Despite multiple setbacks on the Albany Street development, the project is moving forward as a dual-residential apartment complex, according to architects who presented the project's latest plans at the Old Dover Neighborhood Association meeting Tuesday night.
The developer of the Albany Street site was first approved in 2010 to build two hotels and a parking lot at 275 Albany Street. That plan changed the first time in the summer of 2012 , and the developer is now seeking to change the project to two new residential buildings.
The new proposal includes up to 220 residential units in the building on the north end of the site at 275 Albany St., identified as the “Traveler Structure.” The second building, located on the south end of the site and called the “East Berkeley Structure,” would feature up to 180 residential units in the second building. The total number of units would not exceed 380.
Although the project will change in function from what was originally approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the height of the building and most of the details have remained the same.
James Gray, architect with ADD, Inc. said the footprint of the building shrunk a bit, leaving room for more open space.
"The lot coverage was about 85 percent of the lot, so we tighted up the footprint, and there's now about 80 percent lot coverage which we think is an improvement," he said. "There's more landscaping along Albany Street to make it more friendly from a pedestrian standpoint," he said.
Gray said on the East Berkeley side of the building, the company is still developing the landscape plan, but plans include some small benches and street trees to line the sidewalk.
The architects also noted the project would contain 20 percent affordable housing, although Gray noted that due to zoning, 10 percent could be on-site and 10 percent could be off-site.
Also featured in the design is 1800 square feet of retail space, that developers are hoping will be some type of restaurant or cafe.
Tamara Roy, principal at ADD Inc. said a cafe or similar type of food service business could help to vitalize the area, especially with the other incoming development, Ink Block, in the same neighborhood.
Construction on the project, if all is approved by the BRA, would begin around mid-September of this year, and the first phase, which includes completing the Traveler Street building would take about 22 months. The second building would follow in another six months.
The developer, Normandy Real Estate Partners, is scheduled to appear before the full BRA on the project changes on Thursday, March 14 at 5:45 p.m. in Boston City Hall’s Room 900.
The comment period on the project closes on March 12.