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CDC proposes Fairmount Line housing development

Martin Desmarais | 1/16/2014, 6 a.m.
The proposed Residences at Fairmount Station include 27 apartments in the three-story building. The estimated budget for the project is $9.5 million. Image courtesy of Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation

Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation went public at a meeting last week with plans for a new 27-apartment development on Nott Street in Hyde Park near the MBTA’s Fairmount Station, and reaction was mixed.

Many of the homeowners in the area voiced objections over parking and funding, while those who view the project as the needed addition of more affordable housing in the neighborhood expressed support.

Whichever side the public stood on, though, developers admit the project still has a long way to go and they may be back to the drawing board in some areas to address some of the concerns raised. The developers are just now working with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, with all the necessary approvals still to come including submitting the plan to the Inspectional Services Department, and the estimate is that even if everything goes smoothly the project is still three-to-four years from groundbreaking.

“I think everyone has heard the mayor, numerous other public officials and the media talking about the need for housing for working families, and I think everyone recognizes this,” said Matt Thall, interim executive director of the Southwest Boston CDC, at the public meeting held on Jan. 8 at the Hyde Park Community Center.

“There is a tremendous need in our city. Twenty-one of the 27 units proposed here are going to be targeted toward working families.”

The project, which is Southwest Boston CDC’s first development, is labeled as a “mixed-income” project by developers and the presentation to the Hyde Park community suggested the housing would primarily serve working families with incomes between $28,000 and $66,000.

Dubbed the Residences at Fairmount Station, the proposed project sits on just under 20,000 square feet of land adjacent to the train station and would have the 27 rental units on three levels above a ground-floor parking garage, which would contain 27 spots — one per rental unit. The units would range in size from studios to three-bedroom apartments. Monthly rental prices are estimated from $425 on the low-income units to $1,600 on the market rate units. However, the “working families” monthly rental ranges from $925 for a studio to $1,325 for a three bedroom.

The plans also call for a community room open to neighborhood residents and green space and a play yard outside the building.

Developers are promoting the project as pumping money and consumers into the Logan Square commercial district in a similar fashion that the city touted the addition of the Fairmount Station.

“The retailers have heard for many years that they need more foot traffic on Fairmount Ave. to reestablish a strong retail business area,” said Southwest Boston CDC board member Bob Vance.“The housing we build here will increase the population of the area by almost 100 people — customers for local businesses — many of whom will not own cars because of proximity to a good transit option.”

“This new community housing resource on the doorstep of the Fairmount Station will begin to transform the station area from a drab, under-utilized industrial land into a lively, mixed-use downtown neighborhood,” added Marcia Thornhill, Southwest Boston CDC board member.