Viet-AID project, altered, up for approval again

The plan to build on a long-vacant lot at Bloomfield Street and Geneva Avenue is up for neighborhood approval again, in a meeting that was originally scheduled for tonight but has been rescheduled for May 7.

Matt Thall, interim director of the non-profit developer Viet-AID has been meeting with abutters and community groups over the past months, trying to come up with a plan that appeases all. No easy task when some residents seem opposed to any development of any kind on the site and others have a desire to see more than the plan entails.

Since the last meeting on the project in October 2008, Viet-AID’s staff has trimmed the proposed number of rental units to 27 from 34, eliminating the retail shops originally proposed. The lower occupancy should go some distance in meeting the desires of abutters, who complained about height and density, but could disappoint other groups that hoped to fill gaps in the commercial district.
Thall said Viet-AID hired a consultant, Finepoint Associates, to do a market study of the site and determine how viable a business would be there.

“I’m sympathetic to what their wish is,” said Thall. “But the fact is we commissioned a market study and the conclusion is that retail at this location at this time is a very risky proposition.”

Viet-AID also looked at parking in the area, and determined that a large number of legal parking spaces exist. He also suggested to abutters that the Vietnamese American Community Center, a block away from the proposed “Bloomfield Gardens” project, could open up parking for residents at night.
The meeting, refereed by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, will be May 7, 6 p.m. at the Vietnamese American Community Center, 42 Charles St.