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Six-story apartment building proposed for Roslindale would have easy walk to supermarket and Chinese buffet

Architect's rendering of 375 Cummins Highway

Rendering by Embarc Studio, with birds.

City Realty of Brookline has filed plans with the BPDA for a 49-unit apartment building between Cummins and American Legion highways, next to the Stop & Shop and just a short walk from the Flaming Grill & Buffet at the other end of the strip mall.

The developer is proposing six affordable units and 61 parking spaces, with an entrance on Cummins Highway.

City Realty says the building is near several bus lines with ready access to T stops in Roslindale, Hyde Park and Mattapan - as well as near "the up and coming Roslindale Village, which will offer many neighborhood shops, restaurants and amenities to service the new residents of the development."

The vision of the Project is to revitalize the neighborhood by replacing the existing vacant lot with a residential building that will add new housing units to the increasingly popular Hyde Park and Roslindale communities.

The company hopes to begin construction of the $11.8 million building this summer, with occupancy by fall, 2021.

375 Cummins Highway small-project review application (14.4M PDF).

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Comments

I guess. Pretty far walk through.

It is near what is, I think, Roslindale's only parking garage- that random two floor structure between Cummins and the end of American Legion. I assume that's for the apt. building across ALH?

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Voting closed 11

The fire station to the post office is less than a mile. What are we considering far these days?

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Voting closed 16

I don't think a mile is 'near' the square. It is certainly part of Roslindale.

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Voting closed 18

Me and everyone I know have considered that plaza Hyde park forever.

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Voting closed 17

But climb Cummins Highway from American Legion to Brown Ave and tell me how easy it is, and mind you that only gets you halfway there.

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Voting closed 20

I would love to live there! I take the 32 bus all the time from Forest Hills to that strip mall by walking up ALH from Hyde Park Ave. How do I apply to live there?

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Voting closed 20

You probably would need a pretty high income.

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Voting closed 8

Honestly-for that portion of the city more affordable units are needed. There's gonna be a pretty soft market for market rate units in that location IMO. Affordable would make much more sense there.

I don't oppose the building but they need to partner with come community development/non-profit orgs and seek state/city funds to ~triple the number of affordable units. There's not enough in Roslindale Village that people will want to do that walk.

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Voting closed 30

You don’t know the community well then. There’s a major lack of housing supply in Roslindale right now including market rate. Look at the current listings or lack thereof. People want to live here and are engaging in crazy bidding wars because there’s so little available.

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Voting closed 23

There is a major lack of affordable housing. Six units out of forty-nine does not contribute much in that regard.

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Voting closed 12

How many affordable units are proposed? 6

How many affordable units are currently on the site? 0

Since 6-0=6, that means the project is contributing 6 affordable units more than are there currently.

As a bonus, guess how many affordable units will be built on the site if they don’t go forward with the project? Hint- it would be the same number that were built in the development That was proposed on Rowe Street back in 2005.

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Voting closed 8

Not for the developer, but for the region? A soft market means that they'll have to bring prices down a skosh. That helps spread price points for new, market rate units lower. That provides more financial and geographic choices for folks looking for market rate. Regionally, that's a good thing.

And if it's 49 units, something like a half-dozen will be affordable due to inclusionary zoning. So yeah, you're getting more affordables, too!

And yes, the refrain: 61 parking spaces is too many for 49 units.

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Voting closed 20

If they can't fill the building, they'll drop the prices. There's nothing wrong with more market rate housing that actually /follows the market/.

That said, the city needs to seriously look at a vacancy tax so developers can't sit and write off empty buildings.

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Voting closed 23

The filing provides some information that might help to figure out how much the units will cost.

The developer says the estimated cost is $11.8 million. It's not explained what that covers (building plus "soft costs", and/ or including the cost to purchase the land), but if you do a back-of-the-napkin calculation, with 49 units that comes out to ~$240,000 each. That's very "cheap" compared to other projects that are going up downtown, where it costs an estimated $400,000 to build one unit of housing (and, where One Congress is priced out at $675,000 per unit, according to the developer!).

I don't see anything about whether this is rental or for-sale units, but if for sale, you might see lower prices than what you'd find in other neighborhoods, because it cost less to build, but more because that's what the market would support down there.

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Voting closed 12

What happens when the market rate is low enough that it itself is also affordable?

Build enough housing in inexpensive neighborhoods and that just might happen.

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Voting closed 8

Um . . . Take a look at real estate ads and tell me again that Rozzie is still "inexpensive." Developers put up buildings to make money, not to provide housing for middle-income or low-income people. Just look at what has happened in Roxbury and Dorchester, and how many of the working people from those neighborhoods have had to go as far as Brockton to find housing that they can afford.

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Voting closed 8

with the ghosts in front of the building and on the balconies. Not sure about the ghost riding the bicycle through the shrubbery, though, narrowly avoiding a collision with the two other ghosts walking their bicycles along the sidewalk...

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The identical formations for the two flocks of birds are also a nice touch!

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Voting closed 12

Ha ha ha!

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Voting closed 6

for the balconies

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Voting closed 9

We need more housing. That’s 49 more households that won’t have to drive in from Framingham of Weymouth.

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Voting closed 20

The mayor announced last night at an Orient heights East Boston meeting that he will be cracking down on small scale development’s, developers can no longer replace a single family dwelling for a multiple unit building,if the abutters agree on the project then they can go ahead if the abutters disagree then it’s a whole other story.

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Voting closed 14

So basically you got yours and FU to everyone else who needs a home. Good to know.

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Voting closed 19

I sold my house in that neighborhood because of what’s going to happen eventually with the power substation behind oak lawn. The site work was a nightmare when all of our houses were covered in a inch of dirt because they continued excavation without dust control.

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Because I've been having difficulty keeping up with development in this general area, but isn't this the housing proposal that has been hashed out ad infinitum between the neighborhood and the developer. I'm assuming that this is the final product, and I wish them the best with it.

That said, saying that this is near Roslindale Square is a bit of a stretch. Kind of like when realtors note that houses in Hyde Park are "minutes away from the highway." I mean, an hour is 60 minutes.

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Voting closed 19

There's real estate across the street that people are just dying to get into.

[I'll show myself out...]

Also, the driveway should go onto ALH, not Cummins Hwy as the S+S plaza light is right there.

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Voting closed 21

But yeah, the driveway should not be on Cummins Highway.

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I always cringe when real estate listings say a place is "steps" from somewhere else.

First off, they they don't say how many steps. And just like a scoop of raisins, a step is not a standard unit of measure.

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It is exactly a 1 mile walk on Cummins from this lot to Adams park. A normal human can complete that in under 30 minutes.

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Voting closed 14

Roslindale "Village" is close to the Forest Hills T stop. One mile from Cummins Highway to the doors to the station. And that is a relatively flat route, which is a contrast from the mighty hill that separates Adams Park from the fire station. Would you say that the Square is close to the Orange Line?

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Voting closed 20

It's walkable.

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Trust me, people only do it when they have to.

Of course, Mattapan Square is also walkable. And Cleary Square. And if you are fit enough, Franklin Park is a pleasant walk away, too. And since I’ve run by there on the way downtown via Neponset, we can say it’s near downtown, too.

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Voting closed 13

I get it, Boston's car town. But it's walkable. You don't have to be an athlete to walk a mile and plenty of people can and will do it, if the bus schedule doesn't work, if they don't have a car or a bike, if the trip actually connects their destinations.

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Voting closed 11

And not just the Square. Go to Forest Hills, hop on the 32, get off at Cummins Highway, then take said road to the Square. Then do the trip in reverse.

I’m in decent shape, but I can say that the route in question is tough. And as I have noted before, I walk to/from Forest Hills all the time from the Square, yet no one ever claims Roslindale Square is “near” the Orange Line.

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Yes.

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Voting closed 11

The reason their test drills found sand and boulders is because this is the entrance and edge of the former Barry's Quarry, also known as Barry's Ledge. The boulders they encountered may not be natural.

Up through the mid-1960s, the section of American Legion Highway (ALH) from the fire station to Hyde Park Ave did not exist, nor did the Stop & Shop Plaza. When the former quarry land was obtained in the mid-1960s, much of the quarry pit was filled with stone and gravel to create the flat surface on which the plaza now sits. None of those stores have a basement. The incline up ALH from the fire station to the plaza level is lined with some very neatly placed retaining wall boulders. These were installed during the construction of the roadway to shore-up the land above. It is this land on which the apartment complex is proposed to be built. I hiked all of this as a child and watched all of this being built. The proposal needs to look at the construction history of the roadway.

As with any structure built on ledge rock, I'd be concerned that there was mitigation for radon gas which is known to exude from some ledge rock areas. Radon is a known carcinogen and requires testing and ventilation.

The garage is for the apartments at the fire station. They charge extra for parking there per my understanding.

Wilmot Street is known to flood and while there was some drainage mitigation they may need to look at how changes in the land might precipitate changes in drainage.

The statement that there are buses is questionable. The #30 does have a stop right there, no question on that but the schedule is limited. Also worth noting that the #30 is also a "snow route" bus meaning when the weather is bad and snow makes Cummins slippery, the bus route is annulled until the roads are cleared.

However the stop for the #14 is back at the shopping plaza and close to the Walgreen's end of things. The next-nearest stop is on ALH by the Home for Little Wanderers. The #14 is also not a frequent service and is also annulled during snow concerns on Cummins. While the MBTA has a planned route around the hill, it is almost never used. They wait for the road to be plowed and salted and deemed safe.

While the walk to Hyde Park Ave is not that bad, the #32 bus is already packed in the mornings by the time it gets to Cummins often bypassing people. Suggestions that this is convenient to public transit is just a plain stretch of the description. Ask anyone that boards a bus there. Sure we can advocate for more bus service there but this problem has existed for at least a decade or more. No fix all of that time. What is the expectation that a new nearby apartment complex will see change? No faith there.

Summary. Good luck. And no, I'd not want to live there. I know to much about the geology. There's been plenty of opportunity to build there since the late 1960s. Why now? Did earlier developers know something?

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Voting closed 41

The thing is that it should not be packed at that point, if only Hyde Park station on the CR were made Zone 1A. CR provides a much faster trip into Boston than 32/OL at any time of day. Yes, CR is not frequent and won't be in the future due to congestion and Amtrak wanting even more slots for NEC services, but the wait time is somewhat cancelled out by the substantial time savings.

Same thing could apply to Readville, but there's a valid concern about drawing suburbanites and causing traffic/dangerous streets there.

Then again, the ignorant folks running the MBTA don't know better. During the most recent fare hikes, the FMCB discussed re-zoning Roslindale Village to 1A, and it was promptly shot down by (a) apparently the number of riders who stand to gain is minimal, and (b) apparently people who ride CR are higher-income than people ride buses. This is terribly flawed reasoning: of course richer people ride the CR, since poor people can't afford (or don't want to stretch their budget out too much) the >2x price of a Zone 1 CR pass. If Roslindale Village can't get 1A with the 11 bus routes running down Washington St from FH, then 1A for HP will never happen. Now, the progressive thinkers at the MBTA and the City want BRT down HP Ave - it's a good idea in theory, but there won't be enforcement and the cycle of poor people spending more time on transit will be perpetuated. (If only there was a solution! Oh, wait, there is...)

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Voting closed 19

Agreed that the Commuter Rail is too expensive. But moving more stops into zone 1A is a band-aid.

The real solution is to lower fares across the board. It shouldn't cost multiple dollars per mile to ride across the 1A-1 boundary.

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Not just the HP station but Readville as well. I live around the corner from Readville and I ride the #32 because Readville is too expensive. All City of Boston stations need to be zone 1A

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Why does the city line matter?

What about places like Lynn?

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Voting closed 13

Housing prices have never been higher in Boston, that's why now.

I'm not dismissing your concerns but bottom line, we need more housing. Perhaps we won't have more buses in 2 years or even 5 but maybe in 10 years and this apartment should last 100+ years so it should be built and soon.

The Back Bay was built on fill over 100 years ago and it's not only fine, it's enormously valuable real estate. I'm sure using modern construction techniques, a building can be built on sandy fill w/o any real issues.

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Voting closed 23

I agree with your broader point, but using modern construction techniques a building can also start to fall apart the day it opens. There's very little chance the stick box in the rendering would stay upright for 100 years.

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Voting closed 13

DMK, thank you for contributing your knowledge and common sense to this discussion.

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Voting closed 11

Forty-nine units and only six are affordable? This is why Roslindale is no longer accessible to working families. This kind of development is driving up prices for both sales and rentals and shutting out middle-income people. I am not thrilled that the "value" of my house is double what it was when I bought it eleven years ago because both the taxes and the insurance have gone way up. People who want to live here long-term don't need high-priced development and inflated property values. We need stability in our neighborhood. High prices are only good for investors, such as absentee landlords, developers, and house flippers, most of whom have no interest or concern for the community.

I agree that we need more housing in Roslindale, but it needs to be affordable for middle- and low-income people. Many years ago, before I had the means to become a homeowner, I lived for five years in High Point Village (now called something pretentious like "Stony Brook Commons"), back when it was federally subsidized. My family was able to afford to live there, even thought we were struggling financially. If we don't want our neighborhood to turn into an elite enclave, we need to have a variety of housing options, so that people of all income levels can live here. We like to brag that Roslindale is diverse, but at this rate it won't be that way for long.

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Voting closed 7