New condos in pipeline for St. Mark's area

In what was described as an "honest communication problem," the Boston Redevelopment Authority failed to notify the St. Mark's Civic Association of a new condo development proposed for 9 Banton St. Only a handful of residents showed up for at Nov. 7 community meeting showing the plans.

"I was disappointed there wasn't more of a turnout," said Barbara Bean, ex-president of the St. Mark's Civic Association (SMCA). "I felt like the word hadn't really gotten out."

The BRA placed ads in the Reporter and an agent of developer Colm Dunphy notified St. Mark's Area Main Streets and gave notices the direct abutters, but apparently didn't have updated info for the current president of the SMCA.

"We've agreed to extend the comment period through Dec. 3," said BRA spokesperson Susan Elsbree. "We want folks in St. Mark's to have their say."

So far, the project is fairly uncontroversial, although the local Main Streets board is making a few suggestions. Twenty-three new condo units, including three affordable ones, will be included in a new building sandwiched between Lee Kennedy Co. Inc. on Dorchester Avenue and Metalsmiths Inc. at 15 Banton. The building at 9 Banton would become the parking garage for the new structure, which would sit on top and beside it.

"We think it's a good project," said Mark Foley, who works for Dunphy. "It's a dead end street and all the parking required by the project will be accommodated on the site."

Foley said the zoning process could begin as early as next spring.

"We support it," said Dan Larner, Main Streets president. "It will be a great addition to the community. It's a whole new set of eyes on the street to keep it well kept up and safe."

In line with their green philosophy for Peabody Square, Main Streets is requesting Dunphy include a green roof on the project, a bed of sedums or other plants that would held cool and insulate, making the building more efficient and reducing the city's "heat island" effect.

They've also asked Dunphy to keep satellite dishes out of sight and clean up a nest of wires currently hanging from a utility pole out front of the property.

Asked if they thought the condos would sell well in the current market, Foley said "there's always a risk. But, the owner is confident the market will stabilize and bounce back."