Neighborhood Committee Okays Fried Chicken Place’s Mixed-Use Transformation

Plan for 3383-3389  Washington St., former home of Royal Fried Chicken.

Boston Property Inc.

Plan for 3383-3389 Washington St., former home of Royal Fried Chicken.

A stretch of Washington Street most famous as the former home of Royal Fried Chicken has taken two more steps toward becoming 21 apartments and two new retail spaces.

The plan for 3383-3389 Washington St. won approval Wednesday from the zoning committee of the JP Neighborhood Council. In late January, the project passed muster with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, according to the Gazette.

But not all the red tape is done. The project moves on the Board of Zoning Appeals, where it’s scheduled for a Feb. 24 hearing, said Joe Hanley, attorney for the mixed-use development. Aspects of the project that don’t meet the city’s zoning code include that the parcel is zoned industrial, which doesn’t include allowing multi-family housing.

It also doesn’t have enough off-street parking to meet zoning requirements. However, Mayor Marty Walsh has tapped JP as a corridor where “transit oriented development” will be encouraged. That means less parking and more units, on the theory that being so near Green Street T lessens the need for so many spaces.

The project will face its next hurdle with the unanimous backing of the zoning committee of the JP Neighborhood Council.

Rave Reviews

The project got rave reviews. It involves tearing down the existing building, combining two parcels and erecting a four-story building with 21 residential units, 23 parking spaces and two retail spaces on the first floor.

“They did so many things that were helpful for the neighborhood,” said Fred Vetterlein of the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association. “We’re very much in favor of this project.”

Representatives of the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association, on reading Vetterlein’s quote, wrote to say he does not speak for the association on this matter. The association is taking no position on 3383-3389 Washington St.

Boston Property Development plans to build on a 17,000 square foot lot wedged between Schell Printing and Express Pizza opposite the BMS retail warehouse.

The $3.5 million dollar development would feature a fourth-floor penthouse set back from the lower floors. Plans also include 20 covered parking spaces under the second floor adjoining the retail spaces.

The new building will have strong brick face set back from Washington Street and a distinctive flat roofed bay of lighter materials set at the south corner to emphasize the residential entrance, as Peter McLaughlin of Boston Property explained in a previous community meeting.. The building is designed by Studio 47 Architects of Sudbury and Jon Hanson, architect and vice president of design for Boston Property.

The building will replace what McLaughlin has called “the infamous chicken restaurant,” saying that’s not the highest and best use for the property.

Hanson, the architect, said he is particularly proud of the set back penthouse that adds a fourth flour while reducing the visual height of the building. Built of lighter materials, it will be attached to the tower. The tower will be provide access to the four penthouse apartments and include one bedroom for unit #20. The setback will provide a deck for the four apartments and include a safety rail.

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3383- 3389 Washington Street. Boston Property plans to build a planned 21 unit apartment house with two ground floor retail. spaces.

3383- 3389 Washington Street. Boston Property plans to build a planned 21 unit apartment house with two ground floor retail. spaces. Richard Heath photo

Affordable Housing

Hanley, attorney for the project, said the development exceeds the city requirement  for affordable apartments. Boston Property is offering four apartments at the city mandate of 70 percent Boston Area Median income (AMI).

The city’s requirement is 15 percent of the market-rate units should be priced in the affordable range. That would’ve been just three units.

Here’s a little perspective on what AMI actually means. A two-person household at 70 percent of Boston AMI would need to earn no more than $52,700 a year.  A one bedroom apartment would rent for $1,190 a month.  A two-member household living in a one bedroom would therefore pay $14,280 a year for rent. That’s about a third of their annual income.

Developers said the current plan is for apartments, but they conceded Wednesday the units might wind up being sold as condos.

[Editor’s note: We’ve added context about the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association’s position on this project.]

Previous related coverage on Jamaica Plain News:

Goodbye Fried Chicken, Hello Penthouses