Developer Jordan Warshaw has filed new plans for his proposed Sprague Street complex that call for fewer units and bedrooms - and the elimination of a proposed steel-frame tower reading "READVILLE" that was intended to bring attention to a neighborhood whose residents had loudly said they didn't want any.
In plans filed with the BPDA yesterday, Warshaw said he would reduce the number of residential units in the 6.6-acre, four-building project from 521 to 492 - and would lop two floors off what had been planned as an seven-story structure along - and down the hill from - Sprague Street. Another building, further away from the street, would remain at eight stories. All the buildings would sit on land just south of the Readville train station that is now occupied by such uses as warehousing and truck maintenance.
Also, one building, with 128 units, would be sold as condos, rather than rented as apartments, in response to neighborhood concerns about transient residents. And the new plans would increase the number of studio and one-bedroom units - which would mean fewer potential residents because that means fewer overall bedrooms.
Warshaw also proposed moving the restaurant he wants to incorporate into the complex closer to Sprague Street.
In his new filing, Warshaw says his goal is to build a complex that would attract carless Millennials who want to live in Boston, or empty nesters who want to stay in the city, but who can't afford neighborhoods such as the Seaport or Jamaica Plain:
With its pedestrian entrance directly adjacent to the Sprague Street Bridge to Readville Station, and large on-site shared workspace, oversized fitness center and other community spaces, this transit-oriented development has been designed at every step - from choice of location to orientation of access points to design of amenities - to attract non-vehicle oriented residents, and reduce its impact on surrounding area roadways.
The Project is an example of the kind of development Mayor Walsh's housing plan is targeting: a transit-oriented development with quality middle-class housing. Target rents are proposed to be meaningfully below those in many new developments in the Seaport District, South End, Fenway and even Jamaica Plain, but the Project will include amenities and open space at a level seen in few if any new Boston apartment developments.
One way Warshaw can reduce rents and create open space - 38% of the land would be open - is because of the land's topography - basically a slope from Sprague Street down to the Northeast Corridor train tracks. That will let him put most of the proposed 511 parking spaces at the bottom of the buildings without requiring expensive excavation - or surface lots that would take up much of the space not occupied by the buildings.
Warshaw has also proposed to rehabilitate Sprague Pond - long noted as a place to dump stuff, including, possibly, an old locomotive from the nearby rail yard - in part by creating a new pondside park.
The developer responded to criticism by the Boston Civic Design Commission that the proposed buildings were too industrial looking by adding some colored panels. Warshaw also moved the restaurant closer to Sprague Street on advice of the Commission, which foresees Sprague Street becoming more of a walkable street.
36-70 Sprague St. filing (70M PDF).
Not to be: Readville Tower, originally intended as a "Citgo Sign for Readville:"