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Old 09-22-2014, 04:15 PM   #1
rinserepeat
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Under Construction A. O. Flats | Parcel U | Jamaica Plain

meeting tonight:

http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthor...jects/parcel-u

I've been impressed with the urbanica proposals - those townhouses look very interesting and should help activate that section of hyde park ave... the rail side of the project looks a little scary - maybe they can put a bike path back there? needs some landscaping...

Anyway - this whole area is going to be transformed with the next few years.
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Old 09-22-2014, 05:54 PM   #2
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

Even for stupid boston standards it's insane how the neighborhood has been successful in making sure all we get are triple deckers next to a major rail, bus and subway hub, on blighted ground.
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Old 09-22-2014, 07:12 PM   #3
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

These guys typically do good work, they're good at making something new fit in. What I personally dislike is that they've penciled in fences on both the front and back yards of these properties, separating neighbors from each other, narrowing the amount of useable space, and generally making things ugly.
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Old 09-23-2014, 05:33 PM   #4
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

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Even for stupid boston standards it's insane how the neighborhood has been successful in making sure all we get are triple deckers next to a major rail, bus and subway hub, on blighted ground.
Agree——this should be called underdevelopment rather than development. Then again traffic/parking considerations for current residents guides new planning more often than not it seems.

That said I do like the townhouse design, stylish and 21st century.
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Old 11-07-2014, 08:10 AM   #5
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

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Giant ‘Parcel U’ Development Nears Final Approval

By: RICHARD HEATH | 22 HOURS AGO



The community process for one of the largest residential developments in the history of Forest Hills is over — except for a public hearing on variances from the zoning code the 124-unit project might need.


Parcel U, as the property is known in MBTA lingo, sits on the skinny three-acre strip between Hyde Park Avenue and the train tracks south of Ukraine Way. It includes 124 homes in a cluster of nine duplex ownership row houses and one rental multi-family building.

The public comment period for the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s public process ended Oct. 10. Here’s what we found in a review of the feedback Forest Hills residents gave the project.

Eight comment letters were received; three in full support and two highly critical of the number of affordable town homes and apartments (Affordable meaning sale prices and rents scaled at 60 percent of the Boston Area Median Income; a one1bedroom apartment or town house would be priced for those earning $39,600 according to federal guidelines for 2014; a three bedroom would be scaled to those earning $51,000.)

An Eldridge Road resident wrote that the development would “strengthen the neighborhood” while a Wachusett Street resident was not in favor of the “large apartment building.”

Another Wachusett Street resident wrote that 35 percent of the units listed as “affordable was too many…we do not need to exceed the city requirement for affordable housing.”

A Rodman Street couple cautioned that this was “the first residential project in the area…it needs to set a precedent for future residential development.”

Setting this precedent was clearly in the minds of the the development partnership team of Urbanica Inc. and its mixed-income rental partner The Community Builders. Before submitting the Project Notification Form to the city, Urbanica/Community Builders held three community meetings of its own in January and February. Those meeting led to changes to their original plans.

These changes — notably spreading the duplex row houses into nine clusters instead of one long building, creating parks and moving the townhouses away from Tollgate cemetery — were reflected in the Expanded Project Notification Form filed with the BRA on Aug. 1 as required by Article 80 of the zoning code.

The Redevelopment Authority scheduled two back-to-back community meetings in September to allow area residents and the six-member Impact Advisory Group to review and comment on the project.

Parcel U at Forest Hills fits well within the guidelines of the 2008 Forest Hills Improvement Initiative, explained senior project manager Tyler Norod in a recent conversation with The News. The Initiative called for 150 units on that site and Urbanica/Builders have proposed 124.

“The next milestone,” said Norod, “is that the development team is now eligible to go before the BRA board for its approval.”

The team will probably meet with the Redevelopment Authority at its Nov. 13 meeting.

“Before that the BRA staff has to be comfortable with the community concerns”, said Norod.

The developers have already complied with the Forest Hills Initiative as well as community concerns about spreading out the condominium row houses into clusters and moving the first row house cluster further away from at Tollgate cemetery.

“A big, obvious” concern said Norod was the request that the planned parks be open to the public.

“There are two owners, each with responsibility for its parks,” he said.

The Community Builders will build, own and manage the five-story multi-family building at Ukraine Way and Hyde Park Avenue and the adjacent park will come under use guidelines they draw up. The other two small parks at the town houses will be the responsibility of the condominium association which will manage the cluster housing.

Norod said that the Redevelopment Authority staff and legal department will review these park use guidelines as well as other community benefits which the developers committed themselves to do such as sidewalks, street lights, street trees and specifying how the community room will be made available.

The Impact Advisory Group met with the development team for the first and last time on Sept. 23 to review their presentation. (This writer was at that time a member of the IAG. He has since resigned).

Norod said that neighborhood group will be kept open to monitor any future change in the builders’ plans. One “big change” might be with the number of units in the apartment building if The Community Builders is unable to get the necessary tax credits to fund. This was one reason why the project was divided into phases – with the first phase planned to break ground in 2015 and phase three in 2017.

Once the Redevelopment Authority approves the project, it will go before the Zoning Board of Appeals. The developers already had a meeting with the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council zoning committee on Feb. 5.

That means it’s conceivable Parcel U may get full approval by the end of the year.

The Forest Hills Ad Hoc Development Committee, a 16-member group formed by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council, has created four subcommittees, one which is focusing on Parcel U.
Jamaica Plain News
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Old 11-07-2014, 11:02 AM   #6
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

Build it. I'm from jp this would be a massive improvement.
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:07 PM   #7
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

I'd like to see some higher density near hubs like Forest Hills, personally. I'm not saying 20 storys but more than 4.
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:07 PM   #8
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

Huge positive for the area (though for the location the height is absurd - the townhouse stretch should have been 6 stories and the big building 9 or 10). I wonder of they could ever build a pedestrian bridge across the tracks. Actually, wish they had just extended Walk Hill across to Washington.
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:22 PM   #9
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

9-10 stories isn't going to happen here. I agree it would be better but this isn't anywhere near downtown. There is nothing over 4 stories in a huge radius of this (except for the medical building nearby but that doesn't affect any residential really and is isolated). remember jackson square (that we all love) is only 6 stories this is farther from downtown than that. I think this adds a lot of density. 124 units is a lot, bigger than some downtown projects. But it keeps the character of the area. Keep it as is and build it now.
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:28 PM   #10
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

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Originally Posted by coleslaw View Post
Build it. I'm from jp this would be a massive improvement.
in one thread you say you grew up in savin hill the next you say your from jp lol
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:29 PM   #11
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

I have never said I grew up in Savin Hill...? what are you talking about
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Old 11-07-2014, 02:04 PM   #12
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

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Originally Posted by coleslaw View Post
9-10 stories isn't going to happen here. I agree it would be better but this isn't anywhere near downtown. There is nothing over 4 stories in a huge radius of this (except for the medical building nearby but that doesn't affect any residential really and is isolated). remember jackson square (that we all love) is only 6 stories this is farther from downtown than that. I think this adds a lot of density. 124 units is a lot, bigger than some downtown projects. But it keeps the character of the area. Keep it as is and build it now.
Brighton (4.5 miles from downtown) mostly consists of 2-4 story frame houses and apartment buildings. Yet New Balance, "THE CONTINUUM", the double tree, BU and 30 N. Beacon are all substantially taller. Forest Hills is only a half mile further, and has much better transit access. I call BS.

You can have a dense towne center with substantially taller buildings than the surrounding community and it has absolutely no effect on the character of the place. Well, except people have a place to live without cutting victorians up into ten studios. Especially with maximum potential development limited by the substantial amount of parkland, this site should be much taller. 12 stepping down to 6 would be perfectly adequate.

I'd also like to point out that a lot of the homes facing Hyde Park Ave are up on a hill, so while they only have three floors of occupiable space, from the street they are nearly as tall as a 5 or 6 story building. So this proposed development will actually be shorter than the surrounding buildings, measured from the sidewalk.
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Old 11-07-2014, 02:41 PM   #13
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

There is a very different feel in that area of Brighton though, with the BU towers not far away (no equivalent here) and straight views of the other downtown sky scrapers. also this is not near a town center...
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Old 11-07-2014, 04:06 PM   #14
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

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There is a very different feel in that area of Brighton though, with the BU towers not far away (no equivalent here) and straight views of the other downtown sky scrapers. also this is not near a town center...
True: you can't compare Forest Hills to the vast area of vacant lots and warehouses that New Balance is developing. And yes, I say, build this now. BUT, although I sometimes have sympathy for some local opposition to out-of-scale development, sometimes the city should quash that opposition, and a major transportation hub like Forest Hills should be one of those places. This parcel is a huge piece of land, between train tracks and a 4-lane, busy major arterial, and, as was pointed out, is at the foot of the hill, so it's not like taller buildings would really be looming over anybody's house. This development, in particular, is a squandered opportunity to build something bigger and set a precedent for larger development around transit nodes - and this is of much greater significance, transit-wise, than Jackson, despite being further out. Plus, although Forest Hills isn't a historic town center, given the land being freed up by the Casey and the existing commercial strips, it certainly could become one. This was all initiated before Walsh came into play, but this is precisely the place (like the Savin Hill development) where he should get aggressive about building bigger and with less parking. We can't expect to ram 10 story buildings into every low rise neighborhood residents' backyards the city over, but in certain places, it's appropriate to do so. So yeah, it's being built, and that's good, but this is a particular place where we could have done more.
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Old 11-07-2014, 04:13 PM   #15
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

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True: you can't compare Forest Hills to the vast area of vacant lots and warehouses that New Balance is developing. And yes, I say, build this now. BUT, although I sometimes have sympathy for some local opposition to out-of-scale development, sometimes the city should quash that opposition, and a major transportation hub like Forest Hills should be one of those places. This parcel is a huge piece of land, between train tracks and a 4-lane, busy major arterial, and, as was pointed out, is at the foot of the hill, so it's not like taller buildings would really be looming over anybody's house. This development, in particular, is a squandered opportunity to build something bigger and set a precedent for larger development around transit nodes - and this is of much greater significance, transit-wise, than Jackson, despite being further out. Plus, although Forest Hills isn't a historic town center, given the land being freed up by the Casey and the existing commercial strips, it certainly could become one. This was all initiated before Walsh came into play, but this is precisely the place (like the Savin Hill development) where he should get aggressive about building bigger and with less parking. We can't expect to ram 10 story buildings into every low rise neighborhood residents' backyards the city over, but in certain places, it's appropriate to do so. So yeah, it's being built, and that's good, but this is a particular place where we could have done more.
I guess I agree it just seems out of place to me. I wouldn't fight more hight here but I also wouldn't support it.
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Old 11-07-2014, 04:44 PM   #16
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

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This development, in particular, is a squandered opportunity to build something bigger and set a precedent for larger development around transit nodes - and this is of much greater significance, transit-wise, than Jackson, despite being further out. Plus, although Forest Hills isn't a historic town center, given the land being freed up by the Casey and the existing commercial strips, it certainly could become one.
Maybe a better urban planning opportunity would have been a cap over the Orange line tracks and to shift the focus for a dense mixed-use project towards the Washington St corridor. Hyde Park Ave doesn't feel like a comfortable street at all for either ground floor residential nor the mixed-use base of something taller. Local pedestrian access to which would have to cross the busy ave which feels like route 9 near Brookline Village.

Perhaps more density with a commercial base facing Washington St could have spurred further redevelopment along the commercial strip of Washington St. Such development might have lots more density, be transit oriented, with residential facing the Arboretum and commercial serving as the beginnings of a new pedestrian and transit style town center with Forest Hills Orange line station within a 5 min walk. Kind of like Centre St / Jackson Sq.

Maybe also with a public/common structured garage (not huge) towards its southern Washington St end, instead of individual surface lots around each commercial lot (e.g. Harvest and 3368 Washington St) avoiding the failed suburban style development a la Needham St Newton, Rte 9 Chestnut Hill etc.

One could also imagine a fantastic connection between Washington St and the Southwest Corridor for pedestrians and bikes via the new Casey project but with its own ROW drawing activity from catchement of SWC to the north. Perhaps even a little cap of the railroad tracks to allow for a linear park SWC extension concept.

Obviously this would work in conjunction with the redevelopment of the surface lot at Forest Hills into a very dense structured parking / mixed-use / residential building. And it might be successfully connected with a revitalized and existing commercial south side of Hyde Park Ave across form the station. Such a center would be even further supported with a far off Orange line extension.

While I realize all of the above is a hypothetical whose opportunity has already been passed, I think it's worth thinking about good examples of potential for good TOD to help spot new opportunities that can be captured.

Finally, I don't normally blindly suggest 'caps' on everything, but in this case, it is a lot easier than the Pike and has a very clear purpose - to allow the development opportunity to access Washington St.
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:11 PM   #17
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

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the request that the planned parks be open to the public.
I'd really like to see an extension of the SW corridor multi-use path down into rozzie and HP - maybe this could be the first step...
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:14 PM   #18
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

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I'd really like to see an extension of the SW corridor multi-use path down into rozzie and HP - maybe this could be the first step...
I always feel like the park ends really abruptly. I agree.
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Old 03-10-2016, 09:22 AM   #19
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Re: Parcel U, Jamaica Plain

Not a very sexy update, but:

Parcel U | Forest Hills

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Originally Posted by bldup
Parcel U construction start expected in five months

Mar 09, 2016 - A deed was recorded today in the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds transferring the Parcel U approved development site from JP Parcel U Phase 1, LLC to Parcel U Phase A LLC for $1. Both limited liability companies are registered to Urbanica, who is the developer, design manager and contractor of the Parcel U project.

A representative of Urbanica was available for comment. Today's deed was in order to bring a partnership together for investment and financing; Urbanica is raising capital for the Parcel U project. The project is expected to start construction in five months; shovels should be in the ground by early fall 2016. The project will be built in three phases.
If this does break ground this year, we will have an unprecedented (at least in the past few decades) amount of development in Jamaica Plain.

As a reminder, here is the latest aerial rendering:

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Old 06-26-2018, 11:16 PM   #20
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