Sunday, April 20, 2014
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New apartment project approved in Allston

Investing $56 million for recently approved projects in Boston neighborhoods, the Boston Redevelopment Authority Board of Directors approved a new project in Allston that will be used for residential and commercial space.

Waypoint Companies Manager Ed Champy said the new housing units will be at 61-83 Braintree St. and are designed for young professionals who are looking to live in a modern building, but are not ready to pay the rent of a downtown Boston apartment.

“We believe that the clientele would like to no longer be sharing a three-bedroom and would like to live in a well acquainted new building,” he said “That’s our target audience. Late 20s, early 30s, have their finances in order but at the same time, aren’t ready to move into downtown Boston and pay the rent that a downtown Boston facility would require.”

The 93,000 square foot project, which was approved Thursday and developed by Waypoint Companies, will include 80 rental units, a 67 space underground garage, three community rooms and 2,277 square feet of commercial and retail space. A total of $17,000 will be spent on the construction of the mixed-use building, and 90-95 construction jobs will be created.

“We’ve made the commercial space very small and we’ve made the community space or the amenity space for the building larger than the retail space,” said Champy. “Activity is very important. We don’t want the building to be sterile, and we don’t want the environment to be sterile. We want people to meet each other and say ‘hi.’ Activity creates that.”

The developers also worked to create a common area in the front of the building that would promote a community-atmosphere, not only for the residents of the building, but for the entire neighborhood, he said.

With the construction of the three community rooms, Champy said he hopes to attract local artists and encourage them to use the building for recreational and residential purposes.

“We’re doing our best to engage the art community, and they’ve responded quite well so we think our relationship will be excellent,” he said. “We are going to take the amenity space and allow the art community, as well as civic associations, to use the amenity space for their meetings or a gallery or a showing or something like that.”

Several residents said the construction of the multi-use building in Allston would provide the neighborhood with an improved sense of community, especially for young professionals and college students.

Jeremy Fraga, 25, of Allston, said it is important for the BRA to invest money in improving Boston’s neighborhoods, but there must also be a focus on keeping the cost of living low, especially for students and young professionals living in the city.

“The biggest problem with people trying to find housing in Boston is the rising cost in living,” he said. “If they [keep prices down], it’ll be a good idea. Allston is a little run down right now, as it is, and this is a nice way to bring up the look of everything.”

Andrew Leroy, 29, of Brighton, said the new project would create growth in Allston in terms of community involvement and jobs.

“It seems encouraging, considering how big of an area it is and how little there is right now, as far as development is concerned in Allston,” he said. “It seems like a good approach to stimulate more job growth and bring in new people from different parts of the country.”

Jason Robb, 30, of Brighton, said the $17 million investment would adjust the attitudes of many Allston residents.

“Allston isn’t a town that usually comes to mind as a place that’s typically self-respectful in how it looks and feels,” he said. “Usually, when things look and feel newer and nice, people treat them better.”

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