Lower Mills development moves ahead; 57 condos proposed

A development team is moving ahead with plans to build a four-story mixed-use building along this stretch of Washington Street in Lower Mills, a 48,303-square foot site that includes the former Molloy funeral parlor (foreground). Reporter file photo.

City Point Center, which is seeking to develop a 1.1-acre site on a prominent stretch of Washington Street in Lower Mills, filed a project notification form with the city’s planning agency this week.

City Point, based in Newton, is proposing a four-story mixed-use structure for the parcels at 1120-1132 Washington St. on the eastern side of the street. The 48,303-square foot site currently contains the former Molloy funeral parlor, a vacant lot behind it, and residential buildings on each side.

“The project will redevelop an underutilized site with a design that will complement and respect the existing buildings surrounding the site,” the developers wrote in the filing with the Boston Planning and Development Agency.

Their plan is to construct a 67,000-square foot building with 57 residential units and ground floor commercial space. About 86 residential parking spaces and eight parking spaces for the commercial space will be included, according to the filing.

“The residential units are anticipated to be condominiums,” the filing reads, “however, they could be developed as rental units should market conditions, financing, or other factors make a condominium development unfeasible.”

The apartment mix would include 12 one-bedroom, 39 two-bedroom, and 6 three-bedroom units. Tenants in the roughly 3,600 square feet of commercial spaces are “envisioned as professional offices and/or a locally owned and operated store.”

Improvements along the Washington Street streetscape could include bollards, lighting, and street trees, and the retail space would have large aluminum glass storefront windows and doors. City Point plans for open space areas within the site — a private lawn in the northwest corner, a play area for toddlers, and a patio with benches where residents can sit in the shade of new trees.

Given the scale of the project, this week’s filing kicks off the Article 80 large project review process with the BPDA. City Point will need approvals from an array of city and state authorities, including design review, zoning relief, environmental impacts, and potential effects on historic sites.

Three existing buildings within the site would be razed, including the former funeral parlor. While the Boston Landmarks Commission will review the site prior to any demolition, “None of the buildings are listed or have been found to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places,” the filing reads. “Additionally, all of the buildings have had some level of alteration, such as new roofs, replacement windows, and vinyl siding.”

The parcels sit inside the neighborhood shopping sub-district of the Dorchester neighborhood district, as well as within a neighborhood design overlay district. These districts come with guidelines for architectural context and enhancing or preserving historic qualities. A conditional use approval would be needed for the proposed first floor multi-family dwelling use, although the residential use is allowed on the higher floors, and zoning relief to exceed the allowed maximum floor area ratio.

In an October 2016 meeting, the Lower Mills Civic Association voted 12-9 to support the project. Developers had gone back and forth with civic member on the site plans for about two years before the vote, with primary concerns involving parking, traffic, and density.

Along Washington Street, the commercial front is “designed to maintain a consistent street wall with the existing surrounding buildings,” according to the filing. Main entrances for both commercial spaces and the residential lobby are on the main road, as is vehicle access to the site. Drivers will enter and exit the parking areas from a point at the northwesterly edge of the project site, farthest from the Washington Street/River Street intersection.

The Milton Station stop on the Mattapan High-Speed Trolley line is just over a quarter mile from the site.

Around the parcels, there is a diversity of uses, proponents note. These include two to three-story residential buildings, some commercial buildings, a nearby Star Market, and a variety of eateries along Dorchester Avenue to the east of the site. It also sits within a quarter mile of open spaces such as the William G. Walsh Playground, Dorchester Park, and the Neponset River Greenway.