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Developer proposes West Roxbury apartment buildings that could draw in commuters from across the Boston area

A Brookline landlord will soon file formal plans to replace the former Uno headquarters on the road to Millennium Park in West Roxbury with two five-story residential buildings, in a formerly quiet commercial area rapidly turning into an apartment zone.

In a letter of intent sent to the BPDA yesterday, a lawyer for Brookline landlord Anwar Faisal says the new 121-unit apartment complex on Charles Park Road would prove "inviting [to] commuters who work all over Greater Boston to take up residence in West Roxbury."

The buildings would have 85 parking spaces in an underground garage as well as storage space for 121 bicycles.

There is a 36 bus stop across the street. The letter of intent claims the site is "less than a twenty-minute walk" to the Needham Line stop on Lagrange Street, which obviously "makes it an ideal location for commuters working in the downtown Boston area," at least for those who enjoy a hearty walk and the challenge of crossing the busy VFW Parkway.

The buildings would be outfitted for today's " modern urban residents," including "semi-private amenity spaces" where they could get out of their apartments but still work or study remotely, as well as more traditional open spaces ideal for getting to know one's neighbors.

The proposed buildings would sit next to a complex, now under construction, of a 70-unit apartment building and 18 townhouses, which in turn is next to an occupied 80-unit apartment building that sits where the IHOP used to be, next to the Home Depot, where the drive-in movie used to be. All sit between VFW Parkway and the land where the Boston city dump used to be until it was closed, capped and turned into Millennium Park and the now closed West Roxbury High School.

100 Charles Park Rd. filings and calendar.

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Comments

Add a Needham line stop out there on the west side of the VFW. Would be tremendous for the huge amount of people who use those fields and clog up the VFW with traffic. Eventually BPS will do something with that hulk of a building too and this would help with that too. If we can have two stops within a 5 minute walk of each other in WR, we can add one here. (In theory, I appreciate that this is a complex ask.)

As for the bikes... the park is a great place to learn how to ride a bike but boy does the VFW need protected bike lanes to connect back to the rest of the city.

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Convert the Needham Line to the Orange Line, add a station at VFW Parkway, and then build, I don't know, 5,000 units of housing in that area.

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Converting Needham to Orange will also allow stations to be added at Archdale Rd/South St and at Walworth St, greatly reducing the demand for bus on Washington St between Forest Hills and Roslindale while also freeing up 35/36/37 buses for the 34/34E (including new service to Legacy Place).

Logistically, it might make sense to build the station on the VA Hospital side of VFW Parkway, with a long ramp providing access to Baker St and a pedestrian walkway across VFW (adjacent to the tracks). This will allow several things on the Millennium Park side: a mini-yard for overnight OL trainset storage, a pick-up/drop-off area, a fun-/medium-sized busway, and/or a terminal station for a light rail shuttle connecting to Needham.

But with RL/BL connector being 10 years out, it's highly unlikely that this get built anytime before 2050...

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Mostly wetlands and graveyards over there, this is about it for development I think.

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With all the new residential development around that area, it would make SO much sense to create a new stop on the Needham Line, abutting the Home Depot parking lot. Despite the developers claims, right now that area is pretty much of a transit dessert.

EDIT: Obviously Parkwayne and I think alike and he hit enter before I did.

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How ironic, considering this plan would be shot down if attempted in Brookline

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Known as one of Boston's notorious "slumlords."

While I am in favor of new housing just about anywhere in the city, I would be very wary of this developer.

A quick Google search will provide plenty of results. EDIT: One of which Adam has linked to right above...

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Reject it. Clean up these developers. No permits for slumlords (lookin’ at you, Doug George!).

And before anyone comes in with the “but who will build all the housing” (the same people who threaten to leave if the white kids don’t get automatic admission to Latin), 1. It’s worth a shot, and 2. That’s an empty threat. Boston development is still a great investment, these knuckledraggers can do better.

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The proposed buildings would sit next to a complex, now under construction, of a 70-unit apartment building and 18 townhouses, which in turn is next to an occupied 80-unit apartment building that sits where the IHOP used to be, next to the Home Depot, where the drive-in movie used to be. All sit between VFW Parkway and the land where the Boston city dump used to be until it was closed, capped and turned into Millennium Park and the now closed West Roxbury High School.

This might be the most wonderfully Bostonian bit of writing I have read in a long time. Well done.

Also, does anyone know what, if anything, is happening with the former West Roxbury Educational Complex? I thought it was going to be handed over (sold?) to BPD for training, but I haven't heard anything in a while. I'm glad the nicely redone field is still seeing regular use at least.

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I heard like 3-hand that some non-student groups are still using the building for training sessions or something. I can't confirm that.

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BuildBPS said Thursday they would have a community engagement meeting about the WREC site soon.

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A 20 minute walk to commuter rail? Assuming that inhabitants want to go to one of the few destinations the commuter rail goes, that’s still a long and $200+/month trip, with a one mile walk home at the end of the day. The bus is nearer, but you’ll have to negotiate the interminable wait at the VFW/Spring St intersection along with bottlenecks further down the line. You’ll also be about as far from supermarkets and restaurants as any address in the city. But it’ll be nice if you like canoeing on the Charles.

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If it's a 20 minute walk to West Roxbury station, it's a 10-15 minute walk to Star Market. Trust me when I sat that there are addresses in the city that are much further from a super market than this is. Heck, they've got Marino's on the same block, which isn't much but counts for something.

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I'm usually very rah-rah about reducing transit but those are some pretty rosy numbers painted by the developer. 20 minutes is very optimistic - I work at the VA and it takes about 25 to get to the rail, at a brisk but still comfortable pace. Add in crossing VFW, which can get kind of hairy, and walking down to the UNOs lot, I'd say half an hour at least.

The reason I know this walk so well is because the rail is right near the Lagrange intersection, which is ALSO where you get the 35 or 37. Which is 100% worth doing because even walking 25 minutes to then wait for a different bus line entirely is still faster than watching the 36 crawl for two hours to get from the dry cleaners down to the hospital, held up in the most garbage intersection in all of semi-suburbiadom.

Biking is also going to be iffy there - VFW is just straight up scary, and Spring St suffers from the greater Westie Malice towards biking that emanates down from Centre. Does not feel safe.

Good luck to the future residents. At least they can pick up quick-stop groceries (and yummy sandwiches) at Marinos.

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Agree with saying the timing is optimistic. It takes me 20-25 minutes to get to that stop from Gardner St and I’m on the section off of Baker. Coming from that lot and crossing the VFW is bound to add 10-15 minutes depending on how fast you can walk.

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This problem, in theory, should have already been eliminated for two years now. The MBTA's winter 2019 schedule, which went into effect in late December 2019, shifted most runs of the 36 away from the Spring St/VFW Pkwy intersection. Instead, most runs (excluding those to/from Millennium Park) would use the VA's access road, located at Spring St/Gould St, to enter and exit the VA, bypassing both the Spring/VFW intersection and the southbound VFW traffic. (This can be seen if you zoom in on the 36 route map on the MBTA website.)

The problem, of course, is that many MBTA drivers simply do not know, or do not care enough to know, about this change, despite it having been in place for 2 years. There are also some drivers who know about the change, but prefer to wait in traffic and contribute to delays because the turns within the VA are not ideal for -- though very much usable by -- 40-foot buses. Next time you see a driver taking the old route, try to talk to them and see how receptive they are about learning something new...

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Gmaps says 1.1 miles, 22 minute walk. I hope waiting to cross the VFW and Baker Street doesn’t add 8 minutes.

And I agree that this is not at all a walkable area. Who exactly would rent one of the units that has no parking? Is the official plan to depend on street parking? Is that even a thing the city allows for new developments? Charles Park Road is signed DCR Patron Parking Only, but there’s also parking on Gardner Street.

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Umm… VFW is already a parking lot.

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Anwar Faisal is the king of slumlords in this state. A notorious bad actor who sues his tenants if they make a complaint about his shit hole apartments. Do a quick Google search on this douchebag and you will see how many lawsuits he has had for violating all laws of habitability.

Anwar should never be allowed to build in the City of Boston.

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Or anywhere else.

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