Developers revise 70 Parker Hill Ave. project

April 3, 2015
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Developers have revised a proposed residential project at 70 Parker Hill Ave. to reduce the number of units as a response to parking-ratio concerns. Parking was an issue raised during a community meeting last year.

While the project is currently planned as rental apartments, a switch to condos could be on the table, they said.

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 developers presented the revised proposal during a community meeting March 30 at the Judge Baker Children’s Center. About 10 people attended the meeting. Outspoken criticism of the project came from an attendee who objected to it being a rental project instead of being owner-occupied.

The revised project would reduce the number of units from 46 to 40 and remove all studio apartments. The proposal now calls for 27 one-bedroom units, 12 two-bedroom units and 1 two-bedroom townhouse. The number of parking spots would remain at 29. The project would still add an additional floor and more than 10,000 square feet to the building.

Mission Hill resident Rich Johnson took issue with the proposal being a rental project, saying that the neighborhood has the lowest rate of homeowner-occupancy in the city.

“We have a serious problem in this neighborhood,” he said.

Johnson also criticized the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) for not having anyone at the meeting. He said that while the City Council is creating initiatives to preserve neighborhoods, the BRA is approving projects that “do the opposite.”

Don Wiest, the developer team attorney, said that the proposal was conceived as a rental project. But, he said, now that the size of the units have increased because there are fewer of them, the developers might reconsider and make them condominiums.

“If the financing is there, condos might be the way to go,” said Wiest.

The developers also said they are attempting to get in touch with the Boston Transportation Department to discuss potential traffic calming measures in front of the development. Concerns have been raised about the danger off pulling out of the parking lot at 70 Parker Hill Ave. because of the downhill curve of the road there.

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