Green Street Condo Building Approved by Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council Zoning Committee unanimously approved a 9-unit, 3-story condominium building at 65 Green St. at its May 4 meeting.

Revised design in more traditional lines

Embarc Architects

The revised design includes more traditional lines with cornice and bays. The right bay doors open to the car lift.

Designed by Embarc Studio, an architecture and design firm, the building is unique in three ways; The owner of the property Ricardo Austrich, Sr. not only  has been involved in the planning, but will live in a ground floor unit; It will have the first below-grade car lift parking garage in Jamaica Plain that will include all nine parking spaces on site; And the developer Watermark Development absorbed the costs of changing the design from a contemporary to a traditional design and reduced the height to three stories at the request of abutting resident property owners.

In order to reduce the height from 55 feet to 38-feet 6-inches and at the same time address neighbors concerns about parking, the developers designed a car lift in the ground floor garage. The total development cost is estimated to be $4.3 million; the underground parking and car lift line item is estimated at $32o,000 to build.

More than 30 abutting condominium owners attended the two-hour hearing and speakers voiced only minor quibbles. Julieanne Doherty of the Mayors Office of Neighborhood Services said the community process was “incredible” and she praised the developers and the new design.

Jeff Goodman. Watermark Development; architect Dartagnan Brown Embarc and Lee Goodman. Watermark .

Richard Heath

Left to right: Jeff Goodman, of Watermark Development, architect Dartagnan Brown of Embarc Studio, and Lee Goodman of Watermark .

“We listened to the neighbors,” said Lee Goodman of Watermark Development, as he introduced the development. “We have been cooperative and we have unprecedented support.”

Watermark also developed 14-18 Warren Square nearby that has been well received as some speakers noted at the hearing.

There was only one opponent, an abutter who shares a wall with the existing building, but does not live there. That abutter objected to the size, scale and proximity of the wall.

JP Neighborhood Council Zoning Committee Chair Dave Baron said he had received a petition signed by many people that objected to modern designs for new buildings being built in Jamaica Plain. The petitioners wanted buildings to look more like the neighborhood around it and maintain the historic character of the neighborhood.

65 Green Street. A garage and candy distribution warehouse

Richard Heath

The current building at 65 Green St. includes a garage and candy distribution warehouse.

The current building on the site is a one-story brick auto repair shop and garage built in 1932. In 1983 Maracas Distributors opened a warehouse for candy and bakery goods on the site.

Voting in favor of the development, Zoning Committee member Marie Turley said, “We are losing a piece of Jamaica Plain history, but making history by building a traditional design.”

Zoning Committee member Stephen Lussier said, “This is the model for all community processes. I have heard nothing but positive feedback. This team listened to the neighbors.”

The Zoning Committee was very attentive to the one opponent in its vote. The motion to approve the project contained a three-point amendment.  First — the right side bay should be pulled back 6 inches. Two — the landscape buffer between 65 Green St. and Alfred Street should be a tiered retaining wall with high quality plantings on top and the side; Third — that a covered trash shed be built on that right side.

Watermark will go before the Boston Zoning Board of Appeal on June 7.

First floor plan/ showing two units, lobby .car lift stairwell and handicapped vehicle space. Unit 1 will be fully accessible.

Embarc Architects

The first floor plan includes two units, a lobby, a car lift stairwell and a handicapped vehicle space. Unit 1 will be fully accessible.

The first design rejected by the neighbors,

Embarc Architects

The first design rejected by the neighbors.

  • Sully

    What is the historic character the neighbors are so concerned about preserving? Looking like a dump?

    • supply&demand band

      be careful what you say. some people on this forum will take it out of context and try to say you are calling the entire neighborhood a dump. obviously anyone who takes this historical character argument has just run out of defenses to try and obstruct a really nice new development. perhaps they are just jealous they won’t be living in a nice new place.

  • Pat Roberets

    One of the nice things about living in a city, instead of in a suburb, is that there is such diversity in architectural styles. it’s really interesting to have buildings representing different times and different ideas right next to each other. It’s like walking through history. I don’t think JP benefits from a Levittown look, and I’m always sorry to see that pressure on designers and developers. Also, what is this petition that David Baron says he has? What does it say, and how many people signed it? Waving around a piece of paper and asserting it supports your views was discredited with Sen. Joe McCarthy, many years ago.

  • kinopio

    $320,000 for a lift for 9 cars. Ridiculous. The condos would be so much cheaper without that. Another great example of prioritizing cars over people. This is the #1 reason Boston is so expensive. Cars take up billions of dollars worth of property.

    • Eric Herot

      By my math that works out to about $35,500 extra per condo unit in a spot that’s 6 minutes from the train station. And that’s *on top of* whatever was already proposed by the developer. Boston has some of the highest construction costs in the nation, and this is the reason.

      I’m definitely planning on showing up at the May 24th meeting to make my thoughts on the matter known. I hope I can also count on other rational folks to be there expressing their minds as well.

  • Quimby

    I am a resident of one of the elder Mr Goodman’s prior developments in JP. His poor design and material choices, coupled with lax construction supervision severely compromised our condo association’s physical structures and ability to adequately fund our reserves due to continual remedial capital expenditures. It set the association back several years in reserves on top of significant special assessments. His maneuvering of his Watermark Development ownership left this association with limited options legally to compensate owners for repair. I question whether Monsieurs Goodman truly have community support had this development been more publicly known to JP residents, not just minor neighbor “quibbles”. This should be considered in the zoning commitee’s decision.

    • Sully

      Weren’t his design and material choices forced upon him by the neighborhood, just like here?

      • ricky bobby

        why do you still live there then?

  • modern warrior

    i like the first design better

  • Priscilla

    Qimby, this is terrible. But does the zoning committee have a way to know about this if members of the community don’t speak up to the Zoning Subcommittee? The next step in the process is that the proposal will be voted on by the full Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council at its May 24th meeting and the JPNC’s recommendation is given to the Boston Zoning Board of Appeal on June 7th. If you have important information like this, can you or someone else in your condo association attend the meeting to speak up about this?

    Re the petition: There were 98 signatures on a petition posted on change.org . You can read the petition and see names and comments from those who signed at https://www.change.org/p/watermark-development-maintain-the-historic-character-of-our-neighborhood

    • Sully

      I am sure the neighborhood got to micromanage his design and materials. If there was really defective construction then Quimby and the other owners could sue. So we don’t know how “terrible” it actually is.

    • Green bean team

      Do you realize a large amount of the signatures are from people not even in this state?

  • lowrow

    I’m disappointed in the revised design. It is completely unremarkable. It would be nice to have a mix of new and old continue on Green Street.

    But the design idiom is much less worrisome than the presence of garage doors right on the street. There are only a few of these now on Green Street and they are not a good addition. The design could have been revised to make the pedestrian entrance more prominent and the car entrance less so.

    It is possible to build out to the edges of a property and do it well. This isn’t that.