Mixed-use project would replace Talbot Ave. church

A mixed-used development would replace an existing Lutheran church at the intersection of Talbot Avenue and Argyle Street in Ashmont if a buyer’s plans are approved.

James Baker, who has entered into an agreement to buy the site for an undisclosed amount, told the Reporter that the deal requires “worship space in the new building,” which may end up as a community space that the current congregation and other members of the public could use.

The 17,554-square-foot lot is known around the neighborhood as 500 Talbot Ave., though the address is 8 Argyle St. It comprises most of the southern half of a triangular block between Talbot and Welles Avenues and Argyle Street.

“The lot itself, the reason we’re interested,” Baker said, “is it’s close to public transit, so it has that transit-oriented aspect to it. And it’s a great neighborhood.” Its proximity to other mixed-use developments, like the new Treadmark building near Ashmont Station, would add context for such a project within the Ashmont/Peabody area, he said.

No agreed-upon purchase price was disclosed. Boston city records valued the lot at $1.12 million in Fiscal Year 2017.

The process is in the very early stages, Baker emphasized this week, adding that no pre-file meeting with the Boston Planning and Development Agency has taken place. Generally, Baker said, “we’re looking at a large component of residential and retail.”

Plans shown to the Greater Ashmont Main Streets group proposed a multi-story, mixed-use building with parking under the structure. Impressions of the design were generally positive, said executive director Jenn Cartee.

“We are very excited to get a chance to look at the possible redevelopment of the 500 Talbot property,” Cartee said. “Our historic preservation committee spoke to being pleased at the collaborative tone that the architects and developers were coming in with and efforts in the design to reflect the buildings and existing architecture around it, while not trying to duplicate it and while still doing something modern.”

As described to those in at the Main Streets meeting, the proposed parking ratio was just over 0.5, Cartee said, “which we absolutely think is appropriate in such a transit-oriented location.”

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