By Seth Daniel
The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) unanimously approved a 177-unit building for 480 Rutherford Avenue in the Hood Park – the first residential use allowed in the office-oriented area and only the third residential use permitted on the “other side” of Charlestown.
“Most of the community has been excited to see this area cleaned up,” said BPDA Project Manager Ed Mcguire.
“I think a lot of us were pleased to see this before us,” said BPDA Board member Ted Landsmark.
Colliers proposed the project for the Hood Park, and it came as an amendment to the 2000 Master Plan that identified business uses for the entire 1.17 million sq. ft. site.
Mark Rosenshein, a Charlestown resident and a representative for Colliers, said the project was once slated and permitted as an office building. In 2008, the undeveloped site was approved for a 140,000 sq. ft. office building, but that project never emerged.
Now, residential uses there make more sense, Rosenshein said.
One issue in the public process was the amounts of affordable housing, and Mcguire said the developer has pledged to put all 23 units on site, as opposed to placing them elsewhere or paying into a trust fund.
The developers are striving to make the project designated as LEED Platinum.
Rosenshein said one recurring issue with the development was actually the street, Rutherford Avenue, and not the actual building.
“The main concern in the community was not the building, but the street we were building on and the existing state of Rutherford Avenue,” said Rosenshein. “We’ve been involved with the discussions with the Boston Transportation Department and advocating for the surfacing of Rutherford Avenue and the creation of the intersection and a traffic light so Baldwin Street in the existing Charlestown would extend across Rutherford Avenue and be a pedestrian and much safer and more friendly connection between the neighborhood and the Park. Ultimately, we think the re-connection of the Park to the residents is an important part of this.”
Rosenshein said the project was presented and supported by the Charlestown Neighborhood Council and the Charlestown Preservation Society.