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New Western Avenue apartment building will feature public parking to replace on-street spots planned for removal

Rendering of proposed 500 Western Ave.

Rendering by Hendren Associates.

The Zoning Board of Appeal yesterday approved plans by the owner of the former Irving gas station at 500 Western Ave. to replace it with a six-story, 116-unit apartment building that will feature a new vest-pocket park, new street trees and a parking garage that will include 64 metered parking spaces for use by the public, to replace the on-street spaces the city is planning to remove along Western Avenue to make way for dedicated bus and bicycle lanes.

Ardo Garabedian's plans for the building, located across a narrow side street from the Radius building at Western Avenue and Birmingham Parkway, also include eight apartments set aside as live/work units for artists and room for a small market, as well as solar panels on the roof to help power the building's heat pumps and electrical appliances.

Some 21 of the units will be rented as affordable.

In addition to the "district" parking spaces for the public, the two-level garage will also include 64 spaces - 6 for electric vehicles - that tenants of the building can rent in addition to their base apartment rent.

Garabedian's lawyer, Joseph Hanley, said the site is ready for construction - Garabedian has torn down his old gas station and cleaned up the underlying ground, including by removing the gas tanks.

The Brighton Allston Improvement Association supported the proposal. The Allston Civic Association, though, was split. Association President Tony D'Isidoro said some members expressed anxiety about the "continued growth and density" in the Western Avenue corridor, while others were excited by the addition of more density through a new mixed-use building - along with the new open space and the public parking.

City Councilor Liz Breadon supported the proposal, as did Sean McDonnell of the nearby Speedway, who said the "community parking" was particularly important to his enterprise.

The BPDA board approved the proposal last August.

500 Western Ave. filings.

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