BRA Holds Meeting on Bremen St. Project

October 30, 2014
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Last Thursday the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) hosted a community meeting at the Paris Street Community Center regarding a proposed mixed use development at 135 Bremen Street.

Proposed by Bremen Street LLC, the developer recently submitted a Project Notification Form to the BRA for a 126,189 sq.ft. mixed use development that includes 94 residential units, 7,790 sq. ft. of commercial space, and 126 associated parking spaces in two garage levels with bike rack space for 100 bikes, as well as landscaped areas at the site between Gove and Porter Streets.

The developers attorney, Jeff Drago, said at the meeting the team hopes to bring life back to an industrial corner of Bremen Street.

At the opening of the meeting Drago said the proposed project is unique to the community because it provides such a high number of private parking spaces for residents, and is within walking distance to two MBTA stations, which will minimize community impact from resident/patron parking spillover onto local streets.

With Eastie looking to add more commercial retail/restaurant space to new projects, to ensure that residents can both live and shop within the community–the proposed project calls for retail space that will accommodate the needs of Eastie’s growing population. The space will include at least one local neighborhood restaurant/retail space that allows for residents to walk to the establishment from their homes or from one of the busy MBTA stations.

The Proponent is also proposing to include a bike repair shop space in the lower level garage along the Greenway corridor that will accommodate bicycle users along the Greenway path in back of the proposed project.

Architects for the project said the siting of the building attempts to accomplish a number of design goals. At Bremen Street the goal is to create a strong residential presence while restoring the neighborhood tradition of first floor restaurant/commercial uses. By siting the main residential entrance on Porter Street, the team hopes to improve the safety and user perception of this portion of the street.

“It is now desolate and quite foreboding at night,” said Drago. “The combination of placing neighborhood eyes on the street and the new entrance will add both to the safety and perception of the Porter Street and neighborhood.”

The Greenway façade and building program are the most challenging. The proposal      attempts to “enhance “the Greenway corridor by creating a welcoming development for walkers and bikers during their Greenway travels.

“On the project property we propose a small sitting area and bike repair station to contribute to the liveliness of the Greenway,” said Drago. “This would include a 24-hour seven-day a week free air station and at designated hours offering a communal bike repair station. In addition the proposed bike storage area for the building is at this level. The exercise and community rooms look out over the Greenway. All of these functions are fully accessible through the building’s entrance and elevator system. In addition to bikes, this design will enhance wheelchair access to the Greenway.”

The overall response to the project was positive with residents like Joe Mario, of Mario Real Estate, saying that this is the type of project the neighborhood needs more of with its mixed residential and commercial uses.

Those who had some reservations were concerned about the building’s height and density. With it being over 60 ft. some said it may be a looming presence on the Greenway. However, others like Felix Arroyo said it would be a great addition to the Greenway, especially given the fact it would add more foot traffic through the area as a result of situating the restaurant and patio on on the path.

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