Developers today showed off a proposal to replace a ramshackle commercial building at Belgrade Avenue and McCraw Street with a new four-story structure with first-floor retail space and 21 apartments above that.
The plans show more apartments than developers John Morrissey and Michael Forde originally proposed to nearby residents; they said they needed extra units to make up the cost of adding the extra parking residents had asked for in an earlier meeting.
They've proposed increasing the parking by using the existing building's basement for 24 parking spaces - double what they originally planned - and said that could prove expensive because they'll probably have to pay to clean up all the chemicals left behind by a former dry cleaner on the site. The earlier plan showed 12 above-ground spaces.
At a meeting at the E-5 police station, residents generally favored the proposal, but some said they were concerned that that 21 apartments was too dense and that the 24 spaces still not enough, because tenants would probably have two cars per unit and they'd wind up parking on nearby streets already overburdened by commuter-rail users trying to cheap out and not pay for parking. One resident asked if Forde and Morrissey would only be willing to rent to people with no more than 1 car per unit.
Forde, Morrissey and their architect said they doubted the building would prove a neighborhood parking menace, because it's right next to a commuter-rail station, several bus lines go down Belgrade, and the sort of people who'd want to live there might not even want a car at all.
Morrissey and Forde said the bulk of the units in the building would be 950-square-foot two bedrooms, with three 780-square-foot one bedrooms. All would be market rate - which they estimated at $2,600 to $2,700 a month for two bedrooms - except for three affordable units.
The building is next to the old catering concern that Exodus Bagels recently agreed to rent for a bagel bakery and, possibly, a full fledged diner - which would have no parking at all. Morrissey said it might be cool to talk to Exodus owner Adam Hirsh about opening a bagel-oriented coffee shop in one of the retail spaces in his building.
The developers have yet to file formal plans with the BRA; they said they wanted to meet with residents first. In addition to the BRA, the proposal would also need zoning-board approval because it is denser and taller than allowed by the current zoning for the site. It is slightly shorter than another mixed-use building a couple doors closer to West Roxbury Parkway.