Infill Projects Move Ahead

 

Next Monday the Planning Board is scheduled to consider, among other items,  applications for commercial buildings at 1926 Park St. (at Blanding Avenue) and 712 Lincoln Ave. (at Webster Street). 

Last October, the Planning Board approved Park Esquina, LLC’s development at 1926 Park St. that featured several buildings made of repurposed shipping containers. In December, the City Council overturned that decision and told Park Esquina to redesign the project without shipping containers.

The developer has now returned to the Planning Board with a mixed use complex with office, retail and residential units sans shipping containers. According the city staff, the project now features a pair of two-story mixed-use buildings made of conventional building materials with a pair of interconnecting public courtyards: one building on the northwest corner of Park Street and Blanding Avenue, the second setback from Blanding to create space for a public courtyard. 

Staff expressed its displeasure with the Blanding Avenue unit’s deep setback and location at the rear of the parcel. “This is not consistent with the minimum setback established by the North Park Street zoning district,” staff stated in its report. Staff pointed out the maximum allowed for a setback supports a pedestrian and transit friendly environment.

At staff’s request Park Esquina prepared a plan that moves the second building onto Blanding Avenue, creating a more private inner courtyard.
On the West End, Kevin Lam has submitted an application to build a 7,100-square-foot, two-story mixed-use commercial building at 712 Lincoln Ave., just east of the southeast corner of Webster Street and Lincoln. 

Last April the Planning Board held a study session about the project with its ground floor retail and two second-story residential units. After that session, the board directed Lam to address several items in his plan before returning for approval. Staff has now stated that Lam has addressed all the board’s concerns. 

For example, he revised the building design to utilize a more traditional commercial building form that complements existing Webster Street buildings. He also added bike racks to the front of the building and substituted one parking space adjacent to the existing residences with landscaping. 

Staff reminded the board that it could approve the one parking space reduction by finding that the parking demand of the project will be reduced by providing tenants transit passes and bicycle parking facilities. Lam also created additional space for on-street parking by shifting the driveway six feet to the east.

“The revised design for the two-story building is a traditional commercial building form that incorporates contemporary architectural features,” staff stated in its report. “The new building utilizes a flat roof embellished by an open cornice around the top of the building.” 

The Planning Board meets at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 2623 Santa Clara Ave.