45 Worthington St. continues to stir concerns

June 12, 2015
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Mission Hill residents are saying that they and neighbors are not happy after a recent meeting with a representative from the developer of the proposed development at 45 Worthington St., which is set to file a new plan this month.

Meanwhile, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) said that it has “limited regulatory control” over the site, as the result of an agreement stemming from an urban renewal program from the 1960s.

Equity Development has a proposal for a 35-story, 395-unit tower at 45 Worthington St. The developer has told the BRA that it is revising the proposal after the community raised concerns about the project earlier this year.

Local residents Lois and Quentin Regestein said they and neighbors met with Paul Barrett of Equity Development on May 26, and many left with more questions than answers.

“He refused to address matters of interest to the group, such as density, traffic and units,” Quentin Regestein said in an email to the Gazette. “Many at the meeting worried that he lacked good faith.”

Quentin Regestein also said that Barrett expressed the wish to meet with neighbors individually, as large community meetings “would spark too much commentary.”

Lois Regestein said in an email to the Gazette that neighbors expressed their concerns that the project could jeopardize the neighborhood as being “a vibrant, family-friendly place” and that the project could lead to others of similar size being built in the area.

“The meeting with Barrett did not give us much information,” she said. “He did tell us that the project notification form would be submitted by the end of June, and the public comment period would be extended to 180 days, until the end of the year.”

Equity Residential did not respond to a request for comment. When the Gazette asked for a comment from the BRA on the meeting, spokesperson Nick Martin responded, “Director Golden has personally met with members of the IAG and neighbors to 45 Worthington Street. The BRA remains committed to working with the community and the developer to address concerns raised about the proposed project.”

Golden met with neighbors in March. During a later Gazette interview said that the plan then proposed was a “massive project” and “far greater in density and scale” than the neighborhood.

Martin also responded to an earlier question the Gazette posed about what authority the BRA had over the site stemming from a 1960s urban renewal program.

“We have limited regulatory control of the site, as the Whitney Urban Renewal Plan has expired,” he said. “However, when we sold the parcel to Back Bay Manor, which then sold it to Equity Residential, the deed stipulates that there is incremental value associated with the site that the BRA will receive if it is redeveloped. That value would be established as part of negotiations, which have not yet transpired.”

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