A developer that wanted to replace a defunct Kneeland Street nightclub near South Station with a 230-room hotel asked the BPDA this week to let it build a 115-unit residential building instead, because it couldn't get financing for a hotel in the middle of a pandemic.
In a filing with the agency, the Hudson Group said the change would be minor, hardly worth worrying about, let alone requiring all new hearings, even with the complete shift in interior space above the ground floor, because the ultimate effect on the surrounding neighborhood would actually consist of even less traffic and more desperately needed housing.
The building will maintain the same height approved by the BPDA in 2018, but the company says it will manage to squeeze in an extra floor by removing building mechanical systems from the third floor and putting them on the roof. The developer said the building would mostly maintain the same exterior design approved in 2018 and would retain the gym and restaurant and meeting space originally planned for the building.
The company said it was forced to make the change "in light of the seismic shifts in the hospitality industry and the impact on capital markets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic."
In its filing, the Hudson Group said it first showed plans for the residential units to neighborhood groups and the BPDA in December. In January, however, it went before the Zoning Board of Appeal for a one-year extension to its approval, without mentioning the proposed shift from hotel space to residential units. It won the extension.
Instead of renting or selling units in the building as affordable, the company says it will work with a local non-profit group, the Chinese Economic Development Council to create 20 affordable units on Oxford Street aimed at people making between 30% and 50% of the Boston area median income. The company worked with the group on a similar effort with its Radian building.
As with the hotel, no on-site parking is planned:
The Project will provide long term off site parking through relationships with neighborhood parking facilities and incentivize the use of public transit, car sharing, cycling, and alternative modes of transport. With off-site parking, vehicle trips will be more dissipated throughout the local roadway network.
150 Kneeland St. notice of project change (1.1M PDF).