By Seth Daniel
The developer for the Graphic Arts Building and MassPort were expected to announce a working agreement for the proposed development to use D Street as an entrance and exit to its parking garage during a meeting held last night, July 13, in the Schraffts Center.
The meeting was a convening of the Impact Advisory Group (IAG) for the project and also the second general public meeting sponsored by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).
BRA Spokesman Nick Martin ahead of the meeting said he anticipated one major announcement to be the resolving of the D Street access point.
“The BRA has met with MassPort and the developer (Berkley Investments),” he said. “It seems like they reached a goal to provide access to the site that doesn’t infringe on anyone else.”
MassPort owns the street and discussions about using it for the development had been ongoing with no results for a long time until now. Such easement issues are often complicated and can take years to sort out. Add to the fact that the City also has a plan that may or may not be applicable which involves straightening out and lining up the street with the Mishawum Extension, and it seemed like a lot was up in the air.
The alternative garage entrance would have been on Rutherford Avenue, which the community and the City does not like.
The project is to be located in the existing Graphic Arts building, with 52 rehabilitated lofts there, and in a new building behind it on Rutherford Avenue that will contain 119 apartments. The project has been shopped around the neighborhood since last July, and had its first official BRA meeting in March as the developer, Berkley Investments, had then entered the BRA process and was beginning to seek zoning changes.
Though D Street was a major sticking point, the largest problem with the development was a commitment to 100 percent union labor.
The March meeting turned raucous when the developer could not make a commitment to use 100 percent union labor on the Graphic Arts project.
The room was stacked with labor union workers from the Town, elected officials and officials from the union leadership teams – all inquiring about the use of union labor.
That issue, as of yet, has not been resolved publicly, but was expected to be addressed once again at the July 13 meeting.