Plans unwrapped for apartment buildings on former East Boston casket-factory site
Redgate and the New England Casket Co. have filed plans for a two-building, 220-unit apartment complex at 1141 Bennington St., where the company made caskets until an eight-alarm fire in 2019.
In the filing, the developers say the 1.86-acre proposal would also have a cafe, deck and plaza overlooking the neighboring Belle Isle Marsh, along with new pedestrian and bicycle paths. It would also have a fenced dog run for residents, in part to try to keep their pets from running amok in the ecologically sensitive marsh, which they say is the last salt-water marsh in Boston.
Some 31 of the units would be rented as affordable, with 29 rented to people making no more than 70% of the Boston area median income and two to people making no more than 100% of them.
The buildings would have just two natural-gas hookups, one for the proposed cafe and another for a possible emergency generator; otherwise, all the units will be heated and cooled through electric-based systems and will have all-electric appliances. The roof would have room for solar panels.
Some 121 parking spaces will be built.
The filing describes the external design:
The undulation of the building façade incorporates private terraces, porches and balconies for residents, another nod to the surrounding residential context. Throughout the afternoon, the changes in depth of the elevation provide a dynamic play of shadow and light, visible from the neighborhood of Orient Heights, across Bennington Street. To add another level of dimension and play, projected metal fins will cast shadows across the façade to mimic birds in flight. The multiple scales of shadow play will also appear differently dependent on perspective and speed of travel. Views of the Bennington Street building elevation are visible not only from the neighboring homes on the hill of Orient Heights, but also from cars passing by on Bennington, pedestrians on street level and passengers on the MBTA Blue Line. The Proponent envisions a unique experience for each user through their individual lenses.
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will there be casket-shaped flower boxes
to acknowledge the historic use of the site?
I bet people are dying to
I bet people are dying to move in there.
The largest salt marsh remaining in Boston, yes. The only one, no. The marshes along the Neponset count for something.
Again, another project that really shouldn't be happening. Let's see if the new administration behaves differently than past ones.
Why shouldn't it be happening?
The property is right up against the Belle Isle Marsh and is a flood pathway into the community (and the MBTA station at Orient Heights). It would be better planning to use the property as a buffer for the migration of marshland and the degree of flood protection that salt marshes provide - combined with some engineering to make sure the MBTA yard is protected.
Continuing to build residential properties in areas that will flood in the future (such as the entire East Boston waterfront and that low-rise mess across the Harbor) will result in large economic losses for whoever is left holding the deed when the inevitable happens, while the cut and run developers make a quick buck on shoddy construction in the short-term. Rather than setting up people for financial ruin which will no doubt be bailed out to some degree through a tax-payer funded govt program, we could actually do some sensible planning that prioritizes something other than the profit margins of real estate investment trusts, local real estate attorneys and developers. But I guess that's asking too much.