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University Place proposal is well-received by Boston Civic Design Commission

Posted by Patrick Rosso  May 8, 2013 05:37 PM

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(Image courtesy Corcoran Jennison Companies)

A rendering, looking toward Day Boulevard and South Boston, of the proposed structure with the existing Corcoran Jennison Companies' building to the rear.

The residential development proposed for the Bay Side Exposition Center is progressing.

Members of the development team behind the project, dubbed University Place, were before the Boston Civic Design Commission Tuesday to gather input about the project. The commission provides design critiques and guidance for development projects.

The plan, proposed by Corcoran Jennison Companies, which also owns an office building at the center, if approved, would build a $60 million, 184-unit rental apartment building at the entrance of Mt. Vernon Street in Dorchester.

The units would be made up of 67 studios, 73 one bedrooms, and 44 two bedrooms. The project will also include 76 underground parking spaces for residents, 120 at-grade multi-use parking spaces, and 17 street parking spaces for shoppers.

The units, excluding the 24 deemed affordable, are expected to be rented at market rates, with a one-bedroom estimated to go for between $2,000-$2,200 a month.

Plans show the top five floors of the building will be dedicated to residential units, with 10,000-square-feet on the ground-floor reserved for retail on Mt. Vernon Street. The building will also house a fitness center, conference space, resident lounge, and ample bike storage space.

At Tuesday’s hearing developers displayed renderings of the building and laid out the challenges of the site and how they went about the design process.

The commission was generally receptive to the project, but questioned how it fits in with the potential redevelopment of the Expo Center and the activation of ground-floor retail.

“With all that retail get use, is there demand there?” asked Daniel St. Clair, a member of the commission.

Also located adjacent to the proposed site is a parking lot owned by Corcoran Jennison Companies, which developers acknowledged down the line could be developed, something the commission said should be addressed,

“I think we need to put it in the context of what the long-term development is,” added David Manfredi, a member of the commission.

Some wondered if another development one day were to spring up next to the proposed building, how that could impact the views of some units, which are designed to look across South Boston’s Carson Beach.

“I think we will be curious about what your planning principals are for the site [adjacent parking lot], because right now it’s an open view,” said William Rawn, a member of the commission.

The project, which developers have said they’d like to break ground on in the winter of 2013-2014, was sent by the commission to the Design Review Committee for more input and critiques.

The project is also currently in Boston Redevelopment Authority’s Article 80 design review process, which allows for public comments. The public comment period ends May 24.

To read more about a recent public meeting for the project, click here.

For more information about the project, provided by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, click here.

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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