Checking up on development projects in Dorchester

A rendering shows Glover's Corner with the DotBlock development in place. RODE Architects image

DotBlock demo imminent – Work on Dot Block is plugging along, developers say. This mixed-used project is set to transform a 4-acre block of Glover’s Corner with about 362 units, 450 parking spaces, and approximately 37,000 square feet of retail space. The development will be a multi-building feature within the bounds of Dorchester Avenue and Greenmount, Pleasant, and Hancock streets.

After years of public outreach, city approvals, and securing new financing through a partnership with Hong Kong billionaire Gerald Chan, Dot Block looked ready to move ahead before the winter. But plans for demolition stalled as utilities were capped off and infrastructure removed from the site; still, the wrecking ball is just around the corner.

Catherine O’Neill, who represents the development team, said on Tuesday that they planned to pull a demolition permit at Inspectional Services Department on Wednesday. The buildings now on the four parcels should be coming down “soon,” O’Neill said.

A trim in Port Norfolk – The developers of an ambitious but controversial project at the tip of the Port Norfolk peninsula reduced its scope this week. Initially proposed as 150 condo units, a 25-room boutique hotel, covered parking, some commercial space, including a restaurant, and renovated boat storage and service facilities, the Neponset Wharf project has dropped a number of those elements in the face of sustained neighborhood resistance to the original plan.

According to a meeting notice released this week from the BPDA, the project is now a 240,800-square foot development at 24 Ericsson St., including 96 condominium units, a 19,420-square foot boathouse, 3,000 square feet of commercial space, 1,200 square feet of community space, and 170 parking spaces.

The South Boston-based developer City Point Capital intends to file a Draft Project Impact Report with the updated plan later this week, said Tim Czerwienski, the project manager with the BPDA.

This is a substantial drop in overall footprint from the 307,000 square feet previously presented to the city. The restaurant and hotel are no longer included.

“Frankly, they’re not interested in this being a destination place,” Czerwienski said. The free space is less programmed and more passive, he said, and the commercial space is targeting a neighborhood amenity.

John Lyons, president of the Port Norfolk Civic Association, told the Reporter that traffic remains a primary concern for the neighborhood. With only three roads on the peninsula, all passing through heavily residential streets, Lyons said, congestion is an issue. The new project still features the 75 existing marina slips.

“The question is how many residential owners are also going to be boaters,” said Lyons. “What if the majority of boaters are not residents? Where would they park?”

The traffic engineer and development team’s answer – probably in the neighborhood, so residents may want to consider residential parking restrictions — was not a satisfying one, according to Lyons. Until the impact report comes out, kicking off a 75-day comment period, there will not be an updated assessment of daily vehicle trips generated by the development.

A public meeting on Mon., May 14, will be an opportunity to present the new filing, said Czerwienski, who hopes to have more targeted meetings after that point, focused on specific subject areas like transportation. The session will take place from 6 –p.m. to 8 p.m. at Port Norfolk Yacht Club, 179 Walnut St., Dorchester.

A neighbor for Boston Winery – Brothers Ralph and Vito Bruno plan to open a brewery on Port Norfolk next door to their popular Boston Winery. Bruno’s Brewery, at 24 Ericsson St. was granted a Pouring License by the city of Boston’s licensing board on April 11. The neighborhood association offered its support, but asked that the brothers deliver a written description of their business plan, hours of operations, and other details. A recent article in Eater, in which Ralph Bruno said the area will “become a sort of hub for alcohol in Boston,” spooked neighbors already nervous about an increase in late night or loud activity on the fairly subdued peninsula.
Bruno told Eater that the official opening date for the brewery, a subsidiary of the winery, is up in the air but that he expects to be open sometime this autumn.

More talking in Lower Mills – A proposal to build a 57-unit condo complex on Washington Street in Lower Mills will see a new round of community meetings and public comment in the next month. The extended review period comes after the city’s Landmarks Commission delayed demolition of existing properties on the project site, a move that raised new concerns about the potential impacts to the historic village.

The development is known colloquially as the “Molloy project,” a reference to a former funeral home on the site.

First introduced by a development team from City Point Center, LLC in 2014, the project has been controversial. The BPDA is currently reviewing the plans, since it is considered a “large project.”

Bonnie McGilpin, a spokesperson for the city agency, told the Reporter: “We are in the process of scheduling both an [Impact Advisory Group] meeting and public meeting, and there will be an additional comment period following those meetings.” She added that the developers are also planning to meet with the Dorchester Lower Mills Civic Association “in late May.”

In March, the Boston Landmarks Commission, in ordering a 90-day demolition delay for the site, said that the middle of the three structures on the lot, 1126 Washington St., “could be as old as 1750 and is likely one of the 30 oldest buildings in Boston.”
Reporter Editor Bill Forry contributed to this article.


Subscribe to the Dorchester Reporter