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New retail/office bldg. proposed for Dudley Sq. lot

Sandra Larson | 3/7/2012, 7:37 a.m.
Architect Lucio Trabucco of Nunes Trabucco Architects describes the features of the office and retail building proposed for Taber Street in Dudley Square. Sandra Larson

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Architect Lucio Trabucco of Nunes Trabucco Architects describes the features of the office and retail building proposed for Taber Street in Dudley Square.

A proposal to build a new three-story office and retail building on Taber Street in Dudley Square is meeting little or no community resistance as it moves toward the official approval process. Hearings before the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) are anticipated for mid-March.

The site, across from the Ferdinand Building at the corner of Warren Street, is now a vacant lot owned by Dudley Square Main Streets (DSMS) board member Toula Politis. The lot abuts the Warren Palmer building containing the Ashley Stewart and T-Mobile stores.

At a public meeting held by the BRA Feb. 29, Politis and project architect Lucio Trabucco of Nunes Trabucco Architects presented information and design drawings. The meeting, on a rainy night with snow predicted, drew only a small handful of attendees.

Trabucco said the new brick building would have basement storage, a ground floor with approximately 8,000 feet of retail space, and two upper floors of office space.

The entrance to the office floors would be down the block on Taber Street, while the retail storefronts would have their own entrances facing Warren or Taber Streets.

The project is to be built in two phases: Phase one will be only the first floor retail portion, and phase two will add the two upper floors.

Joyce Stanley, executive director of DSMS and member of the Dudley Vision Advisory Task Force, presented a letter of endorsement from the DSMS Design Chair, architect Gregory Minott.

“The project will improve the vitality of the Dudley Square neighborhood and provide permanent and local construction jobs,” the letter reads. The DSMS board unanimously supports the project as long as a few provisions are fulfilled in the phase one (single-story) construction. The letter requests that the single-story phase include sufficient supports and elevator/stair shafts to enable the addition of the upper floors.

Politis said she has already made presentations to DSMS, the Roxbury Collaborative and Orchard Garden Task Force and has discussed the project with some area residents and business owners, and so far has received favorable response.

Because the new building will be larger than the lot is currently zoned for and will include no parking spaces, the developers must seek a variance from the ZBA in addition to approval by the BRA board. Politis said they are scheduled to appear before the BRA board on March 12, and the ZBA on March 13. If all goes well, she hopes to begin construction this fall and have retail tenants moving in by spring. The written materials indicate the project will generate approximately 30 construction jobs.

“I believe it’s the right time to build,” said Politis after the presentation. She cited other projects gathering steam now at the Ferdinand site and Parcels 9 and 10. “All this will attract tenants. The environment is changing, and people and businesses are recognizing the potential here.”

Public comments are due by Friday, March 9. Comments may be sent by mail, fax or email to Lance Campbell, Boston Redevelopment Authority, One City Hall Sq., 9th floor, Boston, MA 02201. Email: lance.campbell.bra@cityofboston.gov. Fax: (617) 742-7783. Phone: (617) 918-4311.