Jamaica Pond Association Rejects 10-Story Apartment Building for 105A S. Huntington Ave.
The Jamaica Pond Association voted Monday night to oppose a developer's proposal for a 10-story apartment building at 105A S. Huntington Ave.
The Jamaica Pond Association voted Monday to oppose a 10-story apartment building at 105A S. Huntington Ave.
Cedar Valley Development has plans for 195 apartment units in the building, which would be among the tallest in the neighborhood.
"There's a lot of housing demand in Jamaica Plain and Mission Hill that this would satisfy," said Matthew Kiefer, a lawyer who represented the developers at the meeting.
The building would be called The Serenity, according to a full-page ad taken out in the most recent recent edition of the Jamaica Plain Gazette.
The Pond Association will draw up a detailed list of their concerns about the 205,000 square foot building. Some community members aired their worries at the meeting.
"It's just out of character for Jamaica Plain," said Andrew Hatcher. "You'd have to go all the way into Boston to find something like this."
A Pond Association board member spoke out against the rent prices — estimated at between $2,500 to $3,000 a month for a two-bedroom.
"Nobody I know can afford rents like that," said Rosemary Jones.
The building would have 26 units of affordable housing, according to Kiefer and project documents, which claim that number is 15 percent of the units. However, 26 units equals only 13 percent of the total units. To reach 15 percent, 30 units would have to be designated as affordable. The city of Boston requires these kinds of projects to have at least 13 percent affordable units.
And even if the project were 15 percent affordable, that figure would be below the 25 percent sought by the JP Neighborhood Council.
"I understand that's an aspiration," Kiefer said. "It's not something that can be done without a subsidy."
The apartment building would include a small amount of "service retail" aimed at providing basic necessities for the families living there, said David Chilinski, the project's architect.
Chilinski gave a presentation about the project to the dozen or so people who attended Monday's meeting at Jamaicaway Towers. He said the lower floors would have a brick facade to match neighboring apartments. The design would become more modern on upper floors. The building would have an interior courtyard. A parking garage would have 176 spaces, plus room for one bicycle per unit.
Not all residents spoke critically of the project.
Carlos Icaza, a longtime resident and business person, encouraged the Pond Association to consider the economic benefits of not only the 195 units in this proposal, but also the similar number eyed nearby at 161 S. Huntington. He said the influx of new residents would increase business at restaurants, dry cleaners and local schools.
Developers said they had considered building medical offices instead. The rental units will be aimed at professionals who work in the Longwood Medical area, said Anthony Nader of Cedar Valley, the development group building the project.
"There's a demand for quality housing," Nader said.
Do you have comments about this proposal?
The deadline to file them with the Boston Redevelopment Authority has been extended to Monday, Aug. 27, according to Kiefer. A detailed 287-page prospectus on the project is attached to this post as a PDF.
Comments may be mailed to:
Boston Redevelopment Authority
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201-1007
Or emailed to him at John.Fitzgerald.BRA@cityofboston.gov.
[Editor's note: Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader, I've updated the section about how many affordable units are proposed. Also, I had linked to the wrong meeting. The previously listed Aug. 15 meeting is about the 161 S. Huntington Ave. project, not this one.]