BRA Calls for Public Hearing on Graphic Arts Building

August 19, 2016
By

By Seth Daniel

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) is expected to approve a public hearing today, Aug. 11, at its Board meeting that would being the Planned Development Area (PDA) process for the Graphic Arts project on Sullivan Square.

In public materials, the BRA recommended that the Board allow for the advertisement of the public hearing on Sept. 15, initiating another step in the long Article 80 process. The project calls for 171 units in a new building and the existing Graphic Arts building on Sullivan Square (Cambridge Street) and Rutherford Avenue. There would be 114 parking spaces in a garage above grade. The total cost of the project, developed by Berkeley Investments, is pegged at $52 million.

While the project started out with some snags due to the developer not committing to full 100 percent union labor on the project, things seemed to be smoothed out in a meeting this summer.

Brian Doherty of the Boston Building Trades had been vocal on the matter, along with scores of union workers at the March BRA meeting in Charlestown. Reached this week by phone, he said he didn’t have any immediate comment on the matter, but might at a later date.

State Rep. Dan Ryan, who spoke for the union labor in March, said this week that the project does make sense on a site that is blighted, but he also wanted the project to be part of a larger conversation about what is happening on the edges of Charlestown, from North Station to Assembly Row. “I think the Cambridge Street project is a good example of adaptive re-use of a structurally sound building,” Ryan said. “By proximity alone this project will take advantage of public transit and can become a focal point to rejuvenate an area. As I’ve said before, my concern right now is not the size and scope of individual projects. What concerns me is taken collectively how does all this development, especially on our borders, work. This proposal was properly vetted by the community; but, it should also be the basis of broader plan for the outer ring of Charlestown.”

BRA officials cautioned that the public hearing call does not mean the project has been approved, and that a new set of community meetings and community input would be triggered by the PDA process.