Roslindale Infill and Small Developments

PaulC

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New three-story office and commercial retail building at 4238 Washington St.

http://www.bulletinnewspapers.com/d...&pform=&sc=1725&hn=bulletinnewspapers&he=.com
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
Here is a history of the site:
http://roslindalebulletin.com/defau...&pform=&sc=1725&hn=bulletinnewspapers&he=.com
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
 

HenryAlan

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This building is nearing completion (obviously they missed the late 2010 target date). Unfortunately I have not documented the construction, but I'll try to get some pictures of it to post in the thread.

Overall, it is going to be a great addition to the triangular Rosi Square by creating the third wall around Adams Park. An interesting feature is the inclusion of what appears to be an arched pedestrian arcade. I had thought the archways would be display windows for the store fronts, but now it is clear that the store front windows are dropped back from the columns which is a very attractive feature. The only issue I have with how it will fit in regards the library next door. It's an abrupt height change from 1 story to 3. It would be cool if the project had included an upward addition to the library building.

This is just the kind of project we need to see in outlying neighborhoods -- taller, pedestrian oriented mixed use buildings. I'm so glad we didn't get a strip mall.

PS: just found this thread while contemplating creating a Parkway Development thread. There are a few other interesting projects in Boston's South West corner either underway, approved, or proposed. I'll try to gather a few of them here, and see if we can get this thread going a bit.
 

HenryAlan

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PPS: why is this thread under existing development? Shouldn't it be considered new development?
 

blade_bltz

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Ah, yes, I've been wondering about this building. I look forward to any pics you can take.

There are a bunch of interesting plans for densifying the commercial squares of Hyde Park, but the NIMBY backlash has been typical. I'm not holding out any hope.
 

PaulC

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Roslindale Substation

If you are a consistent reader to the HBI blog, you’ll know that Roslindale Village Main Streets (RVMS) and HBI have been working on a plan for the Roslindale Substation building that sits overlooking Adam’s Park. The community has long supported the reuse of the building and the two groups are now excited that they have a viable option for the space.

The Roslindale Substation building now has a proposed reuse that will continue to engage the community surrounding the Adam’s Park area as a Function Hall/Event Space.


RVMS and HBI feel that the repurposing of the building will:


• Bring people into the building and the neighborhood


• Match a use to the building that will be financially self-supporting


• Make improvements to the building that will ensure its longevity


• Keep the space in a flexible layout


As a member of the RVMS committee that has worked on this project, as well a Roslindale resident, I’m very excited about how this space as a function hall will bring additional energy to this corner of Roslindale Village.

The next step for RVMS and HBI is to meet with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, which is the current owner of the property. Stay tuned to track our progress.
http://www.historicbostonblog.org/2011/08/roslindale-substation-possibilities.html

Is there any reason the T doesn't extend the Orange Line a stop or two. Seems like it would be a cheap and easy and needed. This area seems ideal for a new stop
 

palindrome

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HenryAlan

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Re: Roslindale Substation

They would need to add more tracks, unless they commit to running orange line out till Needham. Commuter rail would get in the way. I don't think there is enough room for triple tracking.
There is enough room if they take some land from the Arboretum (or abutting backyards). The Arboretum option seems reasonable, as it is not part of the landscaped/groomed portion of the park. The extension would also require a new bridge at Busey St. As I see it, these are not significant obstacles logistically or financially. Etending to Rozzie Square would be a huge efficiency gain over the ten bus lines that currently run from there to Forest Hills via Washington St. Extending beyond there can only be done with some private land takings, and does not have the added appeal of bus consolidation. But a 1 mile extension to Roslindale makes so much sense, I can't figure out why there isn't more discussion of the idea.
 

BostonUrbEx

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Re: Roslindale Substation

But a 1 mile extension to Roslindale makes so much sense, I can't figure out why there isn't more discussion of the idea.
It may seem simple, but nothing is ever simple with the T. Look how close we are to having the Green Line to Medford, look how the ROW is wide enough, how the community is throwing themselves at the T. And yet... delay... delay. Delay. DELAY. DELAYDELAYDELAY AFTER DELAY. MBTA can't do shit.

And I'm sure they'd inflate the hell out of the costs.
 

JonFrum

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Re: Roslindale Substation

There is enough room if they take some land from the Arboretum (or abutting backyards). The Arboretum option seems reasonable, as it is not part of the landscaped/groomed portion of the park. The extension would also require a new bridge at Busey St. As I see it, these are not significant obstacles logistically or financially. Etending to Rozzie Square would be a huge efficiency gain over the ten bus lines that currently run from there to Forest Hills via Washington St. Extending beyond there can only be done with some private land takings, and does not have the added appeal of bus consolidation. But a 1 mile extension to Roslindale makes so much sense, I can't figure out why there isn't more discussion of the idea.

So how much money are you (we) going to pay to save the trouble of a few bus stops? Given that the T is in crisis mode, just where does this money come from?
 
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HenryAlan

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@jonfrum:

I suppose you can make that argument about anything and everything. Is it a priority to have a public transit system that cleanly and quickly moves a large number of people? If yes, then we find the money. It would cost about 5% of the cost to bring commuter rail to SE Mass., which will transport about 5% of the total that would ride an Orange Line extension. Yet the Commonwealth thinks we can afford New Bedford and Fall River.
 

JonFrum

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@jonfrum:

I suppose you can make that argument about anything and everything. Is it a priority to have a public transit system that cleanly and quickly moves a large number of people? If yes, then we find the money. It would cost about 5% of the cost to bring commuter rail to SE Mass., which will transport about 5% of the total that would ride an Orange Line extension. Yet the Commonwealth thinks we can afford New Bedford and Fall River.

I don't understand where you think a huge efficiency gain comes from. Forest Hills to Roslindale sq. is about a mile and a quarter. So you're saving a few bus stops from the trip. Unless you live within walking distance of the Square, what does it matter? You're going to pay all that money to transfer people from buses to trains for a mile. You're not serving new riders, and your'e not taking much off the time the trip takes. The only way it makes sense is if you take it to Needham. Not only does Needham not want it, but West Roxbury doesn't even want it. And why would you run the route there in the first place when you already have a commuter line to Needham?
 

HenryAlan

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I don't understand where you think a huge efficiency gain comes from. Forest Hills to Roslindale sq. is about a mile and a quarter. So you're saving a few bus stops from the trip. Unless you live within walking distance of the Square, what does it matter? You're going to pay all that money to transfer people from buses to trains for a mile. You're not serving new riders, and your'e not taking much off the time the trip takes. The only way it makes sense is if you take it to Needham. Not only does Needham not want it, but West Roxbury doesn't even want it. And why would you run the route there in the first place when you already have a commuter line to Needham?
Prior to Roslindale Square, the buses serve different routes, but then they all run down Washington St., which is highly congested. It's not about eliminating a few stops, it's about eliminating dozens of buses idling in traffic with a much faster and less polluting rail option. If it weren't easy to extend the line, or there wasn't so much bus redundancy, I wouldn't advocate for it.

It doesn't need to go further for it to make sense. I mean, why have it go as far as Forest Hills when you could just substitute a few bus stops? My question to you is how you can't see rail as preferable in such a congested corridor.
 

PaulC

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Many of the nimby's who are opposed to the development plans for the Forest Hill Station area based their opposition on the congestion of the busses. That's when I first stated to thing extending the Orange line at least one stop would be a good idea.
 

JonFrum

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Many of the nimby's who are opposed to the development plans for the Forest Hill Station area based their opposition on the congestion of the busses. That's when I first stated to thing extending the Orange line at least one stop would be a good idea.

So then you just push the same NIMBYism out another mile. The whole point of smart growth is to put the people where the transportation is. Forest Hills is a transportation hub, and is exactly where growth should be. The problem with the Forest Hills development project is that holding 'community meetings' allows every last entitled yuppie asshat to think that he or she should have veto power over development and get to decide what gets built. That has nothing to do with where the terminal station ends up.
 

Ron Newman

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All those buses are already in Roslindale Square, so terminating them there (at an extended Orange Line station) won't increase congestion in Rozzie but will decrease it in Forest Hills. Seems like a worthy goal to me.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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All those buses are already in Roslindale Square, so terminating them there (at an extended Orange Line station) won't increase congestion in Rozzie but will decrease it in Forest Hills. Seems like a worthy goal to me.
True, but it would increase pollution with all those idling buses.
 

HenryAlan

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Ron Newman

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As fast-food chains go, Subway is fairly innocuous and low-key. We have a few scattered around Somerville, but they haven't put any of the local places out of business.
 

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