The Boston Redevelopment Authority held a community meeting Oct. 7 on the proposed renovation project at 70 Parker Hill Ave. that would turn the former commercial building into 46 residential units. The most pressing issue for attendees was the lack of parking for the project.
The building at 70 Parker Hill Ave. was formerly used by the New England Baptist Hospital, but has been vacant for 10 years. The redevelopment is proposed by an East Boston partnership called Jamaica View LLC in collaboration with contractor GVW Incorporated, also East Boston-based.
The renovation project would turn the building into an apartment complex consisting of studios and one- and two-bedroom units. That would include 40 market-rate units and six affordable units. There would be 6 studio units, 33 one-bedroom units, 6 two-bedroom units and 1 two-bedroom townhouse.
The project would add an additional floor and more than 10,000 square feet to the building. There would also be 29 parking spots.
About 25 people attended the meeting. Another question that arose was whether New England Baptist would have to amend its Institutional Master Plan (IMP). An IMP is a comprehensive development plan that describes an institution’s existing facilities, long-range planning goals and proposed projects.
BRA spokesperson Nick Martin later told the Gazette that “New England Baptist Hospital is in the process of finalizing their IMP. Because New England Baptist no longer owns 70 Parker Hill Ave., the area covered by the NEBH IMP will be revised accordingly.”
The renovation project will need zoning relief, including for building height and forbidden use, according to the developer team attorney Don Wiest. He said the “goal is to take an empty, neglected building and turn it into a 46-unit building.” Wiest said that it will be deed-restricted to prohibit student housing. The developer is looking for young professionals and couples to be housed at the building.
Mission Hill resident Kathryn Brookins was one of several attendees who took issue with the lack of parking for the project. She said that no zoning relief should be granted until a traffic study is conducted.
“The notion that the street will not be further crowded is unacceptable,” she said.
Wiest said the site will have a Zipcar rental car, which replaces 10 to 15 cars. The development team also pointed to the fact that the project is accessible to public transportation.
Wiest gave a timeframe of 12 to 18 months for the project to be completed if it moves through the permitting process.