40 Roland Street Public Review Begins

By Michael Coughlin Jr.

The public review process for the 40 Roland Street project is now underway, with the filing of a Draft Project Impact Report (DPIR) that was received by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) on Monday, May 1.

A DPIR filing is another step in the Large Project Review process in which the document includes “detail technical analysis of project impacts,” per the BPDA website, and can be commented on by the public, along with city agencies and the BPDA.

In a project description, the development team states that the project will “provide a robust, job-centric program mix in a gateway location” and “include a significant number of affordable units to complement and diversify the project’s principal focus on facilitating emerging industries.”

The description also reads, “In addition, a prominent open space along Cambridge Street will provide community green space.”

The project, as described in the DPIR – is comprised of a few different properties, 145, 128, and 89 Cambridge Street, and 10-40 Roland Street, which is a total of about 4.44 acres. Moreover, the project proposes to utilize these properties to create 753,783 gross square feet comprised of office and lab space, as well as residential and retail development.

Since the proponents filed a Supplemental Information Document (SID), the project has undergone some changes – the addition of 89 Cambridge Street to the project being one which added around 7,000 square feet of open space.

Other changes include decreases in gross floor area, lab/office square footage,  residential square footage, and parking. However, the changes also brought increases in the overall site area, retail square footage, and open space. There was also a slight increase in the number of residential units.

As part of the proposal, three new buildings will be constructed to provide the aforementioned office and lab, residential and retail spaces. A life science/commercial building would be built at 10-40 Roland Street, standing nine stories and 156 feet tall.

There then would be two residential/retail buildings constructed on Cambridge Street – both at six stories and 70 feet tall. However, the building at 128 Cambridge Street would have considerably more open space and 75 units, while at 145 Cambridge Street, there would be 52 units.

In total, the project would offer 127 residential units, with 26 being IDP units, along with a vast amount of open space, 279 vehicle parking spaces, and 447 parking spaces for bikes.

In addition to constructing the three buildings mentioned above, several public benefits are outlined in the DPIR.

Some of these benefits described include the creation of around 1.63 acres of publically accessible open space and public realm improvements, including safety and connectivity enhancements for pedestrians and bikers. There are also plans to plant over 100 trees and create 25,000 square feet of subsidized community retail space for local small businesses. 

It should be noted that this information about the proposed 40 Roland Street project is only the tip of the iceberg – as the over 500-page DPIR is publically accessible on the project website at https://www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/40-roland-street.

As of now, there are two meetings scheduled regarding the project. A virtual public meeting will be held on Monday, Jun. 5, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to discuss the DPIR. Then the following Monday, Jun. 12, an Impact Advisory Group (IAG) meeting will also be held virtually from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to discuss the DPIR.

In the meantime, the BPDA has encouraged residents to make comments about the project – which can be done at the aforementioned link. The current public comment period is slated to be open through Monday, Jul. 17.

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