Loads of parking, some residential proposed for South End

A 356,500 square foot mixed-use building on 14 stories with 280 residences and 6,000 square feet of ground floor retail has been proposed for 370-380 Harrison Avenue in the South End by Related Beal. There will be 175 rental apartments and 105 condos for sale, but the developer wants to build 180 parking spaces on three underground levels.

380 Harrison Ave

A view of the proposed building looking north along Harrison Avenue.

According to the filings, the building will be set back from the street on all three sides in order to widen sidewalks and provide plaza spaces. They also weant to build a “mid-block connector” behind the building, connecting Traveler and East Berkeley Streets, which is supposed to both provide vehicular access to the parking garage and encourage “pedestrian circulation” and be a “multi-purpose space” that “will have the protential to create a valuable neighborhood asset”. This is also where the trucks will go for loading and unloading.

Mid-Block Connector

This is evidently a matter of designing by buzzwords because that “mid-block connectort” is obviously a service alley. Playing up the “potential” of such a spot is unlikely to convince anyone that it will be anything more than a space for trucks and cars. Currently that alley will directly abutt the parking lots of two industrial buildings, full of trucks and cars, which will help keep it full of exhaust, but the alley will also be blind — there’s nothing to interest a person to walk there and neither will there be any “eyes on the street” to make someone walking there feel safe.

An existing industrial building will be torn down for the project, which touts itself as “smart growth” and transit-oriented development. It is close to the Silver Line on Washington Street and is within walking distance of Downtown, the Financial District, the rest of the South End and Back Bay, but the free parking will work against that.

The proponent estimates that construction will begin in 2017 and last until 2019.

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