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Boston OKs $75m project to replace Home for Little Wanderers site in Jamaica Plain with housing

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  October 19, 2012 11:02 AM

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(Boston Redevelopment Authority)

A rendering of the project.

The board of Boston's redevelopment authority voted unanimously Thursday night to approve a $75 million project to replace the former Home for Little Wanderers complex in Jamaica Plain with a 196-unit housing building.

The plans had drawn opposition from some in the neighborhood. Concerns included the project’s size, the number of units designated as affordable, and the demolition of the 98-year-old, iconic Knight Children’s Center building.

Residents have also said they are wary of other significant development proposed for nearby.

The new housing will be called Olmstead Place and will feature a mix of studios, one, two and three-bedrooms, the city said. The building, at 161 South Huntington Ave., will be about 253,000 square feet, and sections of the facility will stand either four or five stories tall. The development is aiming for LEED Silver status.

The project calls for 147 parking spaces in a garage below the building and another 9 at-grade spaces, officials said.

The building “will add new family and affordable living options in Jamaica Plain,” a statement from the Boston Redevelopment Authority said.

“The project is moving forward after an extensive community process,” the statement continued. “As a result of neighborhood stakeholder input the developer changed the project’s massing, decreased parking in front of the building, added additional three bedroom units, and increased the number of affordable units.”

Boston Residential Group and architect firm ADD Inc. are leading the development.

The project is expected to break ground in April, to take about 18 months to complete and to create 225 construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs, according to the city.

The 213-year-old Home for Little Wanderers agency relocated some programming and services from Jamaica Plain site to its 166-acre Walpole campus, which recently underwent $19-million in new construction.

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