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Dorm-like apartments approved for Allston

Architect's rendering of 525 Lincoln St.

Rendering, with birds, by HDS Architecture.

The Zoning Board of Appeal today approved a six-story apartment building between Lincoln and Cambridge streets aimed at people who don't mind sharing apartments - such as grad students and young professionals looking to save on rent.

The board approved a building with 80 apartments - 58 of them with four bedrooms and 12 with three bedrooms designed as suites with a common kitchen for each and aimed at people who don't mind a dorm-like setting. It'll be Allston's first formal co-living development. An additional ten units will be rented as traditional studios.

Developers Arx Urban and Boylston Properties agreed not to rent any of the units to undergraduates. They added they will not try to turn the building into an executive-suite sort of hotel.

The mayor's office backed the proposal as did City Councilor Liz Breadon (Allston/Brighton) and the Allston Civic Association. Breadon and ACA President Tony D'Isidoro said they are optimistic that by drawing off grad students and young professionals from the Allston/Brighton housing market, they will both give those people a way to start their lives in the neighborhood while making it easier for families to stay in the neighborhood as competition decreases for more traditional housing units.

The BPDA approved the proposal in January.

Common AllBright filings with the BPDA.

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Comments

Anyone know how these units are any different than normal apartments? Every 3 or 4 bedroom apartment I've ever seen already has a common kitchen and other shared spaces. Is there actually a difference or are terms like "dorm-like" and "co-living" just buzzwords that mean the same thing as having roommates?

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Voting closed 27

Usually, three- and four-bedroom apartments are marketed towards couples with kids. These are intended for three or four unrelated adults.

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Voting closed 9

As Adam says, it's how they are marketing this. I'm guessing that if a family of 4 showed up and had the money, they would rent them a 3 bedroom unit. I bet the pricing is such that a 3 or 4 bedroom place in this building would be quite a bit more money than if they could find such a place in a house or older apartment building.

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Voting closed 9

In many Boston area neighborhoods, landlords specifically don't want families and kids, and price the units so that you'd need 4 incomes to afford a 4 bedroom apartment. Families mean de-leading, which is expensive, and landlords know they can charge a lot for a crappy old apartment with some granite countertops thrown in.

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Voting closed 5

Deleading won't be necessary.

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I'd say it's a good way to make a $4500/3-bedroom or $6000/4-bedroom sound more acceptable.

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Voting closed 35

Every bedroom has its own full bathroom, with no "hallway" half bath.

That's never seen in housing targeted at families.

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Voting closed 10

Amenities attached to the room (bathroom)

Can't be accused of "pushing families out", etc.

Individual leases - your suite mates don't have to cover your rent or look for another housemate if you leave.

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Voting closed 22

Usually your lease is for the bedroom, so you dont have to worry about finding 3 other roommates or dealing with anyone not paying rent - thats on the building management. They also usually include utilities and such for the same reason.

Bedrooms tend to be the same size too, so no worrying about who gets the master and pays more and so forth. Many times buildings like this also include larger amenity spaces than an older building would.

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Voting closed 14

If like me you are curious about the price point, I looked it up in the project's BPDA filing and it is available at page 23 or paragraph 1.6 of the document at the link below.

It looks like they will have the 13% mandated affordable units with rooms in the $850 range.

The other 87% will be able to rent a room in the $1500 range. According to the developer, it is a relative bargain because they mention numbers of $1600 a month for a "Craigslist room" and $2775 for a "Traditional studio".

Inflated numbers aside, this is hardly a breakthrough in terms of affordability. For the market rate units, individuals not born with a trust fund or earning < $55k/year (i.e most essential workers) need not apply.

The filling is dated 7/11/2019. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming years.

https://bpda.app.box.com/s/vx0dguqbkfrlvp1dk8gd16k3eus7un81

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Voting closed 23

The Walsh administrations housing policies are creating slums all of our city. Micro housing is not an acceptable answer to our house in crisis. It is a strategy that has been soundly rejected in other cities where it has been tried. Currently the Walsh administration believes that you can fit eight people into at an apartment that is 1000 ft.². That is unacceptable. It’s inhumane.

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Voting closed 14

Citations needed.

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Voting closed 29

Do your own homework if you care about the issue

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You made the assertion - you need to back it up.

It isn't my homework to do ... it is your homework.

IMAGE(https://miro.medium.com/max/1418/0*xswgtnvl_q9VDZ2y.jpg)

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Voting closed 33

I do not need to write my commentary to your specifications thank you very much

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While it's not your responsibility to tailor your perspective to anyone who asks, it is your responsibility to back up your premise with sources.

You won't be able to convince many people that you're right if your response to inquiry is to throw your hands up and say "it's not my job to educate you"

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Fenway Crank (in case you live in the Fenway and are just cranky and not trolling) most micro units provide more space for one person than a dorm room provides for two or three young adults. The Fenway and surrounding area has plenty of dorms. Pandemic aside, how is the square footage of dorms such a big issue?

And yes, as Swirl says, if you are going to make a statement, it is a lot more useful if you can back it up with valid sources instead of ridiculous statements, such as "Currently the Walsh administration believes that you can fit eight people into at an apartment that is 1000 ft.²" -which is complete non-sense.

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Voting closed 19

1) I do live in the Fenway
2) The Allston project is not being put forward as a dormitory but an apartment building. That is my objection to it. The universities should be building their own damn dormitories. The city needs housing for people who are working for a living who can’t afford to live in the city did they help operate.
3) The cities specifications are available on the BPDA and the DND websites. The city believes that you can put two people in any bedroom. The city also believes that you can put a four bedroom apartment in to 1050 square feet. You do the math.

The policy of pursuing microhousing is dehumanizing and obscene.

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Voting closed 7

"The city needs housing for people who are working for a living who can’t afford to live in the city did they help operate."

This is true. The city also needs
* housing for older adults who have passed their working age.
* housing for those whose disabilities preclude them from working.
* housing for caretakers, who can't both work and mind children, older adults, or any other person who requires care and attention.
* housing for students, who don't live with families, but who are residents of our community and also require shelter as a fundamental.

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Voting closed 4

Here's a ridiculous claim for which I'm not going to provide any evidence or proof of. Then, when you ask me for some, I'm going to insult you and then claim that it's so obvious and easily available, that you should go find it yourself rather than just provide it to you, because obviously it's so easy that I can't be bothered to do it.

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Go do your reading now

god some of you people are nasty on here

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Back in the beforetimes, I traveled a lot for work and had a microstudio that I loved. It would have been even better with some shared community spaces, but it was 99% perfect for my needs and budget. Not everyone needs a ton of space and has a ton of stuff.

What they're charging is ridiculous, but that's another issue entirely.

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I get that this isn't the first time that clause has been inserted in Boston, but I find it pretty terrible.

Firstly, undergrads 18-22 gotta live somewhere too, and it need not be on campus.

Secondly, what about "no undergrad" housing where junior graduates a Boston high school and attends a local college... can he no longer live at home with his family?

Thirdly, what about an adult taking a course at night? If that person hasn't finished a BA or a BS, does that for-credit-course make her an undergraduate? Eviction for her?

Finally, has anyone tested the "no undergrads" in court? I get that college kids aren't a protected class, but it seems strange.

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Also, is it the age being targeted or the designation?

If I grew up in the area and graduate from a tech school at 18, join a union and by 21 am already making decent money, can I live here? I would not be an undergrad but would be of that age.

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but it might be age. It solves some of my listed problems, but raises quite a few like the one you raise.

Anybody got any expertise on this?

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Otherwise it's basically a high-end SRO, no?

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See answer further up.

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SROs typically don't have a private toilet or a private shower. These do -- it's a pretty significant difference in my opinion.

SROs are rented by the room. My bet (not certain!) is that these are not -- they get 4 kids to sign the lease, not rent out each room separately. I could be wrong on this detail, but it's how it was being done when I lived in one 20 years ago.

SROs are often furnished, though this isn't a requirement. My bet (not certain!) is that these apartments will be rented out unfurnished.

So, does it have some similarities to an SRO? Sure. But it's more like an apartment that happens to have 3 or 4 equally sized en suite bedrooms than an SRO, in my opinion.

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80 units and 30 parking spots. Residents who already street park will notice this crunch. People living there will have to be tolerant of living like that. No thanks!

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People who park on the street should have no expectation that the situation will never change.

It's not the role of the city government to defend the hoarding of public resources by current residents at the expense of future residents.

Preventing the construction of housing because existing residents don't want competition for parking is the best way to keep our city's housing UNaffordable.

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30 spots is plenty enough for a highly urban area with access to car share and transit.

We need habitat for humans, not for vehicles.

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And the 66 into the square will be a bigger nightmare than it already was during pre-pandemic times. When I lived over there in LA, a long time ago, it was usually faster to walk to the sq than waiting for the proverbial sardine can called the 66.

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So if we can't build housing for people who will use frequent transit lines, and we can't build housing that will increase the number of cars in the neighborhood, then what? Boston is full, and all new housing has to be out on the highway in Dedham somewhere?

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This place is walking distance from the Green Line (B), commuter rail (Boston Landing), and the 57, 66, and 64 buses. I've personally relied on all of those regularly to get to and from work at various points in my life, and have connected from this location (fine, a place about a block away) to transit literally hundreds of times.

It's also within reasonable walking distance of BU itself, and an easy bike ride to Harvard, MIT, Longwood, etc., which is relevant if it will be marketed to grad students. There are two large supermarkets within a few minutes' walk as well, plus the Whole Foods right across the river and the Trader Joe's at Continuum. Some of Boston's best and most interesting bars, restaurants, and music venues are in this neighborhood. It's within blocks of three liquor stores, a hardware store, a tattoo parlor...

I guess what I'm saying is that filling 50 units here with people who can tolerate not having a car shouldn't be very hard.

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Voting closed 17

As a former resident of LA (2 blocks from here), while it's nice to have a car, it is not an essential.

The bus service is adequate and there are options. As you say, you can walk to the Green Line or the 57 bus if you get sick of the 66.

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should consider investing in a private solution to store their private goods, rather than assuming that the city will always provide a free and convenient public solution for that.

People living there will have to be tolerant of living like that.

...yes, that's how life tends to work, assuming you have the ability to choose where you live. If you don't like the conditions of living in this building, you're free to choose not to live there.

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I lived on one of the lovely residential streets in LA and had a number of neighbors who were very sensitive about parking availability, especially in front of their house. One of my neighbors put cones out all year long to save his spaces. Another neighbor, who is still a (kind of) friend, wanted people who didn't own property in the area to have to pay to park on the street.

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Shockingly, the design of this building looks quite nice! It's a long building but they broke it up quite nicely, and the materials don't look like the cheapest ones they could find.

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