The Boston Planning and Development Agency discussed how its construction project on Soldiers Field Road will adhere to recently approved Western Avenue Corridor Study and Rezoning guidelines in a Wednesday webinar.
The project, which will span roughly three acres along 1234 and 1240 Soldiers Field Road, is a joint endeavor between the Davis Companies, the Community Builders, and the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation. The development will include 528 residential units, 195 hotel rooms, retail space including a live music venue, underground parking, and public green space.
Bart Mitchell, president of the Community Builders, a nonprofit development company, said the project aims to accommodate a “wide range” of incomes spanning 30 percent to 120 percent of median income, with an average of no more than 60 percent of median income.
But Mitchell said affordable, mixed housing is not alone enough to foster camaraderie among residents.
“It could feel like it’s somebody’s home and not somebody else’s, unless you really have staff that have been trained to help make sure everybody knows this is everybody’s home,” Mitchell said.
To address this concern, Mitchell said the development companies have considered hosting opportunities for neighbors to meet each other and playing a variety of music in the public courtyard.
Jason Tilley, senior vice president of development for the Davis Companies, said parking for the site will be largely underground.
“We think we’re striking a good balance here between giving enough parking to those people who really need it and want it and are going to have a car anyway,” Tilley said, “while at the same time not overbuilding parking and encouraging people that otherwise wouldn’t drive or wouldn’t have a car to just park one here anyway.”
Before turning the meeting over to Impact Advisory Group members and the public for comments, Tilley said he expects the project would create more than 500 construction jobs as well as 170 permanent, new jobs targeting women, people of color, and Boston residents.
IAG members expressed broad support for the plan, though some voiced concerns about gentrification of the area and the longevity of affordable housing.
“I really feel that people like me on Western Avenue — are in the immediate neighborhood — are being gentrified. The few two-family and three-family homes on Western Avenue — they’ll all be gone and all be developed,” said John Bruno, a member of the IAG. “I really think there needs to be some sensitivity moving forward.”
In response to affordability concerns, John Woods, executive director of the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation, said the IRS will enforce and monitor the affordability of the housing.
“I always explain to people that they’re the ones who brought down Al Capone. You don’t mess with the IRS,” he said. “The investors and everybody else involved has to be monitored on a yearly basis to make sure that they keep the level of affordability that is initiated at the beginning.”
Michael Sinatra, BPDA senior project manager, concluded the meeting by inviting the public to an open house 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 12 at the Jackson Mann Community Center to discuss the project as well as two others in the Allston-Brighton area.
—Staff writer Danish Bajwa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Danishbjw.