Meeting on Thursday to discuss lower-cost studio apartments proposed for Fields Corner

Architect's rendering

Architect's rendering of proposed building at 141 Westville St.

A community meeting is set for Thurs., May 2 to review a plan to build an affordable studio apartment building on Westville Street in Fields Corner. The proponents say they would rent the units for between $650 and $850 a month - heat and hot water included.

In a filing with the BPDA, Vivian and Elisa Girard, owners of the home.stead cafe on Dorchester Avenue, says their proposed building at 141 Westville St. would fill a crying need in the city for inexpensive housing - and they say they can build the units without any subsidies.

The units, between 260 and 280 square feet in size, are based on Boston's Compact Living Pilot under which developers can apply to build units smaller than typically allowed in new construction in the city.

The Girards explain their concept for highly energy efficient, inexpensive apartments in an area well served by public transit - the building would have not parking spaces, but is served by three bus lines and is near the Fields Corner Red Line stop.

"Two years ago, along with a business partner, my wife Elisa and I opened home.stead café, a bakery and café in Fields Corner. Even though all of our employees earn well above the hourly minimum wage, housing and housing costs in particular, remains a serious concern for most of them. We strongly believe that everyone who works 40 hours a week should be able to afford quality housing that's within a reasonable walking distance or a short public transit commute.

"The overarching goal of the 141westville project is to provide the best possible living option to single folks who can't afford or don't wish to spend more than $650 to $850 a month in housing expenses.

"In today's Boston, the only option at this rent level is to live with multiple housemates in settings that are typically more confined, in increasingly limited supply, and for most adults past their mid-twenties; less desirable. Yet, with such high housing costs, many people with full time jobs are bound to live with housemates well after they complete their school education. Both my wife and I were in this situation for a good number of years. The 141westville housing model is largely based on our personal experience; we designed it as a space we would have been able to afford and would have enjoyed living in prior to being able to afford a home together."

Thursday’s meeting will be held at the Vietnamese American Community Center, 42 Charles St. from 6-8 p.m. For more information, contact Tim Czerwienski at 617-918-5303 or tim.czerwienski@boston.gov. The public comment period for this project is open through May 8.

141 Westville St. small-project review application (12.7M PDF).

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