Hey, there! Log in / Register

Large Allston landlord would surround its headquarters with apartments

Proposed Hamilton Co. building on Brighton Avenue in Allston

Proposed Brighton Avenue building. Existing Hamilton HQ on right.

The Hamilton Co. last night showed off plans for 114 apartment in three buildings - one of them an existing Victorian house - around its Brighton Avenue offices.

At a meeting of the Brighton Allston Improvement Association, Hamilton architect David Hacin said the company would tear down the existing AutoZone building at 45-55 Brighton Ave. and use existing parking lots for two new residential buildings with underground parking as part of its proposed Packard Crossing project. A Victorian at 75 Gardner St. would be restored and converted into handicap-accessible apartments.

Hamilton is proposing 223 parking spaces - 114 for residents of the market-rate units and the rest for use by the Hamilton Co. and the retail space proposed for the Brighton Avenue building.

The Gardner Street building would flow around a courtyard and Hacin proposed a new walkway between Brighton Avenue and Gardner. The five-story Brighton Avenue building would be set back five feet from the sidewalk, he said.

One resident, Paul Creighton, said he would oppose the project until Hamilton does something about what he called the dangerous, drug-infested eyesore where Marty's and then Kelly's used to be at Harvard and Commonwealth avenues. A Hamilton executive said any problems there should go away now that a new tenant is moving into the space.

Another resident objected to the inclusion of retail space in the Brighton Avenue building, saying the street already has enough retail locations and that "it's good for people to walk over to Harvard Avenue."

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 
Ad:

Comments

Yes. Build on surface parking lots and include underground parking. Add some trees while you're at it.

up
Voting closed 0

The free Gimp software could auto-correct white balance.

up
Voting closed 0

This is what happens when you take a photo from fairly far away in a dim room. But, hey, white balance, good idea. Photo still doesn't do the original justice, but it's not quite as blueish anymore.

up
Voting closed 0

The folks at Hacin + Associates saw the post, saw how awful my photo looked and sent me a copy of one of their actual renderings.

up
Voting closed 0

This magical rendering eliminated most parked vehicles and all traffic. Who knew Packard's Corner could be so idyllic?

:)

up
Voting closed 0

Turn these crappy industrial lots to high quality housing. Everywhere.

up
Voting closed 0

Plan ahead rather than just build everything. The city is not going to build for everyone.

up
Voting closed 0

How should we decide who we're not going to build for? The usual system for doing that is price. I hope you can afford to stay. I'm not sure I can.

up
Voting closed 0

So when these are turned into AirBnB hotels or 100% corporate rentals (all recent Hamilton Company developments have done this) how will this help the housing situation?

up
Voting closed 0

That's party of the reason hearings about developments are good things, though some people like to complain because they think they deserve an affordable apartment in a desirable city.

up
Voting closed 0

the interests of the current residents. Not directly the interests of people that a tax beancounter would like to have move to the city from somewhere else.

When people who live in a city are being forced to leave, because incomers are driving up the cost of living too high, there is a question of how well the city government has been representing the needs of the residents.

Calling for more lower/middle-class housing, controls on overseas investors snapping up property as their home country's corrupt stock market teeters, controls on AirBnb investors, controls on developers building luxury units to serve people who don't yet live here... these are all arguably legitimate calls by a current resident, of the government that is supposed to represent the current residents' interests and no one else's.

up
Voting closed 0

Some of those policies can help like restrictions on investment, while others are not sustainable like just trying to build more. More housing is beneficial, but it also needs to be scaled appropriately.

up
Voting closed 0

my experience as a homeowner living in Allston is that people like Paul Creighton and Eva Webster believe they represent all current residents and when you disagree with them, they complain.

I'm 100% in favor of building more rental units in Allston, even those that might be luxury. I'm 100% in favor of retail on the first floor of this building. I'm in favor of a separated bike lane on Brighton Ave. It is easy to find residents who disagree with all these positions and I know that, but many of my neighbors act like all the current residents have exactly the same beliefs as them.

We get tired of Eva yelling at us in meetings, so we send in letters to the BRA in support of projects instead and they get approved, often with improvements we suggest.

up
Voting closed 0

for bringing some sanity to this place

up
Voting closed 0

Just because you disagree with someone's perspective on development in the city does not mean it's unreasonable.

up
Voting closed 0

If you were listening more carefully what Eva is yelling about, you would know that she is not opposed to development in Allston, or Brighton, but she and Creighton want the right kind of development that would not be overwhelming the street, have landscaping, and bring some stability, long term residents, not just more and more transiency.

up
Voting closed 0

Stop spreading lies. Eva didn't yell against this development. She yelled against 89 Brighton Ave. that had no open/green space, and was 6 stories on Brighton Ave. and Linden without any setback. This development is 5 stories on Brighton Ave, and has a 5 ft setback.

up
Voting closed 0

Many of them don't get approved, because not all of them are good for the area. You don't represent the entire neighborhood either who necessarily have the correct perspective on things. No, not everyone who complains is unreasonable.

up
Voting closed 0

That you get tired of other residents voicing their opinion is not even relevant. There opinion matters and should be factored in. You don't have extra influence over what should be considered for development.

The city doesn't build everything that they receive letters of support for and that's good for the region.

up
Voting closed 0

Yes, slowing housing development will go a long way to reducing housing costs... LOL WUT

up
Voting closed 0

Building more will just make it more congested because the desire for investments is not a limited amount.

up
Voting closed 0

Housing is only a desirable investment when its value reliably increases faster than inflation. This is a symptom of the housing shortage, not the cause. The proof is in the vacancy rate. At less than 5 percent, it's hard to argue that prices are high here for any reason other than that more people want to live here than there are places for them to live. The "investors" you're complaining about are making money because they are renting housing to actual humans.

This is an entirely different phenomenon than what occurred during the mortgage crisis, where investors bought empty homes in brand new subdivisions where no one actually lived, waited for them to appreciate (because lots of other investors were doing the same thing), and then sold them, having never actually demonstrated that a real person was willing to pay anywhere near that amount of money to actually live there. Because there were more houses than qualified buyers, the value of those homes ultimately collapsed.

This is exactly the opposite of the problem we have in Boston. We have created a lot of jobs, and real people need to live in actual houses so that they can get to those jobs. Those people bid up the prices on the existing housing stock, which makes Boston an attractive place to invest. They "invest" by building housing and renting it to people. That's *exactly* how markets are supposed to work and if we would just let them do their job, the housing might just stop getting more expensive at a rate of 5-10% a year.

I'm certainly not holding my breath for that to happen any time soon.

up
Voting closed 0

"Housing is only a desirable investment when its value reliably increases faster than inflation."

Wrong, it's also desirable for people who simply want to invest in something stable. Look at all the non resident purchases that have been written about. It's not just local people who want to make a lot of money.

Once again, you are assuming all of this demand is coming only from local people or even domestic people that have jobs in the area or want steady rental income. That's not true.

There are people that look for anything that is going to over them an investment that will simply hold much of it's value. You can't build for all of that demand.

Additionally, with a desirable city, building more only encourages more people to invest.

This is not the kind of demand is something you can completely build for.

up
Voting closed 0

"Once again, you are assuming all of this demand is coming only from local people or even domestic people that have jobs in the area or want steady rental income. That's not true."

You're over-complicating this. Again I point to the vacancy rate. If people are actually living in these so-called "investment" units, then how is this a problem? And how else would you expect housing to get built except by investors seeking a stable investment?

"Additionally, with a desirable city, building more only encourages more people to invest."

Please explain to me how you think this works on the ground. If the number of new units coming onto the market exceeds the number of actual humans that want to move to the city (which basically hasn't happened in Boston since the population started growing again), some of those units are going to sit vacant. Those rental investments are only "stable" if people are actually paying rents. Do you really think investors are going to be eager to keep building new rental properties if they can't fully rent the ones they've already built?

There seems to be a widespread sentiment among the build-more-slowly crowd that the number of new people who would live in Boston every year if only they could find housing is unlimited. I wonder how this can be true when the number of jobs added every year is not.

up
Voting closed 0

You are ignoring or not familiar with the larger situation.

"If people are actually living in these so-called "investment" units, then how is this a problem?"

It is well documented that many of the new high end properties are not regularly occupied.

"If the number of new units coming onto the market exceeds the number of actual humans that want to move to the city"

It's not all related to people with jobs. There is a tremendous amount of demand for stable property investments from many places. There is far more money for investment than you can build for.

Some of them aren't even rented out. It's not all about cash returns. It's a bigger issue about far reaching money.

"I wonder how this can be true when the number of jobs added every year is not."

It's not all about jobs. Look at the high end properties, many sell to people who are not residents year round, they just want a property in a location that is reasonably desirable. There is far more of that than you seem to be aware of. Talk to realtors.

up
Voting closed 0

"It is well documented that many of the new high end properties are not regularly occupied."

Unoccupied high-end properties, in spite of being offensive in concept, are really just not that common. Even in New York, which supposedly has a huge problem with this, only a tiny percentage of the total apartments in the city are like this. As far as I can tell there is really no evidence that a problem like this exists in Boston. Perhaps you can show us evidence to the contrary?

up
Voting closed 0

It's well documented outside of this region. However, when you allow development to build for that market, the new housing doesn't address the local needs.

There have been many articles written about outside purchases in this area, even on this website, though not specifically about ones that aren't occupied. It all reduces supply for locals in an area where it's not easy to build.

up
Voting closed 0

reside in at all, that's speculation, which, imho, should not be allowed, at all, unless a person who does speculation is willing to either rent or sell their invested condos/apartments to people who wish to live here in the city.

Speculation is something that happened a great deal in the 1980's, and we even had some of that going on in the building where I presently reside, at that point. Some of these investors did okay, but others ended up getting screwed over in the end, due to their greediness.

up
Voting closed 0

Speculation of the variety you're describing really only makes sense in a rapidly increasing market. This is something you can prevent by, once again, building more housing. Nobody is going to want to speculate in a market with a high vacancy rate because that would be suicidal.

up
Voting closed 0

"This is something you can prevent by, once again, building more housing."

There is a huge amount of money out there to invest relative to the amount of land.

up
Voting closed 0

Basically, you assume that the demand is only coming from local job seekers or investors that only care about steady returns. There is plenty of demand for anything that is merely going to hold it's value.

In desirable cities, you can keep building without significantly reducing that demand given the amount of space that is there.

Also, those people that live here should not have there home values affected because you are trying to accommodate all that demand that isn't local.

up
Voting closed 3

Investors do not *create* demand, they capitalize on it. If an investor builds a rental property but no one actually rents the units, the investment loses money. If investors can build *lots* of buildings and they all get rented, that tells me that there were a lot of people looking for housing. If people are trying to move to Boston because this is where the jobs are, but we refuse to build the housing for them, the price of that housing is going to keep going up until people (including the ones who already live here) are forced to seek employment and housing elsewhere.

up
Voting closed 0

There are people from far away who buy properties just to have a stable investment property.

Not everyone who buys properties have jobs, some just want to put money into things they hold there value which does nothing for the job seekers.

up
Voting closed 0

Those people buy properties and then rent them to other people because that gets them a better return on their investment. They really do not affect the availability (or the price) of housing at all.

up
Voting closed 0

Not all of them, some just live in them for a few months of the year. It's housing that's not really meant for local families, it's a different market.

up
Voting closed 0

Not true that luxury housing is not desirable. Low or mid-level income areas shouldn't be one-class ghettos. What is wrong with this country is that people are segregated by income. We need greater economic diversity within communities, so housing for different income levels should be developed within the same community.

up
Voting closed 0

Some of the current residents are people who want to see places developed appropriately rather than just large projects.

up
Voting closed 0

Ah yes, the old development is bad because it might be used in a way I do not approve of! How dare corporate rentals be built! Make those corporate renters rent in the apartment I wanted to live in instead!

up
Voting closed 0

The point is if these aren't going to be apartments but defacto hotels they should be designed differently. Not a bait and switch of promising apartment housing to circumvent the approvals process.

up
Voting closed 0

AirBnB is at about the bottom of the list of things driving Boston housing challenges.

up
Voting closed 0

There are units that are rented out like hotels year round, it's all part of the issue.

up
Voting closed 0

Boston needs more housing.

up
Voting closed 0

Slumlording at is finest.

up
Voting closed 0

Naw! Anwar could always up his game.

up
Voting closed 0

Boston Zoning Board Minutes of May 19 Public Hearing now available by email, request via
http://www.cityofboston.gov/boardsandcommissions/default.aspx?boardid=180

With what online mechanism could the Minutes of Public Meetings be put on the Web?...

up
Voting closed 0

dangerous, drug-infested eyesore where Marty's and then Kelly's used to be at Harvard and Commonwealth avenues.

That intersection has been dangerous and drug-infested for as long as anyone can remember. I remember in college my (underage) friend used to pay the crack addicts outside of Marty's to go buy the group booze. My friend would give the guy a $20 and request decent booze; the guy would buy the cheapest 8 oz bottle and keep the change as a fee.

It definitely gets nastier during times when that corner building is vacant, but 'cmon. That corner has A Long History, and putting a new tenant in isn't going to make it go away overnight.

up
Voting closed 0

Sure, but it also isn't the landlord's responsibility to make it go away. The truth is, there is little a landlord can do as they don't own the sidewalk, and the city of boston does not have anti-loitering laws where even calling the police could be used to make the people move on.

Removing the benches might help, but as you have pointed out, there were people loitering there long before the benches were present.

up
Voting closed 0