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A transformation comes to Dudley

Hundreds of new housing units, new storefronts planned for commercial district

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the Banner’s senior editor. VIEW BIO
A transformation comes to Dudley
The Bolling Building is the largest in Dudley Square. That could soon change as the city solicits bids for vacant lots in the area. BANNER PHOTO

The Boston Planning and Development Agency is seeking bids for the redevelopment of three of the last remaining major open parcels of land in Dudley Square. Along with four projects that have already been greenlighted by city officials, the parcels promise to radically transform the Roxbury shopping district, bringing in hundreds of new housing units and more than 100,000 square feet of commercial and cultural space.

The redevelopment plans currently underway and those the city will likely receive for the three new lots could bring opportunities and challenges to the square as new businesses and residents add desired new commerce and potential customers that could help revitalize the area, but also may strain already tight parking and increase traffic congestion.

The Blair Lot could be the site of a 6-15 story housing development, according to request for proposals for the parcel. BANNER PHOTO

The Blair Lot could be the site of a 6-15 story housing development, according to request for proposals for the parcel. BANNER PHOTO

The largest undeveloped parcel in the square, the two-acre Blair Lot between Washington Street and Harrison Avenue, named for the Blair Family Foodland supermarket that once stood on the site, is currently used as a 94-space surface parking lot. According to the request for proposals (RFP) released by the BPDA last week, the city is seeking a mixed-use, commercial/residential development that could rise between six and 15 stories.

Parcel 8, between Harrison Avenue, Melnea Cass Boulevard and Washington Street, is slightly larger than one acre and is similarly slated for mixed commercial and residential development.

The RFP for the adjacent Nawn Factory parcel, at just over 10,000 square feet, calls for the 19th-century factory building currently sited on a portion of the land to be preserved as a museum interpreting local Roxbury history.

The four parcels that have already been awarded to developers promise to bring more than 280 units to the area and 324 parking spaces:

135 Dudley Street

Cruz Development has 150 housing units planned for the parcel formerly occupied by the Boston Police Area B2 substation and currently used as surface parking for the Boston Public Schools. The Roxbury-based, black-owned firm’s plan calls for 8,476 square feet of commercial space and a 270-space parking garage.

A six-story building would house 50 units of rental housing affordable to families earning 30 to 50 percent of area median income (AMI). An eight-story building would contain 100 condo units, with 50 units with sale prices affordable to families earning between 70 and 80 percent of AMI and 50 sold at market rate.

2147 Washington Street

Dream Development and New Atlantic Development have teamed up to develop the parcel currently used as surface parking next to the Haley House Café building.

The design the team submitted calls for a six-story, 74-unit building with 1,400 square feet of retail space and a new 2,500 square-foot space for the Haley House Café. The project would include 47 parking spaces, including 35 garage units.

The residential project includes 12 condo units, four of them affordable at 70 percent AMI, four at 100 percent AMI and four at market rate. Of the 45 rental apartments, 12 would be affordable at 30 percent of AMI and 33 would be affordable at 60 percent of AMI. DREAM Collaborative, a black-owned firm, and New Atlantic would each control 50 percent of membership interests in the partnership.

75–81 Dudley Street – 2451 Washington Street

Madison Park Development Corporation will develop a 6,170 square-foot parcel at the corner of Dudley Street and Shawmut Avenue (abutting the former Dillaway School building) along with the adjacent 11,870 square-foot parcel on Washington Street, opposite the Area B substation.

The CDC’s plans call for the creation of 33 condo units on the parcels, with 24 affordable to low and moderate income and nine unrestricted at market rates. The development will include 12 covered off-street parking spaces and 744 square feet of office space.

40–50 Warren Street

New Urban Collaborative LLC is planning a six-story, 24-unit apartment build for the parcel, currently a 25-space surface parking lot at the corner of Warren and Ziegler Streets, opposite the Dudley Square bus terminal.

Sixteen of the units will be designated affordable: three priced for 30 percent AMI, five for 50 percent AMI and eight for 80 percent AMI. The other eight units would have unrestricted market-rate rents.

The team plans to include a commercial co-working space and five retail spaces in the development.

The challenge of new development

Although the new developments are proposing 324 new parking spaces, they’re at the same time building on 160 existing spaces and bringing in new housing units and new businesses. Some Roxbury residents familiar with Dudley Square development plans say the decreased parking and increased traffic, along with existing problems that have not been sufficiently resolved, will likely pose a challenge for Dudley Square.

“Dudley has a whole lot of fundamental structural problems,” said Roxbury resident Rodney Singleton, who sits on the impact advisory group for the Blair Lot. “We’re in the buildout phase now and there’s no plan to mitigate traffic.”

In addition to parking and traffic planning, which Singleton said he has yet to see, he said the city and state should come up with plans for dealing with the homeless population in the area and underperforming public transit.

“There’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s not sorted out,” he said.

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