New three-story office and commercial retail building at 4238 Washington St.
Here is a history of the site:Scott Wachtler 05.FEB.09
Last week the Boston Redevelopment Authority approved the $5 million redevelopment of the gas station at 4238 Washington St. ? changing it from what residents have called an eyesore, into a three-story office and commercial retail building.
Once complete, the nearby Social Security Office will move into the second floor.
Last December, residents were allowed to comment during the public comment period and were generally pleased with the addition to the neighborhood.
Direct abutter, Mike Flynn, funeral director and manager of the F.J. Higgins Funeral Home & Cremation Service welcomes the addition to the neighborhood.
"I?m excited to see that the development was approved," Flynn said. "It will be nice to finally get that area cleaned and bring some more foot traffic into the area."
Flynn said the gas station site has been an eyesore to the neighborhood for a long time and hopes that it will help revitalize the entire area.
According to the plans the top two floors will be reserved for office space and the first floor will be reserved for commercial or restaurant space. The building?s first tenant will be the Social Security office on the second floor.
At the December BRA public meeting, the project?s architect, Richard Grinnell said there are no prospective tenants for the first floor?s retail/restaurant space yet. According to the design specifications, the first floor could be used by as many as three tenants, or possibly just one large tenant.
The 24,678 square foot project is being developed by Victor Kotslopoulos for the Family Reality Trust.
According to the BRA, the building will fit the look and feel of the existing neighborhood buildings. The exterior of the building will be red brick which is the material of the adjacent Roslindale Substation, library and the front of the Higgins? Funeral Home.
The streetscape along Washington Street will be improved with street lighting, trees, and concrete sidewalks.
Family Reality Trust plans to begin construction in the second quarter of 2009 with a completion date sometime in the fourth quarter of 2010. The project is expected to provide almost 50 construction jobs.
- The Bulletin Newspapers
Dana Forsythe 23.OCT.08
The abandoned gas station, as it?s derisively called by Roslindale residents, is finally up for a project review next week. At that time, the Mayor?s Office of Neighborhood Services will hold a meeting to discuss a proposal to develop the site.
Giannarikas Konstantino, the former owner has sat on the property for years, according to residents, and let the property fall into repair, so it?s no surprise that many Roslindale residents are excited about it being developed.
"It?s been closed for as long as I can remember," City Councilor Rob Consalvo?s aide Lee Blasi said. "And I?ve been here for six years."
"We want to see the gas station parcel developed in a manner consistent and beneficial to the Roslindale business district and neighborhood as a whole," Neighborhood Services representative Dave McNulty said. " This parcel has been an eyesore for too long and a project that compliments Roslindale?s commercial district is a top priority for the residents, neighborhood, civic organizations and the Mayor?s Office."
The current proposal is the first significant idea forwarded to the city in several years. According to McNulty, the project is a three-floor office and retail building that will go through the BRA?s Article 80 process.
According to the Suffolk County Registry of deeds and Inspectional Services records, the property has changed hands several times while lying unused over these many years. Most in the neighborhood view the property as a bane on Roslindale square.
There are stories of Konstantino living on the property, out of a van in the back of the abandoned store.
Mike Flynn, who works at the nearby F. J. Higgins Funeral Home, called the place "a complete dump."
"It was a chop shop years ago," he said. "I do know that the owner was living in a van out back. They finally towed it but there was some issue even with that." After feeling frustrated about the lack of maintenance, Flynn wrote a letter urging the site be cleaned up.
"They finally got it done, and now we?re back to square one," he said. "Lets just hope it gets developed."
Flynn is right to be cautious since several projects over the years have been proposed, and each one met its death soon after.
In 1997, a take out restaurant with a drive thru window was proposed and soon after, shot down.
As for upcoming plans, Flynn said he?ll be happy with anything, but he said he hopes the developers will allow access to the rear for added parking spaces.
"To close off the front of the building just doesn?t make sense," he said. "All they?d need would be a single curb cut."
Several officials have pointed to Konstantino as the reason the parcel was never fixed up.
"Every time, problems would come up, or the city would go after the property, he?d put the deed in a different name," a source said. "But the new owner is coming forward with this proposal now."
McNulty said the developer has been looking to relocate the nearby Social Security office to the three-story structure, freeing up street office space for prospective tenants.
"I think people are very anxious to see something there," Blasi said. "It?s been an eye sore for so long."
Lisa Modecker, president of the Roslindale Board of Trade, said she?s very excited to see plans for the development.
"Any movement on that property is good news," she said. "We?ve had so many possibilities for that space, but they?ve all been swept under the carpet."
Modecker believes the rumors of Konstantino living on the property for a while.
"There was definitely someone living there," she said. "You could see the lights come on at night time."
Modecker said she supports any development, but with a caveat:
"Parking is already congested. And I just think something smaller would be best. I think we need something in here to compliment what we already have. Something maybe more retail. Maybe a toy store. But it?s also got to be practical," she said.
"I?m hopeful that we?ll finally get something there that?s helpful for the business community."
- The Bulletin Newspapers