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BU: No immediate plans for that Allston parcel it just bought, the one with the rights to build a 17-story apartment building on it

Boston University says it's going to be at least a couple years before it formally says what it's going to do with the parcel at the end of Ashford Street in Allston that it bought from City Realty this week.

Spokesman Colin Riley said the school will leave the parcel as it is for now - a warehouse with a parking lot - as it goes through a BPDA review of its 2024-2026 "institutional master plan."

Any future proposed institutional project will be part of the University’s next 10-year Institutional Master Plan (IMP) process with the City of Boston, not the two-year IMP process we are in currently. So, for now and in the immediate future, we will continue to operate the building under its current use and zoning.

The BPDA approved the City Realty proposal for a 17-story, 254-unit apartment building between the GAP area and the train tracks in August, followed a month later by the the Zoning Board of Appeal approving City Realty's plans as well.

City approval included a provision to set aside part of the roughly 3/4-acre parcel to provide access to the West Station commuter-rail and bus station the state says it might one day build on part of the former train yard near the parcel.

Yesterday, Allston Civic Association President Anthony D'Isidoro expressed the hope that BU would use City Realty's approval as a base to propose new student housing on the site, as a way to help ease the pressure on nearby rents.

Should BU try to amend City Realty's approval for apartments into student housing, it would need sign-off from the BPDA. Zoning-board decisions require construction to start within two years on approved projects, so the school would either have to seek an extension on the approval City Realty got or let it lapse and start the approval process from scratch - which would require neighborhood meetings and a new hearing before the board.



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Instead of a tax-paying set of new residences to ease the housing crisis, BU has elected to do neither. The city needs to start holding institutions like this accountable for their actions, because these universities are making it clear that they don’t care how difficult they make things for all of their neighbors.

We need more housing now, not whenever BU decides to get around to it.


The city needs to pressure owners of undeveloped lots to build housing of any type. Low interest loans or zoning perks.Whatever it takes.


How about look in the mirror. The city just gave away undeveloped lot in a residential neighborhood to some institute


The city had nothing to do with it. A private company sold a lot to another private entity.

Boston can't demand things get built. At most they can block proposed projects and even then, there are limits to the city's control.


They are talking about the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute project on Westville Street that Adam reported on a few days ago.

As noted in the project plans that Adam linked to, if approved, the project will pay below market value to purchase the property, but they are paying a sum of money in exchange for the property.

The devlopment of the 30 Westville parcel resulted from a public RFP opened in 2022 for development of the land by "qualified nonprofit organizations or other entities for the development of the parcels as community and cultural uses" rather than residential or other uses. RFP is here: https://www.boston.gov/bid-listings/15919886

That's not to say that the city has not opened RFPs for other surplus lots for development of housing, such as those found in this 2023 news release: https://www.bostonplans.org/news-calendar/news-updates/2023/04/13/bpda-a...

So our friend above would like UHub readers to believe that since the city did not do something in one specific case that they are not doing that thing at all (in this context that is developing unused city-owned lots for housing), while the city is actually doing that thing in other instances.


There's an approval on the books already! File a plan with minor adjustments to make it graduate housing or something and build the thing!


No way. Not with the grad workers striking. I don’t see that coming down the pipeline as it would read as a reward for the strike