Investment buy-in a boost for Dot Block

A rendering from RODE Architects shows what Dot Block would look like from Hancock and Pleasant Streets,

The Dot Block development in Glover’s Corner is aiming for an early summer construction start date after a new investor bought into the mixed-used project, providing the financial infusion needed to break ground.

Though developer Sean Gildea and spokeswoman Catherine O’Neill would not confirm the identity of the investor at a meeting of the Hancock Street Civic Association on Tuesday night, property records filed with the Suffolk County Register of Deeds show investment group Wintergold, LLC purchased the property for $19.1 million on Dec. 15.

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) signed off on the Dot Block designs in May. Project owners have since sought investment partners to help finance $150 million in anticipated costs.

“We were out looking for money,” Gildea said. “We found someone who was willing to help get the project going. So we’re more excited than ever about the prospect of getting this going in 2017.”

Developers have been pursuing the project for three years now. With one funding hurdle cleared— enabling the team to secure a loan— Gildea told the civic group that the team is hoping for a late second-quarter groundbreaking for the project.

“It’s pretty much all-systems go for us,” he said.

Dot Block covers about 4 acres of largely industrial land within the bounds of Dorchester Avenue and Greenmount, Pleasant, and Hancock streets. It rests within a span of the Dorchester Avenue corridor poised for zoning reform through a Glover’s Corner-focused planning study getting underway in early this year.

The five-building development includes 362 rental units, Gildea said, though they may “change the unit mix a little bit to pick up a few more.” Dot Block’s overall footprint will not change, however, he said.

About 37,000 square feet of new ground floor retail space is planned. A five-story parking garage is expected to hold 450 spots.

Conversation turned to traffic when Gildea suggested that 450 spots may be more than needed for the location, based on assessments of similar properties around Greater Boston. A round-about considered for the intersection of Hancock and Pleasant streets at the base of the development will now be a standard four-way signaled intersection.

Civic members pointed out a possible complication in the area when construction begins disturbing the earth. “There will be a rat problem,” said civic president Marti Glynn. “It’s just going to happen.” Gildea shuddered.

“I promise, whatever the rat issue is,” he said, “we’re going to be the most aggressive rat-killers you’ve ever seen.”

On the commercial side, Gildea said they do not yet have a retailer selected for the ground-floor space but are still seeking a grocer of some sort. He said he is not concerned about interest from retailers for the location.

“We think it would be really helpful to the project and the community to have a grocery store,” he said.

“But should it be a 10,000-square foot grocery store or a 40,000-square foot grocery store? We’re not sure, because maybe we want to put other retail in on the ground level too… so we’re trying to sort that out.”