Plan sees shovels in ground next spring for Talbot Ave. complex

An architectural rendering of the proposed development at Talbot Avenue and Argyle Street.

Groundbreaking for the redevelopment of a lot at the intersection of Talbot Avenue and Argyle Street down from Ashmont now occupied by a Lutheran church is expected to be held next spring, according to the developer, James Baker.

“We hope to file an approval with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) before the end of August,” Baker told the Reporter. “We’ve already met with five community groups and the plan has been well received.”

The proposed building would replace the church on a parcel that is roughly 17,554 square feet. Baker bought the land in late July for $1,325,000 from the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, according to records from the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds.

Plans call for the building to rise five stories with 40 housing units, two street-level retail spaces and an underground parking garage. “We hope to finish construction by early fall 2020,” said Baker.

The residential section will have a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, with five of them affordable housing. Baker said he has not yet decided whether the units will be rental or condominiums.

Under the plan, the two commercial spaces will contain about 2,000 square feet of space each on the first floor. According to the proposal, the Lutheran congregation will occupy one of the spaces “to provide a warm and welcoming space where people can gather throughout the week for a variety of activities.”

Added Baker: “They will have church services on Sunday, but throughout the week, it’s going to be used from a coffee shop to a fitness center to a coworking space. The church is still working through that.”

As for the second commercial space, Baker said, “There is some desire from the community to have either a restaurant or an urban grocer in that space.” However, he added, a decision on that will be made further down the road.

Reaction to Baker’s plan for the site was generally positive at civic association meetings held earlier this year in St. Mark’s Area and Ashmont Hill.

“We feel confident that the community has embraced the design and the scope of the project,” said Baker. “It’s a critical path connection along Talbot Ave coming off of Dorchester Ave. It will help liven up the streetscapes.”