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Proposed Egleston Square project would remove blighted building

Posted by Patrick Rosso  August 1, 2013 02:08 PM

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(Image courtesy Google Maps)


The location of the proposed project.


With an ambitious plan. the Elizabeth Stone House is seeking to transform a long derelict warehouse on Washington Street in Roxbury into a vibrant space for homeless families and the neighborhood.

Representative from the Roxbury based non-profit were before the community Wednesday night to pitch a plan to raze the single-story structure that is currently located at 3012 Washington St. in Egleston Square and in its place construct a four-story structure for 27-units in addition to community programming and childcare space.

“We know there is a greater need than we can meet and our response is this project,” James May, director of development for the Elizabeth Stone House, explained to the small audience of residents who gathered at the Egleston Square YMCA Wednesday.

The Elizabeth Stone House was founded in 1974 with the mission to help families and individuals through their battles with homelessness, domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental illness. The organization primarily serves those from the communities of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Jamaica Plain with a series of programs including housing, counseling, and transitional services, according to its website.

It currently has a facility on Notre Dame Street in Roxbury and once the new location is constructed all services will be moved to the Washington Street building.

The approximate 29,000 square-foot parcel and the structure that resides on it was purchased by the Elizabeth Stone House in April for an estimated $750,000, according to Nancy Owens Hess, executive director of the Elizabeth Stone House.

Hess estimated that the project will cost close to $15-million dollars. Although the organization still needs to raise the necessary funds for the project, representatives said they’d like to break ground in two years.

At Wednesday’s meeting representatives from the architecture firm The Narrow Gate laid out the basics of the proposed structure.

Of the 27-units, six will be one-bedrooms, 12 will be two-bedrooms, eight will be three-bedrooms, and one will be a four-bedroom. Eight of the units will be dedicated to permanent housing, with the rest set aside for transitional housing.

The new building, which will hug the corner of Washington Street and Westminster Avenue, will for the most part fit in the current building’s footprint, but will be set back at least five-feet from the curb on Westminster Avenue. The current building comes up to the property line.

The main entrance to the building will face Washington Street and will include a small outdoor plaza. The ground floor will house 9,200 square-feet of programming and office space, 3,600 square-feet of which can be used for community events such as public meetings and neighborhood association gatherings.

The units will be housed in the top three floors of the new building and the rear of the ground floor will be dedicated to 6,800 square-feet space for a childcare center.

Parking for 20 vehicles will be located at the rear of the building with the entrance and exit off of Westminster Street. The “urban wild” behind the current structure, which for the most part is too steep to be built on, will remain for the most part unchanged.

At Wednesday’s meeting an estimated five residents were in attendance. Many voiced excitement to see something happen to long abandoned structure that currently sits on the site, but some did have concerns about how the drastic change from a one-story building to a four-story building could impact the surrounding community.

“I’m very uneasy about this,” said Richard Heath, a 67-year-old Jamaica Plain resident. “I think what the Elizabeth Stone House does is important, but I think that building is too big for Westminster Avenue.”

“It would make me uneasy to look across at what was once a one-story building and see this four-story building that being said it [the project] will remove years of blight,” he added.

Kevin Yearwood, who attended Wednesday’s meeting on behalf of his mother-in-law who lives behind the parcel, seconded Heath’s comments.

“It’s a major change for the neighborhood and the people that will look right at it,” he said.

The project is expected to go before the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s Board August 15 and the 30-day public comment period for the project will end August 9.

Comments must be written, faxed, or emailed to the BRA by August 9.

Email: lance.campbell.bra@cityofboston.gov

Fax: (617) 742-4464

Mail: John Fitzgerald
Boston Redevelopment Authority
One City Hall Square, 9th Floor, Boston, Ma 02201


Cawrtpture.JPG

(Image courtesy The Narrow Gate)


A rendering of the proposed strucuture.

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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.


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