Photo taken from Site Review documents
Neighbors of a proposed two-building luxury apartment complex set to transform Marina Bay are still concerned about the size of the development despite additional attempts to scale back the project.
Initially, the developer planned to build 464 units in two phases. The first phase would go where the Water Club (formerly Marina Bay Beach Club and Waterworks) is located. A second phase would replace the boat storage at the waterfront for additional apartments.
Yet community members felt the plans were too expansive, and in response, the project was reduced to 401 units in September.
Since then, the size of the project has been reduced again to 382 units.
Within the first building, there are now 217 units being proposed, largely due to a truncation of the building, which pushed the façade back 20 feet.
Overall, the building’s footprint will be smaller, and the building’s underground garage will be smaller.
The second building will remain at 165 units though the configuration of the rooms has been altered.
Though the project is still undergoing Planning Board site review, and comments from a peer review are now being looked over, residents are still hesitant about a large project coming to a waterfront that is already crowded.
“The buildings are large buildings and they are worried about the visual impact of large buildings,” said Brian McNamee, the Ward 6 councilor.
Traffic and parking are also already problematic. Though developers have conducted traffic reviews that Planning Board members are reviewing, neighbors are unconvinced that the traffic over the Neponset River Bridge and limited parking could be improved by the addition.
“Businesses are very concerned about impacts on parking. That has been really something they are concerned about,” McNamee said. “They don’t want viability of boardwalk business affected by additional competition for parking spaces.”
The burden the project might put on utilities is also of concern.
Yet the concerns are all part of the discussion process, McNamee said.
“There’s been a lot of feedback and comment, and it’s still a very fluid development proposal, and I’m going to look for the planning board and [Planning Director] Dennis Harrington to hammer out some of the metrics that are so important here,” McNamee said.
According to Harrington, the process is progressing. In addition to two public hearings to solicit feedback from neighbors, the Planning Board is ready to approve a preliminary layout plan for the roadway network and utilities.
Anticipating a timely filing of finalized roadway documents, there will be a formal final public hearing on those documents on Jan. 9.
“Once the roadway and utility issues are settled, the Planning Board will move on to the development program, the buildings and the site, because we want the site to be developed properly – boardwalk, landscape, other amenities on the site,” Harrington said.
Though things are progressing, Harrington didn’t anticipate any kind of construction at the site for several years, especially considering the permitting process that the project has to undergo with the Zoning Board and Conservation Commission.
If there are any delays, it’s because of the several permutations of the plans.
“This whole permit process at the Planning Board will occur certainly within February and March,” Harrington said. “And when they are going to get out of the permit business, between all the agencies they need permits from, I can’t tell you that. I’m hoping they give me a set of plans that’s adequate for a legal notice that’s permissible for January.”
For more information or updates on the project, visit the city’s website.