Fitzpatrick Brothers auto shop eyed for housing; developer also talks of a greenway with St. Mark’s group

Dorchester developer Travis Lee pitched early ideas for a residential project at the site of the Fitzpatrick Brothers auto shop on Centre Street near Shawmut station and reviewed his plans for a greenway over the Red Line Tunnel cap that leads up to Ashmont as he asked for community input at a Tuesday civic meeting.

The Fitzpatrick lot is under a purchase and sale agreement, Lee told a gathering of the St. Mark’s Area Civic Association. For the past 125 years, the site has been dedicated to some sort of auto or carriage purpose, he said, adding that he plans to construct a residential project on the site, possibly with a small commercial component.

“We don’t know exactly what we’re going to do,” Lee said. Through a series of charettes, starting next month, he wants the community to “start essentially playing with some puzzle pieces with us and figuring out what are the constraints that we have, what are the things that you care about, [and] how do we come up with a project we’re all excited about?”

Lee said he made an offer to the Fitzpatrick ownership in February, which was accepted and signed in August. The site consists of four parcels between Sharp Street and Centre Street, behind the Epiphany School totaling just under 30,000 square feet of land.

An earlier proposal foe the property by Trinity Management was considered too big for the location, one attendee noted. Lee said he does not have a set unit count in mind but it will likely be a mixed-income building, given his partners’ areas of expertise.

Lee was accompanied at the meeting by Dave Traggorth of Traggorth Companies, and Greg Russell and Kathryn Bilgen of Bruner/Colt architects and planners. “What they do is look at the neighborhood around the site and ask what is appropriate, what is contextual, what is going to look and feel right,” Lee said.

St. Marks civic president Doug Hurley said his group would coordinate with the Melville Park civic group, a well as the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Council to organize the charettes.

As to a possible greenway, Lee told the Reporter in August that “we’re certainly thinking about the design of the project and the concept of the future Dot Greenway. It’s our plan that, as we think about the plan, how do we orient the building, encourage foot traffic and motor vehicle traffic around the site, so that it would be completely in the context of a future greenway?”

In conjunction with neighboring civic and main streets groups, Lee is pursuing the idea of setting up a biking and pedestrian path atop the tunnel cap that stretches between Park Street

where trains from Fields Corner enter the tunnel, to Mather Street, then from Mather to Shawmut station, to Centre Street, to Welles Avenue, and up to Ashmont. The briefing to the civic group on Tuesday was similar in theme and design to their pitch before the Greater Ashmont Main Street group in May.

The team said that such a concrete path, and running behind dozens of homes, has the potential to become a neighborhood asset. “It’s really not doing anything right now except capping the tunnel,” said Kevin Deabler of RODE Architects.

Relevant MBTA departments have given preliminary approval for pursuing the greenway proposal, Lee said, but adding, “We don’t have final approval, we don’t have any stamps, but we do have a set of emails saying, yes, we can get on board this thing,” he said.

The greenway plan has a designated page on, where Lee’s team hopes community members will weigh in with ideas for the design, concerns about the stretch, and any other input into the idea. Another page will be set up for the Fitzpatrick site.

“We can’t really move forward without good feedback,” he said.

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