Developer Eyeing New Residential Project at Forest Hills

Preliminary plans are being discussed for a 260-unit residential development at the LAZ parking lot across from the Forest Hills T station where Washington Street meets the Arborway, the JP Gazette reported this week.

The owner of Criterion Development Partners told the Gazette in an interview that he’s held six meetings with groups and individuals in the area. The company intends to file a project notification form with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) in the next couple of months..

Based on the preliminary plans, the development would include three-, five- and six-story buildings containing residential units, an underground garage, additional surface parking and 6,000 square feet of retail space.

The BRA’s spokesperson says the agency has had preliminary talks with the developer, and has emphasized that any formal proposal should align with the ongoing JP-Rox planning process, which is looking at development along the Washington Street corridor from Forest Hills to Jackson Square.

For more details, read the full story in the Gazette.

If the project moves forward, this development could be the latest in a string of residential projects in Forest Hills as developers increasingly aim to create housing near transportation hubs. The 283-unit Commons at Forest Hills Station project is under construction, and 124 residential units are on tap at the so-called “Parcel U” on Hyde Park Avenue near Ukraine Way. And, of course, the Casey Overpass project is ongoing; MassDOT officials recently announced that its completion date has been delayed for a year.

  • Red brener

    Who the hell does the traffic studies? The developers? The traffic in this area is already brutal. Just what we need 200+ apts.

    • Brian P Murray

      We do actually need 200+ apartments. In fact, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council estimates we need 400,000 new units in the metro area to prevent serious job loss.

      Every neighborhood is going to have to accommodate more density, to mitigate the housing crisis.

      • Scott

        A BS stat from a biased source. MAPC’s mission is to “promote growth.” I bet they really care about our quality of life.

        • Brian P Murray

          The MAPC is not a shill for developers. Nor does it have any ulterior motive. It’s a governmental (non-profit) state agency governed by state and municipal representatives.

          Its function is to help coordinate planning on a regional level, recognizing that when single entities and locales act alone, they often fail to address regional needs, such as housing.

          Put simply, when residents from EVERY community say “build it somewhere else” (and implement local zoning accordingly), nothing gets built. The crisis then worsens.

          Organizations such as the MAPC help us see the BIG picture (rather than obsess over our own “little patch”), and plan accordingly.

          The MAPC’s study has been cited by WBUR, NECN, and the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. Professor Barry Bluestone of Northeastern has voiced similar concerns.

          Harvard Professors William J. Poorvu and Michael A. Wheeler attribute insane housing prices ($3,500 for a dilapidated 500sqft rental in Cambridge?) to the anemic pace of new construction to meet demand. They also fault the failure of regional planning, overly restrictive local zoning, and local NIMBYism, as major culprits behind the housing shortage.

          Back in 2012 former Governor Deval Patrick recognized that we needed to build 10,000 units per YEAR, which is in line with MAPC’s recommendations for the Metro area. Mayor Walsh’s proposed contribution of 53,000 units in Boston would be a (somewhat disappointingly) modest contribution towards putting a dent in the problem.

          I don’t see any “BS” in MAPC’s numbers. Have you read their study, or how they arrived at these figures? Would you care to, or shall I summarize?

          The only “BS” I see in this thread is the denial of our severe inventory shortage, and the shamefully selfish attitudes of local NIMBYs I come across on a regular basis.

          • Vlad

            Great response! An impressively researched and well reasoned post.

            I wish the media would approach these topics with the same care and intelligence, rather than reasoning all of the intelligent thinking to the comment section.

          • Marty

            I thought there was a policy against such long “comments”. A link to a website would be more appropriate. Editors?

    • AlanThinks

      The solution to traffic problems is for people to stop driving and instead use public transit, bicycle, and walk.

    • Hugo_JP

      Sure, rush hours are bad and for now, traffic is “brutal” because of the Casey construction. If this complex is built, the Casey project will be finished (I hope!).
      200 new apartments does not mean 200 new cars driving around the intersection 24 hours/day. I’d guess that half the new residents will walk over and commute on the Orange line.

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