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Several hundred residential units proposed for block off Herald Street in the South End

Proposal for 112 Shawmut Ave. in the South End

Architect's rendering of 112 Shawmut Ave. proposal.

The Davis Companies this week filed detailed plans with the BPDA to gut an existing warehouse building at 112 Shawmut Ave. and turn it into a 13-floor, 143-unit residential building.

In its project-notification form, Davis said it is working with the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England on a proposal to replace the C-Mart supermarket and parking lot at Herald and Washington with a 14-story building with up to 302 residential units and with the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church on a proposal to replace the church's current three-story building at 120 Shawmut with an 11-story building with 72 units.

The developer and the two groups would seek BPDA approval to reclassify their three parcels as a "planned development area," which would let them and the BPDA toss their existing zoning and create new rules just for them.

Davis plans to completely gut the interior of the current building at 112 Shawmut Ave., leaving only the facades along Shawmut Avenue and Herald Street. Rather than renting or selling any of the units as affordable, Davis will hand over money to the BPDA "for the development of nearby affordable housing." A three-level garage, two-thirds underground, would provide room for 124 vehicles. Space on the ground floor could be turned into a cafe.

The C-Mart property could become a 14-story building housing 302 residential units, 14,200 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and 120 parking spaces.

According to Davis, the church property, once a nursing home, could be used for a 150-foot high building housing:

Two religious sanctuaries, a gymnasium, fitness rooms, office, classroom and meeting space for religious educational, recreational and social services uses, a small (approximately 2,000 sf) ground floor commercial space, and approximately 72 residential units.

It would have room for 30 cars in a garage.

The Davis filing triggers a BPDA review process for 112 Shawmut Ave. The other two projects have yet to be filed with the authority.

112 Shawmut Ave. project-notification form (41M PDF).

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For affordable housing.

How about putting it toward sensible urbanism and affordable housing?

The Davis Company, headed by John Davis, is a smart group. 112 Shawmut will be a great development. They have a great track record in the city and burbs on development.

The 112 Shawmut plan calls for 143 units of housing on just about 2/3's of an acre. That works out to 220 units of housing per acre. Perfect for this part of the city. Very sensible urbanism.

Across the street is Castle Square. Castle Square is 500 units of housing or about 3.5x the amount of housing. However, Castle Square is on 11.5 acres of land. That is almost half the size of the Public Garden. That works out to 43 units of housing per acre. An acre of land in Dorchester can support about 9 thee deckers or 27 units of housing. That is great when you are living up off of Talbot Ave, but not right next to the urban core. Castle Square = Urine poor urbanism.

A quick count of parking spaces (don't hold me to a perfect count) has Castle Square with about 220 parking spaces; open air parking spaces. Are you kidding me? In what is supposed to be workforce housing we are wasting space on parking spaces for people that live within steps of an MBTA station, the 43 (formerly known as The Burma Bus according to my dad), the 9, and the Silver Line. Yes, you can live in a subsidized development and have a car, but good god, why are we letting cars take up spaces when you can have even more housing?

Do you realize that if Castle Square was rebuilt to the planned density of 112 Shawmut, there would be 2,030 net new units of affordable housing? That might go a long way to solving a bit of the housing crisis around here.

Just a hint HUD / BPDA / BHA. Just a hint on the silliness of housing policy when the current housing crunch has three deckers on East Second Street selling for $1.5M when they were selling for $200,000 or less 20 years ago.

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Tear down the new york streets! I didn't realize it had been long enough that we would consider another displacement project like the one that first created Castle Square?

As someone who enjoys walking through it, I would argue that your reasons it sucks at urbanism actually make it work. It has a park-like feel with yards and common spaces, and there seems to be an actual community. Great!

Could we instead develop the warehouses and parking lots into more affordable housing?

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Great. You want a yard, have a car, and be affordable, move to Holbrook. It's great, lots of ball fields, trees, turkeys and deer in the back, 2 superfund sites, and vague transit connections.

1950's urban planning and its lessons from and implemented by the guys who gave us the Army's WWII thinking (Destroy everything and start over) was an disaster.

You may like your jaunts through the development, I see a waste of valuable space near transit, employment, and all the other benefits of urban life that is in place to benefit a few and not more. More people who need places to live in this ever changing world where employment has shifted back to the urban core as opposed to around the Burlington Mall. Everytime I hear or read a story about some grandmother who has to take 3 buses to get to her job at CVS downtown, I think wouldn't it be great if she could live near downtown because there was more affordable housing?

As far as the NY Streets go, I think private enterprise has gone a long way in replacing the mistakes of the past. Herald - Gone, ITOA - Gone, FedEx - Gone, Graybar - Gone, Ho Kong / Quinzanni's - Going, Bank of Boston - Long Gone (Harold Brown was way ahead of the curve on that one).

The former phone company warehouse next to Our Lady of the Borg needs to go and Mr. Druker could use a little prodding on his site, but overall, your NY streets point is moot.

Just remember, as someone who spent a lot of time as a kid and a teenager in the South End east of Washington Street, it was a dump, as was the fabled New York Streets before it.

I've seen pictures of the NY Streets from the 50s. You know what it looks like, downtown Brockton today. You can have it.

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There are two empty lots and two parking garages within a block of there that could be new high-rise affordable housing. There's your wasted space. Not the only current affordable housing in the area.

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Not to mention, it's < 0.25 miles from the Orange line. Also a dead streetwall along Berkeley street.

If we just allowed 10-14 stories by right here, we could build housing cheaper here too.

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Constant building is not going to keep prices down when you are just competing with buyers from far away. Every location isn't going to always be affordable. Provided a blend of affordable units with a mixed of densities is better, along with open space.

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Hello John, my name is Alanna and I am a journalism student at Boston University. I am writing a story on the new development at 112 Shawmut- would you have time to speak about your thoughts on the development? Thanks!

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