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Old 03-21-2008, 10:50 AM   #21
stellarfun
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

Have to put kz on this case.

While browsing through the BRA website this morning, I noticed that an Elon Sassoon had filed plans on March 14 with the BRA for a 90,000 sq ft dormitory / retail / education building at 1047 Commonwealth Ave. No further details.
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Old 03-21-2008, 10:59 AM   #22
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

I go by that area at least a few times a week, and I've seen no signs of anything going on. But next time I do go through I'll take a pic of whichever building it is (I believe it's the one just inbound of Planned Parenthood).
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:42 PM   #23
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

from the Boston Herald:
Quote:
Elan, son of celebrity hair stylist/shampoo guru Vidal Sassoon, has relocated from Miami and has chosen Brighton to launch what?s being billed as the first ever U.S. cosmetology school with a university feel - right down to its own 178-room dorm.
http://www.bostonherald.com/business...icleid=1081776
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:44 PM   #24
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

And the world needs this... why?
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:47 PM   #25
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

^ LOL.
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:47 PM   #26
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

Quote:
Originally Posted by statler View Post
And the world needs this... why?
Looking fabulous is the first step toward positive social change?
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Old 03-21-2008, 12:47 PM   #27
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

If Google Maps is accurate, this is a two-story building. A deep but narrow two-story building. How can he fit 178 dorm rooms in that?
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:27 PM   #28
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

It doesn't matter what kind of residential building you're building (private, commercial, institutional), they all need about 60 feet in width: 25 feet for rooms on both sides (aka "double loaded") of a 10-foot-wide corridor. This plot is 300 feet deep by 80 feet wide, which is absolutely perfect for this project.

Figure the first two floors will be for classrooms, studios and offices, which leaves the upper (three or four?) floors for dorms where they'll have plenty of access to natural light, as none of the buildings in the immediate vicinity rise any more than three stories.
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:29 PM   #29
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

The news articles seemed to say that he would use this building, not demolish it and build something else. Hence my puzzlement.
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:04 PM   #30
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

Ah ok. Still, the building as it currently exists is about 39,000 square feet (65 by 300 times two stories), so he'll have to at the very least add on some floors to reach 90,000.
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:18 PM   #31
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

the lot size is 20,644 sqft

http://www.cityofboston.gov/assessin...pid=2100472000
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:49 AM   #32
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

Quote:
As condos Squeeze In, Space is Not All That's Lost

By Andreae Downs
Globe Correspondent / April 6, 2008

As in many a leafy suburb, small houses on big lots are being torn down in Allston and Brighton. They're being replaced not by pricey McMansions, but pricey McCondos.

Slowly but steadily, neighbors say, multiunit town houses or condos are replacing single-family homes on lots from 4,000 to 20,000 square feet. And when tearing down is impossible - because a property is historic or the developer wants to avoid neighborhood opposition - builders are adding homes to back and side yards.

A striking example is 115 Union St. in Brighton. The original house remains on the 4,500-square-foot property, but three apartments are being added to the side and rear yards, filling the lot.

"It's insidious creep," said Charlie Vasiliades, who has lived in the Oak Square neighborhood for all 50 years of his life. "I'm not against growth, but there's a way to do it. Cramming the biggest town house possible into every lot ain't the way."

Paul Berkeley, president of the Allston Civic Association, agrees. "Zoning isn't created to max out neighborhoods, but that's what happening," he said.

"Our old houses, often big houses, are located on big 10,000- to 15,000-square-foot lots. When they are knocked down, it removes the historic fabric of the neighborhood and adds density."

Norman O'Grady, owner of Prime Realty Group in Brighton, said the new homes often include modern conveniences the old houses lacked: granite countertops, central air, Jacuzzis. And they are selling well, typically from $350,000 to $400,000, he said.

"It's what young professionals are looking for," he said. "A lot are moving into the neighborhood because of the easy access to downtown."

The number of families, on the other hand, is shrinking because of the rising cost of housing or a desire for better schools.

The changing profile of homeowners was evident at a recent open house for a three-story, two-family building near Cleveland Circle that is now owner occupied. "I'd say about half were families interested in living there," said Re/Max agent Dave Diveccia, "and the other half were investors."

Though Allston and Brighton remain more affordable than Cambridge or Brookline, and some other parts of Boston, the trend seems to apply to all.

In North Brookline, for example, multifamily buildings are going in where large single-families stood, or units are being added to multifamily homes, said Martin Rosenthal, a Town Meeting member. As a result, Town Meeting has started changing the zoning on parcels to prevent further crowding.

"We're losing that little vestige of a suburban atmosphere and greenery," he said. "Part of what attracts people here is the urban-suburban mix, but when you subtract the suburban parts, you lose something."

High-end conversions and new condos in Brookline and Jamaica Plain are selling well, and for higher prices, "even in a down market," said Tracy Clark, an agent with Chobee Hoy Associates Real Estate Inc. In these neighborhoods, they command $800,000 and up - though a $1 million-plus unit she was watching in Brookline was rented to Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka for an undisclosed amount.

In Allston-Brighton, Clark was unable to find condos for more than $800,000. The highest-priced units are town houses at 1304-1312 Commonwealth Ave. - 2,125 square feet, three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, parking, new construction, offered for $599,900, she said.
more stories like this

Cambridge faces slightly different issues, primarily because of strict city controls on development, said real estate agent Barbara Currier.

"It's virtually impossible to tear a building down; it's extremely rare," she said. "It's extremely difficult even to put a dormer on."

Instead, Currier said, many owners gut buildings "to the skivvies" and rebuild the inside -making a two-family into a single family with an au pair unit in the basement or attic, for example.

The City of Boston's database does not tabulate these types of developments, but a quick survey of Brighton residents turned up reports of at least 10 tear-downs and another four large additions around their neighborhood in the last decade.

A search of city building permits for the last two years turned up another three Brighton homes and an Allston home - not including one destroyed by fire - that had permits for demolition. Add to that a historic home on a 20,000-square-foot lot on Murdock Street in Brighton, where neighbors are fighting to save it from the wrecking ball.

Neighbors in North Allston pointed to at least three tear-downs - confirmed in the city's database - that were completed in the last five to 10 years in a crescent of residences between the Mass. Pike and Western Avenue and near St. Anthony's Catholic Church.

The Boston Landmarks Commission reviews the razing of any building more than 50 years old. But commission member Bill Marchione, who also is president of the Brighton Allston Historical Society, acknowledges "there's not much we can do under the Landmarks Act" to halt development, other than invoke the city's 90-day demolition delay.

Case in point: 34 Raymond St. in North Allston. Identified by the Allston Civic Association as one of the oldest houses in the neighborhood, the single-family Victorian at the corner of Westford had a large lawn and mature trees when it was bought last year for $950,000 and torn down over neighborhood protests.

Going up on the site are two three-unit town houses that look like they'll occupy most of the lot. Although developments of this type sometimes require zoning variances, Inspectional Services Department records show that these structures can be built without zoning relief.

Berkeley said his civic association was looking at getting some kind of neighborhood historic designation that might slow demolitions beyond the 90-day delay provided by the city ordinance.

In addition to historic concerns, residents' complaints focus mostly on building density. "The frustration is that we have zoning in the neighborhood, but probably two-thirds of these buildings, by my guess, violated zoning," said Vasiliades, the Oak Square resident and Brighton Allston Historical Society vice president. But he said developers receive zoning variances anyway.

According to Berkeley, "Variances are supposed to relieve hardship. But more often they are granted for economic development because otherwise the developer isn't getting a reasonable return on his investment."

Derric Small, principal administrative assistant to Boston's Board of Appeal, said that each case depends on the character of the neighborhood. A single-family house surrounded by three-deckers can be converted to a three-family without a variance, for instance. The side-yard requirement for West Roxbury is probably 10 feet between houses, Small said, while it would be more like 2 feet in the North End.

He acknowledged that the zoning board is flexible in granting relief. "It's fairly easy to get a variance, depending on how minor it is, of course." But he understands that neighbors might be starting to feel squeezed as larger yards disappear around multifamily homes.

"They shouldn't feel alone," Small said of Allston and Brighton neighbors. "It's happening all over the city."

? Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/art...ll_thats_lost/
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:33 PM   #33
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

First to say "This is bad how?"

I think this goes to show the difference in opinion people have which leads to such heated debates over development. I read this and think this is exactly what is supposed to happen, but these residents just see their ways of life changing. I don't want to harp at them and call them names (though I know many of you will) since they have just as much of a say as we do about how the city should develop, but I think calling them NIMBYs here is not only appropriate given the quotes but literal given where these new houses are being built, in backyards.
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:38 PM   #34
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

I know that "suburban" is considered a dirty word here, but north Brookline really does combine urban walkability (and transit-friendliness) with suburban greenery. The trees, lawns, and small parks distinguish it from its close neighbors, Audubon Circle, Allston, Brighton, and Mission Hill.
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:58 PM   #35
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

From my basic, Property 101 understanding of zoning law, the neighbors might be technically right - variances are only supposed to be granted in cases of "unique hardship", where strict compliance with zoning would be unconstitutional. When the members of the board talk about consistency with local context, they're invoking the justification for the law of special exceptions to zoning, which is somewhat different.

Still, the members of this forum should keep in mind that zoning in this country was initially declared constitutional almost solely on the basis of the need to protect the "healthy, moral" aspects of single-family residential life from the depredations of density and mixed use. The opinion in the relevant case, Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty, goes so far as to describe apartment buildings as "parasites".
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Old 04-07-2008, 02:40 PM   #36
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

There are obviously real forces at work here driving this lot-filling development. Perhaps the current zoning should better reflect this present day reality. It would be better if this sort of development adhered to a broader, more cohesive plan rather than finessing it in piecemeal in random places, as it seems is being done now.
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:09 PM   #37
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

But is it reasonable for Brookline folks to say "we don't want to become Allston, we want to stay Brookline"? I think so.
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:24 PM   #38
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

Much of Brookline is just as dense as Allston/Brighton. There are MANY multi-unit buildings, especially along Beacon St and the surrounding neighborhoods. The biggest thing that Brookline does to keep its neighborhoods suburban in feel, in my opinion, is the ban on overnight on-street parking. The streets feel MUCH different when they aren't lined with crappy old cars. However, many of the same people that complain about new development in Allston/Brighton also complain that there isn't enough parking, so I don't think an overnight parking ban would sit well with them.
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:06 PM   #39
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

Here's something I stumbled across this past Tuesday, a perfect example of what the article talks about:



Location: smack in the middle of Allston Village







The previous inhabitant:



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Old 04-18-2008, 09:49 PM   #40
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Re: Allston-Brighton Developments

Quote:
In Allston-Brighton, Clark was unable to find condos for more than $800,000. The highest-priced units are town houses at 1304-1312 Commonwealth Ave. - 2,125 square feet, three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, parking, new construction, offered for $599,900, she said.
Which are these wood-framed beauties with a faux-brick prefab exterior.

$600,000 to be in the middle of fratty central (just down from Harvard Ave), with a business on the first floor and a neighbor above?
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