B'nai B'rith Housing New England of Brighton wants to buy an approved but as yet unbuilt 60-unit residential project off Baker Street in West Roxbury and hopes to rent all of the units as affordable.
With BPDA approval, the non-profit would buy the development rights from Richard Olstein, who owns the land on which the units would sit, next to an existing office building he also owns, along the Needham Line train track. Although the project is called 270 Baker St., access would be via VFW Parkway and an extension of Simbroco Road onto Gardner Street, with no access directly onto Baker Street.
In 2017, the BPDA approved Olstein's plans for a 60 condos in two buildings with a garage under one of them. The Zoning Board of Appeal then gave its approval in 2018.
In June of this year, Olstein asked the BPDA to let him build the units as apartments rather than condos. But in a letter filed with the BPDA today, Olstein's lawyer says Olstein now wants to sell the residential part of his land to B'nai B'rith, that, in fact, he agreed to offer B'nai B'rith the development rights last month.
With BPDA approval, B'nai B'rith would keep the same total number of apartments, but would increase the number of one-bedroom apartments from the 4 Olstein won approval for to 19 and reduce the number of two-bedroom units from 50 to 35. The group would keep the number of three-bedroom units at the 6 that Olstein had permission to build.
In additional, B'nai B'rith would eliminate one of the two buildings and increase the size of the remaining building to accommodate all 60 of the apartments, according to the letter from Olstein's attorney, Dennis Quilty - who adds the net result would be to reduce the project's overall square footage. B'nai B'rith would also reduce the number of parking spaces from 90 to 60, and would provide those in a parking lot, rather than the more expensive garage Olstein had planned, Quilty wrote.
B'nai B'rith will also reduce costs by eliminating planned balconies.
The changes, when coupled with subsidies and financing B'nai B'rith would try for, would let it rent all of the units under BPDA's affordability guidelines, Quilty wrote.
Some 41 of the apartments would be rented to people making no more than 60% of the Boston area median income (in 2019, $68,000 for a family of four), while the remaining 19 units would be rented to people making no more than the area median income ($113,000 for a family of four).
Olstein's proposal included a total of eight units that would be rented as affordable.
270 Baker St. notice of project change (184k PDF).