BRA, MBTA partner to find Mattapan developer

The Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority have joined forces to find a developer for a 2.5 acre site around Mattapan Station. The station is the western terminus of the Ashmont-Mattapan high-speed line, a grade-seperated trolley line famous for running orange-liveried PCC cars from the 1940s. It’s also a major bus stop, served by 11 routes.

The MBTA is seeking a minimum bif of $1.5 million for the property.

Mattapan Station is also half a mile from where the Blue Hill Avenue station on the Fairmount Line will be one day.

The site consists of three parcels, two parking lots and one that’s covered by trees. The neighborhood is a mixture of small commercial buildings, single-family homes and apartment buildings.

Mattapan property

A site plan, from the bid documents.

According to the bid invitation, the MBTA will retain rights for access to the station and there’s an easement for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority on the property. In addition, one of the parking lots is used as overflow parking by residents of the one of the nearby apartment copmplexes and it will be the responsibility of the developer to work something out with them.

The BRA has established guidelines for development in Mattapan that would have to be followed. They include a height limit of 55 feet, a maximum floor area ratio of 4.0 and say that “The development should . . . include a significant open space element.”

There are conditions, however, that would allow a height of 65 feet. BRA documents also record a community preference for homeownership, either as cooperative housing or as condos. Ground floor commercial is also permitted as-of-right on the parcels.

Mattapan diagram

A conceptual rendering developed by the BRA and MBTA.

The MBTA has been trying to sell the property since at least 2007, according to Boston-Dot-Com.

The future of the Ashmont-Mattapan Line is in the air, however. According to Commonwealth Magazine, keeping the cars running requires the T to either raid museums for spare parts or manufacture them in-house. Both ways run into the money and so the Chief Operating Officer, Jeffrey Gonneville, has recommended that the vintage cars be replaced with buses or Green Line cars.

 

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