Star Market loses many parking spots on Morrissey

Work is set to begin on a new apartment complex next to JFK station— if the snow ever stops. Meanwhile, the project has eaten away a large section of parking lot from Star Market. Bill Forry photo

Mountains of snow aren’t the only obstacles for shoppers at a popular Morrissey Boulevard supermarket. Available parking spaces have been dramatically slashed at the Star Market near JFK-UMass station this month as an adjacent construction projects gets underway.

Criterion Development Partners plan to break ground any day on a city-approved five-story residential complex that won approval from city planners in 2013. The first step in the job was to fence off a large portion of the Star Market lot, including an entrance closest to the MBTA property.

Once completed, the 278-unit Hub25 complex will offer one and two-bedroom apartments for rent right next to the JFK-UMass Red Line and commuter rail hub.

Jack Englert, executive vice-president at Criterion, said that some of the parking spaces that have been lost during this first phase of construction will eventually be restored.

“The snow has compounded the problem, but when the snow is gone, it should work fairly well,” Englert said of the parking issue. “While we’re doing some improvements to the access roads and some underground utility work, that parking is a little less than what they will eventually have.”

Savin Hill resident Sara Forster said that she has found the loss of parking to be a “real challenge” to using the Star, which had become a favored shopping destination since the store was improved last year.
“The parking is so limited,” said Forster. “On Saturday they had to have people directing traffic and you pull in and wait for a spot to open up. It’s not exactly conducive to grocery shopping.”

A representative for Star Market did not return repeated calls and emails seeking comment over the last week.

Englert said that the construction project has been slowed to a virtual standstill by the snowstorms of the last three weeks.

“We can’t do anything but move snow at this point,” he said. “We were going to start in earnest on the day of the first storm and now we are trying to figure out what to do.”

City Councillor Frank Baker, who has been supportive of the new apartment complex, said he has reached out to Star and Criterion to find out more about the parking situation.

The apartment complex was originally proposed by a previous owner, Synergy Investments, which owns the building that is leased by Star Market. Synergy sold the project and the property at 25 Morrissey Blvd. to Criterion last summer.

The project – originally called “The Residences at Morrissey” – calls for two buildings, each with below grade parking for 143 vehicles in total. The complex will include 36 units that will be marketed as affordable for households earning 70 percent of median income or less.

Englert said that the new name – Hub25 Apartments – is a reference to its address on the boulevard. “The name has changed, but that’s all that’s changed,” he said.

Englert said that Criterion has not been approached by anyone representing Boston 2024, the group responsible for planning the city’s bid to secure the Summer Olympics. The current plan envisions an Athletes’ Village on Columbia Point and the modernization of the JFK-UMass MBTA station.

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