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Closed Forest Hills bar to make way for apartments

Jamaica Plain News reports the reason for the appearance of construction equipment and fencing outside the former JJ Foley's Fireside Tavern on Hyde Park Avenue is so a developer can begin work to put up a four-story, nine-unit apartment building.

Builder Gregory McCarthy of Arlington has a building permit for a four-story building with nine apartments and ground-floor retail space and parking. However, he has yet to be issued a demolition permit to raze the old bar building which was erected in 1920, which means the city Landmarks Commission first has to determine whether it has any historic value or whether it can be torn down.

McCarthy bought the 6,000-square-foot parcel for $1.35 million in August from the Foley family, according to Registry of Deeds records.

Multi-family housing is an allowed use in the "neighborhood shopping" zoning district the tavern sits in; the project did not need any approval from the zoning board.

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Comments

Only bummer is it's too small considering it's across the street from Forest Hills.

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Probably as big as possible within zoning. Between the choice of nine apartments as-of-right and a 3 year process going through the zoning board for 12 units, smaller is probably the smarter choice here.

One is that adding more floors would probably exceed whatever the lot's maximum floor-area ratio is, which would require a zoning variance, and not have enough parking, which would also require a zoning variance, and that would add months to the project to allow for neighborhood meetings and a zoning-board hearing.

But also, once you get to ten units, you're subject to the city's affordable housing requirements, which would mean in this case at least one unit would have to be rented as affordable and likely would require a payment to the BPDA's affordable-housing fund (the requirement is 13% of units have to be affordable, or as close as you can get plus a payment into the fund).

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All true and therein lies the problem. It should be easy and as-of-right to build a fairly good-sized apartment building directly across the street from a major transit station. And yet it isn't despite everyone knowing there's a dearth of available housing in Boston.

Slow news day today.

There are plenty of other Web sites out there if the news here bores you.

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That building has the historic value of a pothole, knock it down and put up housing. Then head up to the 3700 block and build another couple stories atop those restaurants. (Edit: as Kinopio notes below, the 14 parking spots is absurd. This is the best transit location south of Ruggles.)

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14 parking spaces for a building with only 9 units. And its across the street from a T station. We have a housing crisis yet we are still prioritizing cars over people.

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but can’t blame them if the alternative is dealing with bpda and zba. This is the fault of our ridiculous zoning code.

Meanwhile in Jersey City, they’re combining two single family parcels and building 166 units in 20 stories on a 5,600-sqft lot. Source. And that’s just one of many similar projects in JC.

This city lacks creativity and forward thinking. Ridiculous that we can’t build tall across the street from a transit hub like Forest Hills.

The building would have 9 residential units, 14 parking spots, and one retail location.

14 spots is still too many. But you can’t just ignore the retail location if you’re complaining about it.

instead of complaining about it here on the internet.

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Dumb poors, having an opinion on issues that impact their quality of life but not being able to afford the millions of dollars it would cost to change things single-handedly. Imagine the nerve!

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Is missing the forest for the trees. The developer is only putting in 9 units to get around the 10 unit plus buildings must offer affordable units. The parking is just taking up the remaining space.

As a four car household (I have three including some exotics and my wife has one), 1.5 cars per unit is not even close to enough.

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I don't think you need to concern yourself about where to park your exotics, or whether somebody in this building has a chance at securing 4 parking spots. That said, your complaint about 1.5 spots per unit obscures your much more valid point about the affordable unit threshold. You should delete the second paragraph.

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Lol, I wouldn’t be caught dead there. You can read my post history for where I’m ending up.

The property cost 1.3 million to buy? Then you are gonna make easily 2-3 million off the units. Kino could have easily invested into this property. Don't you think? Take the risk and do it.

give it up, officer

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doesn't mean everyone else has to be scared and whine about their circumstances. Or assume Kino can't afford it. 90% chance he could (or his parents could) but doesn't want to take the chance and risk it.

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Kind of spraying your graffiti all over our community message board, aren't you?

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Lemme guess, the retail space will sit empty for half a decade, and then we get a bank or some sketchy business that provides no day-to-day value to the neighborhood.

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City Realty put up a similarly sized building nearby, and the space was filled pretty quickly with a taqueria.

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Tacos in this spot would be great! But please, Magoo, don't give us your take on tacos.

The new building at 90 Hyde Park Ave got a vet clinic pretty quickly.

Mixed use buildings are the right way to go.

Wish we got something like a Taqueria in the former James Gate spot...

Your comment is so spot on that I'm laughing. Why is the commercial retail space under Velo on the opposite corner STILL empty? And please don't put a bakery in there that sells $10 loaves of cinnamon bread with nothing more than a half teaspoon of cinnamon and no sugar.

I think the issue is that new buildings take some time to fill, but in the case of the Forest Hills neighborhood, so much new housing has come on line in the past 5 years, that there is very likely high demand for local businesses to serve the new population. What you describe is true at the beginning of a building boom, but I don't think it continues to be true once that critical population density is actually reached. Anyway, I'll certainly hope for the best.

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I'll hope for the best on retail too, but...

-Harvest Coop was early vs the housing boom in the area but didn't make it. The space is either vacant or a school now? (can argue they were poorly run, but nevertheless they're closed)

-Bukhara didn't make it. The space was vacant for a long time before they leased/sub-leased it, and now it's vacant again. (again, can argue they were poorly run, and can argue the things before them were poorly run, but we're now at multiple restaurants gone and the space is open again).

-there is 'new' vacant retail/commercial space on the ground floor in Velo... vacant for at least a few years now. Can argue it's not the right footprint, or doesn't have enough parking, or COVID made it hard to lease, or something. But, it's vacant and still 'brand new' space.

-The former cell phone store went vacant for a while, then was a short lived wig store, now is a rock / crystal/ gem store that by the looks of it may not last very long.

-Dogwood? Let's hope that whoever bought the building has a new tenant lined up or plans to run a restaurant themselves. Because it's vacant right now.

I'd love there to be more vibrant retail / restaurant there. It has always felt like there should be. The thousands of new units in a 0.5mi or less radius sure suggest there ought be demand.

And yet...

Harvest committed a key error: It moved from a place where it had been for decades, where it had a lot of members who walked to a site all the way on the other side of the Arborway - which was under construction at the time (the space is now some private school).

Bukhara move in a few doors from another, already established Indian restaurant, which remains open.