(Image courtesy Google Maps)
A group of developers went before South Boston residents Monday night to talk about a prominent parcel in the community, but unlike most projects, they didn't have a plan to present.
Close to 50 residents filled St. Brigid’s Cushing Hall to hear from David Goldman and Dennis Kanin, principals with New Boston Ventures, about the possibility of them building housing at 945 East Broadway. The property is one of the largest developable parcels in the immediate area and is known for its red colonial-style home and historical ties. It is also located across from the Collins Mansion, which is being redeveloped.
Although Goldman and Kanin do not own the property, they do have it under agreement.
Neither would disclose the price they were willing to pay for the approximately 29,000-square-foot property and the approximately 1,800-square-foot structure that sits on it, but it has been listed in the past for upwards of $4-million.
At Monday’s meeting the developers said they wanted to come to the community first to hear what would and what wouldn’t work for neighbors before the developers begin to create their own designs for the space.
“We really just came to listen,” said Goldman. “We understand the purpose of creating consensus in the community.”
New Boston Ventures, which is based in the South End, has been in business since the late-80s. Its portfolio includes projects across the Boston Metro Area such as The Allen House in the South End and the Salem jail development.
Current zoning code would allow them to build up to 17 residential units on the parcel, said Goldman.
He quickly added that they were not interested in something like that and were curious what residents in the immediate area would like to see.
“We’re here to see how we can become part of the community,” Goldman said.
Many at Wednesday’s meeting had a list of concerns, from an increase in traffic and density to the loss of on-street parking.
“It should be designed in a way that it’s not looming over the community and fits in,” said James DiPerri, who lives next to the property on Farragut Road.
In addition to fitting into the community, DiPerri added that open space, no roof decks, and a building that was set back from the street are priorities.
Others said units that bring families to the community would be a plus.
“It seems that larger units that attract families are important,” said Dom Lange.
Some were concerned that the units would be rented to young people.
“They don’t care about the neighborhood the way we do. We grew up here,” said Mary Teresa DiPerri.
Goldman said the majority of his properties are geared toward homeownership and that if needed language could be written into the units' contracts restricting the rental of the properties for a certain amount of time.
Overall the main themes from Monday’s meeting were the preservation of open space, parking, and protecting the character of the community.
Goldman said that he and Kanin will be back before residents once a deal has been stuck and they have developed preliminary plans for the parcel.
The property was assessed in 2013 for an estimated $803,000, according to the city’s Assessing Department.