Fields Corner residents on Wednesday questioned the developer looking to replace the abandoned Lucky Strike bowling alley on Adams Street with residential property.
BT Construction’s Hiep Chu, a developer and longtime resident of Dorchester, held the meeting at the request of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) to give community members enough time to respond to his proposal.
A residential project to replace the abandoned bowling alley, which closed down almost seven years ago, has been in the works for the past four years. Chu has been part of the project since it began, and took ownership of it two years ago.
“This has been a long time coming,” Chu told residents at the meeting on Wednesday, January 15 at Kit Clark Senior Services.
The project calls for the creation of a three-story building with the first floor having four commercial spots and the following floors having 22 housing units consisting of two studios, 12 one-bedroom apartments, and eight two-bedroom apartments. Three units will be designated as affordable and the building will be professionally managed.
Kathy Lynch, a member of Clam Point Civic Association, was concerned about the type of businesses that would be moving in to the property.
“I will probably have some say in the master deed on what businesses won’t benefit the community,” Chu said.
Others at the meeting were concerned about parking and traffic in the area, saying that 14 off-street parking spaces aren’t enough to accommodate the residents and businesses in the building. The proposal designates a one-way entrance and exit for parking on the property via Adams Street.
Steve Sousa, 62, of Rochambeau Condominiums on Gibson Street, agreed that “the inadequacy of parking” is an issue and said Chu should reevaluate his plan accordingly. But Chu said the building’s proximity to the MBTA’s Red Line – the Fields Corner station is nearby -- should attract tenants that don’t have cars.
Despite the parking issue, City Councillor Frank Baker said he supports the project as did Tuan Tran, a Fields Corner resident, and John Gallagher of John C. Gallagher Insurance Agency.
Tran and Gallagher said the project would make the neighborhood safer by illuminating what is now a dark intersection. “This project would be a gem in the community,” Gallagher said.
Ron Bonigli, the 73-year-old former owner of Lucky Strike Lanes, was also in attendance at the meeting.
Bonigli, who supports the Lucky Strike Residential Project, took over the family business for 30 years after his father died. He said parking was never an issue when the bowling alley was open. “People always seem to find a place to park,” he said. “I’m sick when I see the building. It’s a downer for the area.”
Bonigli said that other building proposals for the area fell short of what he would like to see replace Lucky Strike Lanes, except for Chu’s. “No matter what you put there everyone’s not going to be happy, and this is the best I’ve seen yet.”
The commenting period has been extended to February 17 to allow Chu to present the proposal to Clam Point Civic Association on February 10, the Freeport Adams Civic Association on February 12, and Fields Corner Main Street.