apply it to parts of Allston and Mission Hill in order to prevent landlords there from pressuring the market in ways they wouldn't be able to if the occupants were personally paying their rents.

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Voting closed 8

How will rent control help people wanting to live closer to the city and/or loose their current apartments for reasons apart from rent increases?

Trick question. It would solve one type housing problem and create several others.

Zoning reform is the solution. Rent control is not.

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Voting closed 32

One more reason why Boston needs...
By Lee on Sun, 01/19/2020 - 1:41pm.
... rent control back. People are forced into smaller and smaller living spaces and yet have no control when the landlords decide to jack the rents up.
Hard to take in roommates to help with the rent if you’ve only got 250sq feet.

This is a purely voluntary transaction -- this developer is planning to construct a bunch of compact, no-parking space apartments -- you are free to rent one or not as you chose.

Applying some sort of ad hoc formula, or even formal Marxist-Theory-based rent control formula will not create any new apartments. Indeed the developer of these compact, small-footprint apartments will be less likely to go to the effort to develop such residences -- opting instead for whatever is permitted to be free from rent control. If you control all the rents -- all you will do is curtail any housing production except for single family houses in the upscale suburbs. Precisely, the opposite outcome from what you purport to desire.

No -- on the contrary to answer to more affordability is reduction is government waste, fraud [permitting lower taxes] and reduced regulations as well as crony-capitalism. What is needed is a "playing field" where developers can try ideas such as these "compact, small footprint" residences, and other novel concepts, with the government keeping its "hands-off" and letting the market determine their viability.

If as dedicated Government of by and for the Bureaucrats-types you feel compelled to meddle -- then perhaps you could incentivize development of lower cost housing by relaxing some of the zoning rules, etc.

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Voting closed 8

While this plan for compact units without parking should fill an underserved niche market, there are ideological pom pom flailers for unbridled capitalism who may wish to take a more pragmatic and democratic approach to the housing crisis when dogma does not serve.

A statewide prohibition of rent control has been on the books since November 1994 when the real estate industry outspent housing advocates seven to one in a referendum campaign that it won by 51 to 49 percent, thus eliminating rent control in the three cities—Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge, All three communities voted to keep rent control in place by significant majorities.

Aged, long-term residents losing their homes because short-term occupancy by students with wealthy parents is profitable for real estate interests does not benefit the community.

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Voting closed 1

People always claim that "all these new apartments are luxury" but this looks like a win for the regular-income-having person looking for a moderately-priced place to live.

The fact that it's transit oriented is also a bonus.

(I'm sure they'll have a sign out front saying it's "luxury" but you know that's a free and meaningless label -- a restaurant doesn't advertise "pretty OK food" either.)

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Voting closed 13

That group of buildings actually started as one of the Boston Elevated Railway's first bus garages, built on the site of an old streetcar carhouse in 1923 and expanded in 1925. It was closed as a bus garage by the MTA in 1962 and sold to a trucking company.

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Voting closed 11

1. "cram"? That's a loaded word. Developers "cram" micro units with exactly the same gusto that they cram 2400 sq ft apartments... they squeeze as many as they can into the building envelope by minimizing lower value space like hallways.

2. I'm not a fan of the "live here and you don't get an on-street permit" two-class system. It's really bogus, about as "OK Boomer" as it gets. The existing residents got theirs, to hell with the less-than-equal newcomers.

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Voting closed 9

Clearly we need public policies to prioritize the street parking needs of existing residents with driveways over newcomers living in multi-unit apartment buildings.

After all, over the decades, existing residents have gotten used to the free use of a shared public resource. So it's only fair to prevent any random yahoo from moving into the neighborhood and making it harder for respectable citizens to park.

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Voting closed 1

Boston is ultimately heading the way of Hong Kong, because the kleptocracy will never adequately resolve the transportation issues.

The buildup article hints at the future use of the building as a platform for a billboard:
The property features a 17,797 square foot single-story building constructed in 1930. Sitting on a .5-acre parcel, the building has immediate frontage to the 150,000 cars traveling on the Mass Pike (I-90) daily.

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Voting closed 4

Boston is ultimately heading the way of Hong Kong

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Voting closed 7