UPDATE: City Realty says the murals in Allston Hall can be moved and that it's talking to Allston Main Streets about how to relocate them.
City Realty wants to replace a series of buildings around the intersection of Harvard Avenue and Cambridge Street with five new buildings and a gut rehab of a sixth that would include a total of 334 apartments and condos as well as new first-floor retail space.
The company today filed plans for its $121-million Allston Square project with the BPDA. Among the key elements: Tear down the Jack Young building on Cambridge Street to make way for a six-story 65-condo building; raze the long-vacant single-story curved building next to it at Harvard Avenue or a six-story, 77-unit building; and wrap the auto-parts store at 415 Cambridge with a 101-condo building.
The company would retain the historic Allston Hall at Braintree and Franklin streets and turn it into nine residential units with first-floor retail space, but the plans call for removing the murals in the window frames of the top two floors that feature Allston residents, including the fabled Mr. Butch. However, City Realty proposes a sort of abstract strip of art along one side of the building, at least on the part that would still be exposed after construction of six-story building next to and around it.
The objective of the overall site plan is to create both a physical and visual connect between all sites, creating a clear urban promenade while also fitting within the existing urban fabric. This is achieved by creating a series of open spaces between all sites and incorporating artwork in both mural and sculptural forms, evoking a feeling of constant exploration and discovery of new, unexpected spaces. Being mindful of the vibrant artist community and history of the Allston neighborhood, the project team has engaged local artists to create both interior and exterior exhibition spaces that allows the public to be part of the overall narrative of the development. The Proposed Project will completely revitalize this section of Cambridge Street and will bring necessary residential housing to an underutilized industrial corridor. The site is attractive due to its access to MBTA stations and the location’s close proximity to a variety of shops and restaurants.
The company, which hopes to begin construction next spring, is proposing 237 parking spaces for the 334 residential units.
The company's proposal for a new gateway to Harvard Avenue, currently a long strip of low-rise, early-20th-century commercial and residential buildings would be a modernistic six-story, 69-feet-high structure with 77 residential units and 48 parking spaces:
In its filing, the company says that far from overwhelming the rest of Harvard Avenue, the building would serve as a visual funnel, focusing attention on one of Boston's major areas:
Given that the building will be highly visible from a variety of vantage points along Cambridge Street, Harvard Avenue and from the Massachusetts Turnpike, it will function as an icon to showcase the arrival of Allston as one of Boston's key neighborhoods. Through carefully selected façade materials and deliberate massing strategies, the proposed project will be a monumental yet highly contextual addition to the neighborhood. The massing and exterior skin of the building create a new, unique structure that captures the industrial aesthetic of the neighborhood while at the same time directly relating to the immediate context. The massing reacts to various site “forces” and view corridors, which in turn cause the envelope to break away from the “street wall” on Cambridge Street, creating a new hardscape plaza for the residential entry and two adjacent retail components.
Allston Hall would be rehabbed and a six-story, 62-condo building with 46 parking spaces next to it:
The company would put up 101 condos and 102 parking spaces at 415 Cambridge St., wrapped around the Advance Auto Parks store:
A three-family house at 16 Highgate St. would be replaced with a five-story building with 20 units and 6 parking spaces:
All the parcels:
Allston Square project-notification form (151M PDF).
In addition to BPDA approval, City Realty will also need to win a number of variances from the zoning board.