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Developer wins approval to replace decaying former Baha'i center in the South End with ten condos

New building proposal

Condo rendering by Stack + Co.

The Zoning Board of Appeal today approved plans for a new condo building on Albany Street at East Canton Street after the developer agreed to add an extra unit that would be sold as affordable.

The proposed building at 593 Albany St. will replace a closed Baha'i center for which ISD has ordered demolition because the building is beyond saving.

Andrew Brassard had initially sought zoning-board approval in January for a nine-unit building, which would have meant he did not have to provide any affordable units, because that requirement only starts at ten units. But after the board raised questions about developers filing so many nine-unit proposals.

Brassard then agreed to come back with a new proposal, which fit a tenth unit in by shrinking the sizes of some of the building's other units.

The building will have six parking spaces, three accessible via a curb cut on East Canton Street, the others through a rear entrance.



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Will it be resold as affordable too?

Voting closed 26

I think that to be in that program they have to be deed restricted, otherwise people would always just flip them. There are other programs that sunset after say 30 years and go to market rate. Deed restricted limits the buyer's ability to make a big profit on the sale, but does allow them to build a little equity.

Voting closed 39

My lottery opportunity came in 2016, I can confirm the deed restriction is for 50 years, so my unit will remain affordable (I'm now 60). The deed restriction also prohibits renting the unit.

I view it as a simple IRA, it appreciates at a fixed rate of 3% per year, last year I refinanced my loan to 3.5%, and I now have a set, manageable housing cost to retire into, while building equity for me or my heirs.

When I am ready to move on, the BPDA will set the maximum resale price and the new owner would have to qualify under the same income guidelines I qualified at. (albeit inflation adjusted)

It bothers me to see that so many of the newer "affordable" units are rentals, those rents are sky-high compared to a 30 year mortgage payment on a sub $300k unit.

Voting closed 46

Should you die (hopefully not soon) will the deed be transferred to your next of kin as normal or will they need to sell the unit at whatever rate BPDA decides?

Voting closed 23

They are bound by the deed restrictions, and in fact, cannot “transfer” ownership to next of kin or another relative. The BPDA has a second mortgage on the property. (I needed their sign off & approval for my refi, they had to set the maximum resale price for valuation as the property can’t be appraised conventionally)

Even in a “private” transfer to family/friend, the unit would need to be sold and the new buyer(s) would still need to qualify within the then current income and asset limits. Just no lottery process. Once sold, my heirs would receive all proceeds after any remaining balance of my mortgage.

Interesting fact, I’m single, but should I choose to marry, I could not just add my spouse to my deed. We’d have to sell the unit to ourselves and re-qualify at the current limits to be co-owners.

Voting closed 24

One last point, I see parking hotly debated here.

There are four affordable units in a 30 unit building. The other 26 units have underground parking, but the BPDA guidelines prohibited parking for the affordable units.

Voting closed 20

If the city didn't want 9-unit buildings that were all market rate, they shouldn't have made a rule allowing them.

Has anyone studied whether this is really the best way to provide affordable housing? Or if it's driving up housing costs for the majority of people who don't win the affordable housing lottery?

Voting closed 43

Is that what the city wants? Or does the city not want the type of flipping and development that exasperates the housing crisis?

Voting closed 19

At Magoo’s office yesterday one of Magoo’s coworkers tooted in his hand and then brought it up in Magoo’s face yelling “cup of soup”. Magoo.

Voting closed 29

This Magoo schtick is old and tired. No one thinks it's funny.

Seriously, it's time to end it.

Voting closed 53

Will have no parking spot. Another way to keep low to moderate income people from car ownership.

Voting closed 26

What are the other ways? Don’t say cost of ownership. That’s just inherent with owning a car just like any asset.

Voting closed 31

That end of Albany Street is starting to get crowded. I guess that's how people who live in SOWA like it.

Voting closed 29