Car-free building sees slight opposition

A 100 percent affordable mixed-use apartment building in South Boston with no parking saw only a few people in opposition at the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s public meeting on the project. The proposal, for 206 West Broadway, is for four stories with 16 residences — an accessible unit on the ground floor and five on each of the upper three stories — and a retail space on the ground floor.

206 West Broadway

Donna Brown, of the South Boston Community Development Corporation, which is developing the building, said that they had chosen not to have parking because residents at the community meetings wanted ground floor retail and the site just isn’t big enough for both. As a result, she said that the apartments were designed to appeal to people who don’t have cars. The maximum income limit is slightly under $60,000 for a couple and she said that it’s unlikely that people in the income range would have cars.

“We’re seeing an increase in housing demand,” she said. “Supply doesn’t match demand, so rents are rising.”

The property is owned by the Department of Neighborhood Development, which put together the initial public meetings and wrote a Request For Proposals with the community members. The initial meetings were held in 2014, but work had to be halted for 18 months because contamination from dry cleaning fluid was discovered on the site and funds for remediation had to be found.

Cliff Boehmer of Davis Square Architects said that he was still in the process of designing it and hadn’t made firm decisions on materials. He said that the building was designed to resemble the the proportions of the other buildings in the neighborhood.

Boehmer said that each floor would have two studios in the front and one one bedroom apartment in the back. There would be bike storage and small common kitchens for common areas. There is no elevator.

A few people at the meeting — two out of 20 or so — did want parking, but Brown pointed out that the community wanted the retal space and is fine with it not having parking. She said that it would be LEED Silver certifiable and residents would be asked to take a car-free pledge that would allow them to get discounted MBTA passes.

The site has a Walk Score of 93.


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