Friday, November 30, 2007

Ten Story Building by the Charles River: P&S Reached on Charlesview Relocation

Harvard University and Charlesview Inc. now have a purchase and sale agreement for the transfer of the Charlesview apartments in North Allston to Harvard in exchange for a newly-constructed housing development at the former K-mart, and additional land north of Western Avenue, in North Brighton.

This arrangement has been discussed throughout the past year, where the trustees of Charlesview Inc. supported the move -- based on their assessment that the apartments needed substantial renovation -- while many of the tenants, many of whom are low-income, have been increasingly opposed to the idea.

Features of the new housing development:
  • 6.9 total acres replacing 4.5 acres at current site
  • Former K-mart building, plus land to the north of Western Avenue
  • Mostly four-to-six story buildings, rising to ten stories closest to the Charles River
  • Ten total buildings
  • 400 units of housing:
    • 213 units to replace the mostly low-income housing currently at Charlesview
    • 118 condominiums (I'm guessing higher-end units sold at market rates -- or could these end up as Harvard-affiliate housing, say, for junior faculty?)
    • 69 affordable housing units
  • 450 parking spaces, mostly below ground
  • Community center for use by residents and neighbors.

If I were placing a wager in the Deval Patrick Casino at Suffolk Downs, I would bet that the 10-story building will become the target of outrage by the neighborhood. There just ain't nothing remotely close to that tall in the North Brighton neighborhood now, although there are some such erections on Watertown's side of the river.

Harry Mattison notes that they plan to submit initial plans to the BRA within a month!!! Yet the neighborhood has yet to be included on the planning or details of the development.

Mayor Thomas Menino, however, is already a convert and a vocal proponent of the plan:
"It's really great," said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "Residents of the 1971 urban renewal project are going to be moved to well-landscaped units. It's going to be a wonderful new life for them."
Note to future Mayoral contenders: here's your chance to pick off votes in North Brighton / North Allston, but only if you act quickly!

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