With many college students living off-campus, two separate construction projects could add more than 100 apartments to the Allston and Brighton area in the coming months.
Mount Vernon Company and Waypoint Company each have apartment projects that would build large, multifamily apartment buildings south of Interstate 95, but they must be approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority before any construction can begin.
“Allston is seeing a tremendous amount of investment from students and people in Harvard, WGBH, etc.,” said Bruce Percelay, founder of Mount Vernon. “There are pockets of Allston that give it a bad name. Our goal is to take it to a different level and to provide housing alternatives that are equal to or better than the housing options downtown.”
The two proposals come in the midst of many construction projects, all of which are seeking city approval before Boston Mayor Thomas Menino retires after 20 years in the position.
The Mount Vernon Development would build a complex over a used car lot on North Beacon Street. It would have 87 apartments, including studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. The complex would also provide underground parking for residents.
“We saw this neighborhood with three large industrial sites on it, and we decided that it needed to be redeveloped,” Percelay said. “We really would be the best leaders of green apartments. We just need to redevelop the area and let people know housing around here doesn’t have to be these old buildings. We could make it a little more cutting-edge.”
Mount Vernon also has eight other properties in Allston and four in Brighton, according to the company’s website.
The Waypoint project would replace Thompson Durkee, Co., a plumbing store on Braintree Street. If approved by the BRA, the project would include 80 apartments and commercial space as well.
Neither project is guaranteed to happen, but many Allston residents said they have mixed opinions about the two complexes potentially being built.
Jarrett Car, 22, said the possible construction would help revive the rundown area.
“Development is never really a detriment, especially here,” he said. “There’s just a lot of space, a lot of parking lots and buildings that just aren’t being used, so it can only do some good for this area.”
Crystelle Francois, 19, said the apartments could help diversify the area, but she said she was more concerned about the added traffic that would come from the new families.
“I already can’t get up or down the street,” she said. “Sure, I’ll say the project could probably help a lot, but with so many families [that would move in], that’s at least two cars per apartment. There’s no way we can handle that. It’ll just stop everything.”
Laura Heath, 24, said she would like to see Allston displayed as more than an area for “college kids and poorer families,” but the construction would disrupt the community too much to help the neighborhood.
“Even though we’re right next to the city, the major feel of this area is people in houses or brick buildings with just a few apartments in them,” she said. “Those enormous buildings would ruin that neighborhood feeling and encroach on the environment.”
Barbara Lamb, 74, an Allston resident for several decades, said the apartments would be one more step in a process that allows the area to be absorbed by Harvard — which is planning to build several buildings over the next decade — from the north and Boston from the south and east.
“They [the projects] seem to be turning this area into a brick city,” she said. “I don’t like concrete. This place still has a feeling of wood, and the cities are invading and taking that away. People like it here because there’s a feeling of earth, but that’s not a feeling of earth.”