City Realty, which is already working to remake the intersection of Harvard Avenue and Cambridge Street, today filed plans for a 17-story, 254-unit building with small apartments on Ashford Street at Malvern Street.
The company's proposed $104-million building would replace a one-story warehouse.
It would tower over the Gardner/Ashford/Pratt area of houses that in the before times were tightly packed with BU students on one side and BU on the other.
The building would overlook the now abandoned CSX rail yard where Harvard one day hopes to build a new mxed-use development that would include a new transit station. City Realty has pledged to set aside much of the site for access to the proposed West Station, including enough land for two bus lanes, dedicated bicycle paths and sidewalks.
CIty Realty has proposed construction under the city's "compact living" pilot program, which lets it offer units smaller and provide far less parking than what would normally be required by city zoning - and provide far, on the theory this will mean reduced rents. In exchange, the developer has to provide "amenity space" in the building, which in this case would involve a series of open spaces for residents to congregate, get to know each other and work from a space other than their apartments, City Realty says. The company adds that because of the pandemic, it has come up with a design for more, but smaller spaces to reduce potential crowding in any one spot.
The developers are proposing a wide variety of unit sizes and styles for the building, which will help to accommodate Allston/Brighton’s diverse and growing population. The units will be comprised of a mixture of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units. Additionally, various common amenity spaces and semi-private amenity spaces are being proposed, which will allow future residents opportunities to both gather and connect with neighbors and friends and have a space to work remotely or study in within the building, but outside of their individual units.
The concierge-staffed building would have 63 parking spaces. City Realty says that in addition to the proposed West Station, the building is within walking distance of the Green Line and several bus lines, along with all the amenities that Harvard and Commonwealth avenues have to offer.
The company added it rejected a glass-tower design, in part as an homage to the surrounding neighborhood, in part to avoid blinding nearby motorists and pedestrians at certain times of the day:
Regarding context and building aesthetics, we believe this design captures the spirit of contemporary design but also respects the materials and craftmanship rooted in the neighborhood. The antithesis of a ‘glassy tower,’ we are proposing a modern building clad in masonry for the majority of surfaces. This is not only an aesthetic consideration, but a sustainable one as well. Reducing the glazing on the east and west sides of the building reduces energy loads and helps control glare for pedestrians and drivers.
City Realty hopes to break ground in the spring of 2022.
76 Ashford St. documents, meeting and comment information.
The view from Malvern Street: