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Days of 3 a.m. pancakes in Brighton could be numbered: Developer proposes tearing down IHOP for affordable housing/life-sciences complex

The Trammel Crow Co. said today it will soon file plans for a five-building complex along Soldiers Field Road near North Beacon Street that would include some 200 affordable housing units as well as research and retail space.

The new buildings would replace a "blighted and decadent" stretch of Soldiers Field Road that includes Boston's only 24-hour IHOP, a decaying former motel, a car dealership and an HVAC contractor, which collectively have become "a beacon for unwanted and illegal activities" after decades of little to no investment, Trammel Crow says, in a letter of intent filed with the BPDA today.

Trammel Crow, which is headquartered in Dallas but has a Boston office, says it will soon file detailed plans for four current addresses, including the IHOP and motel near Parsons Street and two parcels further up Soldiers Field Road, past the Staples and the Alfa Romeo dealership. In total, the new buildings would have some 1 million square feet of interior space, the company says.

The McDonald's next to the IHOP is not part of the project.

Trammel Crow says it will work with the Community Builders, a Boston non-profit, to erect two buildings in which all 200 units would be rented or sold at no more than 60% of the Boston area median income. Some 65% of the units would be aimed at families and have either two or three bedrooms. The city normally requires only 13% of units in a new residential building be affordable - and at an average of 70% of the Boston area median income.

The company says it would pay for the affordable housing in two ways: It would donate the land for the residential buildings to the Community Builders, and it would ask the BPDA to put the housing linkage fees the company would be required to pay to build the remaining three commercial buildings into the residential buildings.

Trammel Crow says these two buildings alone would double the number of income-restricted units provided by a dozen other Brighton development projects in recent years.

The company says it would put up the new buildings in two phases, starting with a roughly 3.7-acre parcel at 1600 Soldiers Field Rd. and 15 Soldiers Field Pl., followed by the roughly 2-acre parcel now occupied by the IHOP and the motel. The letter did not say which parcels would get the residential buildings and which the lab/office space.

It adds it will seek designation of a "planned development area" for the land, which would mean throwing out its existing zoning and letting it and the BPDA negotiate on what could be built. It said it would be seeking a continuation of new zoning along the Western Avenue corridor, which would let it put up buildings up to 185 feet in height.

In addition to the new buildings, Trammel Crow says it will also propose changes to the dreary North Beacon Street underpass below the turnpike to make it safer and "aesthetically pleasing," as well as improvements to the park along Leo Birmingham Parkway.

1600-1850 Soldiers Field Rd. filings and meeting schedule.



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anti-NIMbY’s rejoice

Well, it's a good number of income-restricted housing units, but it's certainly going to be car-oriented. Even if the retail space ends up being useful to the residents, they'll still need to drive everywhere else.


Sure, tear down all the dreck, but keep the IHOP!


It's sad that this IHOP is the only 24/7 food in the area. Why can't Boston have independent diners/restaurants in neighborhoods that serve good cheap food all night? But having nothing would be even worse.


Seriously? IHOP has good food?!

Good and cheap never go together. And definitely not in Boston.

… you are so right about something.

That really sucks.


Okay enough. There's life sciences going in where Sound Museum is now. That's two blocks away. Take away the rubber stamp from the BPDA for these projects.


I do not think that word means what they think it means.


Asking for a friend...


Seems like Staples, Party City, Starbucks AND McDonalds would be retained? The parking lot for that complex is just as big and car-centric as the stuff they plan to tear down.

They are not part of this proposal.

Alright my over 50 UHub devotees, start the trip down the wild memory lane. Golden Age of nightclubs, after hours, filled dance floors. Yes that did actually happen in Boston once. And people had fun and came through the IHop doors in full regalia.


At Sammy White's?

I'm 56 and a 1990 MIT grad. We went to IHOP many times at around 4-5 a.m., sometimes after all-night poker sessions at the frat house. Also went to the old Ground Round down the road many times, as well as Martignetti Liquors for kegs.