City Chooses JP Development Team for 52 Montebello Road

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RODE Architects

3200 Washington Street site plan showing building plan and interior open space

3200 Washington Street site plan showing building plan and interior open space

RODE Architects

3200 Washington Street site plan showing building plan and interior open space

Mark your calendars: Thursday, Aug. 13.  5:30 p.m. Boston Redevelopment Authority board room.

That's the day and time the BRA board will hear from and vote on the 3200 Washington Street/52 Montebello Road developments.

This date was set 24 hours after the Department of Neighborhood Development voted to designate 3190 Washington St. LCC as developer of 50-52 Montebello Road. The city chose them over a competing proposal from Oxbow Partners.

In an email message to the 3200 Washington St. Impact Advisory Group obtained by Jamaica Plain News, BRA project assistant Ed McGuire wrote Thursday afternoon:

"After many months of vetting, including an extended public comment period and several meetings  between the Impact Advisory Group and city leadership, we are now prepared to recommend that the proposal be presented to the Boston Redevelopment Authority Board of Directors at our next meeting on August 13, 2015."

3190 Washington St. LLC is the JP developer aiming to make a key Egleston parcel into a mixed retail and housing development.

"By acquiring 52 Montebello Road through DND's competitive request for proposals process, 3190 Washington St. LLC is now able to include the Montebello Road property as a component of the overall 3200 Washington St. project. The developers plan to construct six additional affordable units on the new site [that] will increase the affordability of the overall development [which] far exceeds the requirements of the city's Inclusionary Development Policy."

The alternative that wasn't chosen was for six home-ownership units.

McGuire added that the five BRA-sponsored meetings, three months of internal review plus a "60 plus day comment period allowed the BRA to address many of the outstanding concerns regarding the 3200 Washington St. proposal."

Chief among them was the height which the developers have agreed to reduce to six stories by removing the mezzanine structure.

These rapid mid-summer developments indicate how important the 3200 Washington/52 Montebello Road projects are to the city's two development arms; especially one week to the day after the BRA  kicked off its widely anticipated Washington Street Corridor Study.

The DND designation came almost one month after its July 1 public meeting  on 50/52 Montebello and three weeks after the comment period closed on July 15.

This is far less time than the 1-2 month designation schedule after the comment period closed, as suggested by DND senior development officer John Feuerbach on July 1.

In a message to Jamaica Plain News, Carolyn Royce of the Egleston Square Neighborhood Association wrote "everyone wants to see 52 Montebello renovated but the DND selection of 3190 Washington St. LLC is risky...their plans for 3200 Washington St. have met with significant neighborhood opposition."

Said Susan Pranger, also an ESNA member as well as member of the 3200 Washington St. Impact Advisory Group, "We understand that DND is responding to the overwhelming need for affordable rental housing by awarding 50-52 Montebelo to 3190 Washington St. LLC....but the fact remains that 3200 Washington St. has outstanding neighborhood concerns about affordability design and height.."

City Councilor Matt O'Malley told the JPNews that he is "thrilled" with the choice because it will "increase the number of affordable units."

Senator Sonia Chang Díaz took a broader view in her statement to the Jamaica Plain News.

"[I am] dedicated to ensuring that new developments meet the needs of the community which is why [I] stood with Rep. Liz Malia and Councilor Matt O'Malley to demand a Washington Street Corridor master plan."

In a joint statement from 3190 Washington St. LLC, Urban Edge and the JP Neighborhood Development Corp. received by the Jamaica Plain News late Thursday the team said, "3190 Washington St. LLC is excited to bring more affordable housing to Jamaica Plain. Our renovation and upgrade to the 'problem property' at 52 Montebello will bring six high-quality and all affordable rental units to an area that has experienced a shortage of rental units due to the rapid pace of condo conversions. The complete rehabilitation of the property will be privately funded by 3190 Washington St. LLC and transferred to Urban Edge/JPNDC for their experienced ownership and management as permanently affordable housing."

Affordable Housing Egleston did not agree with the 3190 Washington St. LLC team's definition of affordable. Here's a statement the group emailed to Jamaica Plain News:

"The housing that the developers are proposing at 52 Montebello Road is not truly affordable for the neighborhood, and it is just a pacifier to take away from the fact that they want to build even more unaffordable and expensive apartments at 3200 Washington Street. The community and the City should not accept this. DND should commit subsidies to make 52 Montebello Road truly affordable.  The BRA and the developers need to redo 3200 Washington Street so that families making $26,000 a year can afford to live there."