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Developer picked to replace Charlestown parking lots with nearly 700 apartments and condos

Austin Street rendering

Initial rendering from Trinity Financial's winning proposal.

The BPDA board this week designated downtown-based Trinity Financial to turn what are now parking lots between Rutherford Avenue and the I-93 deck south of the Gilmore Bridge into a complex of apartments and condos.

The move means Trinity can now file detailed plans for a series of six-story buildings on the five-acre site, with a large number of affordable units: 58% of the 342 apartments and 56% of the 294 condos.

Some 100 of the apartments would be rented to people making no more than 50% of the Boston area median income, with the rest of the affordable units rented to people making up to 80% of that level. The affordable condos would be sold to people making between 80% and 100% of that level.

The company's proposal also includes an expanded home for the Charlestown Nursery School, possibly tied in with teacher programs at Bunker Hill and and health-research programs at Mass. General. The new space would also mean an increase in K0 and K1 spots for BPS.

The complex would have public greenspace, ball fields and indoor basketball courts and both indoor and outdoor space for art exhibits - and with some of the affordable apartments set aside as live/work artist studios, Trinity says. Also proposed: 21,000 square feet of retail space, including a possible family-friendly beer garden.

Solar panels will help provide electricity, while heating and air conditioning would be run off a geothermal system. The buildings, near the Community College T stop, would have roughly 274 parking spaces.

Each building would have powerful air filters to remove both viruses and particulates from the neighboring Deck, the company says.

In addition to the BPDA, state environmental officials and the Boston Conservation Commission will also have to approve the final proposal, because part of the site - now used for parking by Bunker Hill Community College - sits on what was once part of the "tidelands" for Millers River, a now shrunken tributary of the Charles that runs from roughly the Zakim Bridge to the Potato Monument. Even the Federal Railroad Administration would get a say because the project would require formal abandonment of a now unused rail spur.

Trinity's preliminary plans call for six years of construction, starting in the summer of 2025.

Trinity's winning proposal.
The other submitted proposal.

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Comments

do you have connections, interests in the real estate industry? I've noticed numerous Uhub posts, not from you, that strongly suggests they were from someone with strong interests in the real estate industry.

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No.

The only real estate I have an interest in is our small house on a small lot in Roslindale.

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Should Adam not report it because it makes you nervous? It's good that we know what is going on in our neighborhoods. That doesn't make the reporter A Tool o Da Man.

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Conspiracy anon is just asking questions.

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Hundreds of new homes, thousands of new residents, new retail and services, half a mile from a T stop and along a bus line.

But do pour one out for the nimbys. They hate this.

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Oh yeah “income restricted and affordable” no one is buying that crap. The developer should be forced to put money in to BHCC to build all this which like most of them probably won’t cause they are cheap. Oh and NIMBY and YIMBY are the two most stupid acronyms. Good luck at the meetings when they happen.

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Found the NIMBY

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Sounds like you’re having a bad day and just mad at everyone.

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Yes, most developers would just happily give money to the BPDA, rather than build something that might have a return on their time and investment. You may not like capitalism, but it is the system we have for the near and medium term. It's the only thing that will build meaningful amounts of housing right now, but do go on about your fantasy world a bit more.

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Sullivan? This is near Community College. Unless I'm missing something

Also.. I get the air filtering will happen to help with this being smack dab up against 93. It's still against I-93. What a view out one side of these buildings... a highway.

But glad to see something is going here.. and its low income housing, which we really really really need.

More of this please. There *are* some lots near Sullivan that could use get the same treatment...

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Fixed.

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We all know which side of the buildings the affordable units will face.

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One thing that makes Boston different from New York is that developers aren't allowed to pull stuff like that - the affordable units have to be mixed in with all the other units.

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You mean like the developer a few years ago who got breaks for one of the new buildings at A/4th/Broadway... and put the affordable units in a building way over by D & 2nd?

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For the time being most are not buildable lots. Not until they fix the Schrafft's Tidal Spillway, and maybe not even then.

Vault them up with a massive water storage area underneath and maybe then. Maybe.

Here's what will happen to the area based on a Superstorm Sandy level surge hitting on a high tide.

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Is kind of an interesting walk. Not enough to go out of your way (it is under a highway), but there is some art along the way.

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That's great to see a project incorporating geothermal!

What is the mix of number of bedrooms in these units, it's hard to have a family live in a unit smaller than a 3 bedroom?

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It'll specified in the formal "project notification filing" Trinity says it'll file within a couple of months.

For now, this proposal says "over half the units designed as two and three-bedrooms for families."

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I grew up in NYC and it was common for families to live in 2 BR apartments. Easy when had 2 kids of the same gender. If boy and girl, they put a divider down the middle of the room. My best friend's mother slept in the living room of their 1 BR. My family turned the DR into a 3rd BR and put the dinner table in the foyer.

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Do you still have the desire to let people post anon, Adam?

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As a life long resident of Charlestown. A 5th generation member of Charlestown. A blue collar worker working in the elevator union of boston. This planned proposal is exactly what this town doesn't need or want. We already are way too over populated and the parking and traffic is very difficult. Our neighborhood has been around since long before this country was declared the United States of America, and it should not be changed because of real estate developers who are not even from here want to make money off of new residents that also are not from this neighborhood. Join the Charlestown townie group on Facebook and you'll see the voices and faces of this town and our loved history. This is not a good idea and will lead to more problems for our town. Beyond angry to see this, and our voices will be heard trust me on that. The people running the show from city hall do not have Charlestown's best interest at heart and do not have any idea what these developments will bring to our neighborhood. My mother worked as in the community centers for years and the mayor showed up to her funeral last year. She was a well respected member of this community who gave her heart, soul, and life to Charlestown. This saddens me to see and I'm beyond disgusted in this proposal.

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The next few years are going to be very hard for you.

Edit: this was a stupid post and I regret it. Doesn't add anything positive.

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This site is between a highway and a train yard and so there are no neighbors. It is so close to mass transit and walkable to downtown. Why only 600 units? They should go talk and build 2K-3K units here.

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Turning the whole parcel over to one developer is a good way to make sure it turns into an unpleasant place that always feels fake.

If I were in charge, the city would build a dense grid of public streets, and lots would be sold off individually. This is how real city neighborhoods were built until about 1940.

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Trinity will do a great job: check out Maverick, Washington Beech, Orient Heights, etc etc. solid work!

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Today I learned that we have two Millers Rivers in Massachusetts. I knew of the one by Millers Falls primarily as Route 2 parallels it thru Erving and Millers Falls. But not the area for this project. Neat!

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This is currently where BHCC students park.
People who want to better themselves, learn, grow, make a better life.
Hundreds come from all over the area and need a place to park.
I did, at 43, from Arlington, and then I graduated from Tufts with an Masters of Science in Engineering at 47.
I was too proud to start there, but the ego was my downfall. I should have started there in the first place.

There had better be a huge amount of free parking for BHCC people.

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The other proposal was better - more architecturally interesting, more ambitious, actually integrated into the Gilmore Bridge, better pedestrian experience and circulation.

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I wonder why Trinity was picked over the other group, Onyx/DREAM. The competing proposal included more residential units (757 vs. 688), with more of them affordable (60% vs. 54%) and more deeply affordable (lowest tier at 30% AMI vs. 50%). I also wonder why neither proposal calls for buildings over 14 stories, since there are 20-story buildings on the other side of the highway in Cambridge and according to the PLAN Charlestown community feedback this area is basically the only place in Charlestown where residents are OK with tall buildings. This and Sullivan are the best possible locations for residential density.

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