Some IAG members want more affordable units for Goddard House project

January 15, 2016
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The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) held an impact advisory group (IAG) meeting for the Goddard House project on Jan. 7 with some members advocating for more affordable-housing units, according to BRA spokesperson Nick Martin.

An IAG is a City-appointed group of residents and other stakeholders that advise the City on potential impacts of building projects. There are 12 members of the Goddard House IAG: Michael Reiskind, Vanessa Snow, Merlin Southwick, Stephen Lussier, Kevin Moloney, Kyle Smith, John Iappini, Julie Corckford, Lisa Marie Cooper, Kay Gallagher, Alison Frazee, and Richard Rouse.

“Some representatives on the IAG have advocated for an increase in the number of affordable housing units, and we’re currently discussing the appropriate course of action,” said Martin in an email. “In order to increase the number of affordable units beyond what is required, it appears that the developer would have to target them to households at a higher income level than what’s called for in the City’s policy. We’ll work with the Department of Neighborhood Development to address this question and make a final recommendation soon.”

He said that the project is scheduled to go before the Parks Commission for an informal information session at the end of the month and that “we’ll determine how to proceed with respect to the BRA board after this meeting.”

The project recently came under fire from the Boston Residential Group (BRG), which owns Olmsted Place at 161 S. Huntington Ave. Olmsted Place abuts the Goddard House property. Curtis Kemeny, CEO and president of BRG, wrote a letter to the BRA about concerns with the Goddard House proposal, including height, density, and traffic.

Eden Properties and Samuels & Associates have plans to redevelop the former Goddard House property at 201 S. Huntington Ave. into 167 apartments.

The BRA held a community meeting for the project on Nov. 23, with most attendees speaking in favor of the project, though some raised questions over the affordability component.

The project would involve the rehabilitation, expansion, and adaptive re-use of the Goddard House, transforming it into a multi-family residence to include 167 rental apartments. The Goddard House is located at 201 S. Huntington Ave. The renovated and expanded Goddard House would hold 110 units, while a free-standing building would be built creating the remaining 57 units.

When facing the Goddard House property from S. Huntington Avenue, the new building would be built on the left side. One addition would be built behind the current Goddard House building, while the other addition would be built to the front right.

Additions to the Goddard House would be four stories tall, while the new building height would vary from four to six stories.

The preservation of the Goddard House building is defined as an “exceptional public benefit,” according to the S. Huntington Avenue corridor study conducted by the BRA in 2013.

The BRA is currently using that corridor study to potentially re-zone that area. The developers are banking on that happening, stating in the project notification form that the project is consistent with the zoning proposed by the S. Huntington Avenue corridor study. If that re-zoning does not happen, the project will need several variances to be approved by the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

The project will also need approval and permits from several agencies and departments, including for new construction within the Greenbelt Protection Overlay District.

The Goddard House controversially ceased operations on Sept. 8, 2012 and has remained vacant ever since. The enormous brick building was constructed in 1927 and housed about 100 seniors.

The developers, Eden Properties and Samuels & Associates, had filed their letter of intent earlier this year.

The project is anticipated to begin construction in summer 2016. For more information, visit bit.ly/1l01M2J.

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