Apartment project sent back to drawing board

July 13, 2012
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S. HUNTINGTON—The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) has sent developers back to the drawing board with a luxury apartment project proposed for 161 S. Huntington Ave.

After strong community opposition, including a letter criticizing the project signed by 11 of 13 City-appointed Impact Advisory Group (IAG) members, the BRA sent a scoping document to Boston Residential Group, the developers of the proposed 190 to 200 units, earlier this month.

Scoping documents outline the feedback the BRA has received from the community, BRA spokesperson Melina Schuler told the Gazette. The developer can alter the project in response to the community feedback or abandon it.

“The details will be worked out in the coming weeks,” Schuler added.

Among the IAG’s complaints are the small size of the proposed units, precluding families from living in the building; its “ugly” facade; the number of units; expected low percentage of affordable units; the proposed removal of 53 mature trees; failure to restore or adapt the historic 1914 building; and hidden identities of investors in the project.

The developers can file a draft project impact report, a revised draft of the project, if they want to continue developing the property.

If that happens, the BRA will open another public comment period and host at least one more public meeting.

A Gazette email to Janey Bishoff, the developer’s spokesperson, was not returned by press time.

The project, as originally proposed by Boston Residential Group, would demolish all the buildings on the property currently occupied by the Home for Little Wanderers to make room for 190 to 200 luxury rental apartments.

The Home for Little Wanderers is moving out of its three-building complex at 161 S. Huntington Ave. this year.

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