Taking a Closer Look at Mission Hill Pathway

By Michael Coughlin Jr.

Early next month, lead developers for a project on Parker and Terrace Streets called Mission Hill Pathway will highlight their concept to the community that would provide affordable homeownership opportunities and vast amounts of open space in Mission Hill.

Back in August, the City of Boston designated the group of Oxbow Urban, DVM Consulting, and J. Garland Enterprises (ODJ Dev LLC) to develop 11 city-owned parcels at 77 Terrace Street and 778-796 Parker Street.

Now, with the designation under the group’s belt, they are preparing to present some initial plans to the neighborhood.

Some main programming aspects of the project include 40 affordable condominiums for families and first-time home buyers, vast amounts of community garden space, open space, a connection between Parker and Terrace Streets, and ground floor commercial space.

Specifically, on the Terrace Street side of the project, there are plans for an approximately 50-foot-tall building that would contain parking on the first level and three residential floors above.

Of the 40 total condominiums in the project, there will be a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units and a mixture of affordability.

“We’re trying to provide opportunity for a broad range of Mission Hill residents,” said Kevin Maguire, Founder of Oxbow Urban.

Regarding the affordability plans, the units will be sold in two different income tiers — one tier targeting 20 units at 65% of Area Median Income (AMI) and the other targeting 20 units at 85% of AMI, each with a mix of one two and three bedrooms.

Then, for parking, there are plans for 40 indoor bike spaces, and there are plans to provide around 30 parking spaces. Maguire also mentioned the possibility of having a shared vehicle or zip car and said, “There’ll be transportation options.”

Additionally, there are plans for retail space, and Maguire indicated that the retail space would be something that supports the residential development that happens in the neighborhood.

“We’d love it to be a local business… it’s going to be neighborhood retail, I think, with a focus on Mission Hill business owners or entrepreneurs,” said Maguire.

Another huge aspect of this project will be its focus on open space. Maguire spoke about the big vision for the project, which is setting the standard for what he called “climate-forward neighborhood infill development.”

For example, Maguire spoke about maintaining greenery and getting innovative with controlling stormwater and other open space amenities.

Some of these open space amenities, which are on the Parker Street portion of the project, include an extension of the Mission Hill Community Garden and a pocket park.

“Because it’s been open for 30 years, the neighborhood doesn’t really want it to get built out — the Parker Street side — because it’s become this amenity, this kind of open space,” said Maguire.

“So, the idea of just leaving it open so it’s this passive open space felt like a great use, both from the climate standpoint, both from an amenity for residents that live there now and then as well for new residents,” he added.

Although Maguire described the open space — besides the community garden — on the Parker Street part of the development as passive, in that it will not be like a playground, he acknowledged that the space could be programmed for events.

“It’s really meant to be a community resource, but it’s not going to be trying too hard. It’s not going to be overly programmed,” he said.

An interesting aspect of the open space portion of the project to note is that it will be owned and operated by The Trustees, a statewide preservation and conservation non-profit.

While these open space initiatives seek to fulfill the vision of climate-forward neighborhood infill development, the building will also do that.

The building will be all-electric, passive house standard, LEED Gold, and have solar panels on the roof.

“It’s going to be to the highest standard of building efficiency and energy sustainability,” said Maguire.

While the development team has many ideas to make the site the best it can be, Maguire acknowledged that they want to work with the community to provide the most significant benefit.

“We as developers need the community to participate so that we can maximize the benefits and the impact,” said Maguire.

He also said, “We really want and we benefit from community input,” later adding, “To make it of Mission Hill, we need people from Mission Hill to tell us what that means in a way.”

Currently, the development team is planning on having a meeting with the community in early November.

To stay updated with the project, keep in touch with the developers, and learn the meeting date when finalized, visit https://tinyurl.com/MissionPathwayContact.

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