Thursday, September 2, 2010

NEW CONSTRUCTION: Housing planned next to Garden

A residential developer wants to tear down a parking garage next to TD Garden and replace it with 500 rental apartments.

Equity Residential, which has built several buildings in the nearby West End Apartments, filed plans for the new apartments yesterday. They would be in several buildings, and the 650 parking spaces of the five-story Garden Garage would be moved to an underground facility, with 200 spaces added.

The new complex would add to the redevelopment of the streets around the Garden in recent years.

Trinity Financial completed the Avenir apartments last year and is proposing to build another complex with a supermarket, parking garage, and dozens of additional apartments off Causeway Street. Equity Residential added five buildings to the old Charles River Park, since renamed West End Apartments.

An executive at Equity, a national developer, said plans for the Garden Garage site are being refined, and that the company will solicit input from neighbors in coming weeks on height and design of the new buildings.

“We are in the process of reviewing various scenarios,’’ said Greg White, a vice president of development for Equity. “As in the past, we will continue to work with the community at every stage.’’

The 3-acre site is across the street from the Garden and is bordered by Lomasney Way and Thoreau Path. The architect for the project is Elkus Manfredi Architects, which also designed Equity’s buildings at West End Apartments.

The director of a prominent civic group in the neighborhood said demolition of the hulking, five-story concrete garage would be a welcome change to the area.

“It’s a rather unattractive site as it is right now,’’ said Robert O’Brien, executive director of the Downtown North Association. “Obviously there are a lot of details to be worked out, but the entire area around Nashua Street would be improved by some redevelopment.’’

John Palmieri, director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, said Equity must be sensitive to concerns about height, but removing the garage would help reconnect the site to surrounding properties.

“There is a real opportunity here,’’ Palmieri said.

Casey Ross Boston Globe August 25, 2010

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