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South Boston church destroyed by fire could be replaced with, of course, condos

Proposed condos at 410 W. Broadway in South Boston

A developer who now owns the land where the Albanian Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist burned down in 2013 has filed plans with the BRA for a five-story building housing 24 condominiums and street-level retail space.

Douglas George of Dorchester, who bought the land last September, says his $12.5-million proposal calls for 28 parking spaces - 15 in a basement garage, the rest in a small parking lot.

All of the residential units would have two bedrooms; three of the units would be marketed as affordable.

The building's skin will be a composition of brick, high-density fiber cement panels, fiber cement lap siding, glass fenestration, and painted fiber cement trim. The materials and rhythm of the façade are similar to and consistent with other buildings along West Broadway, incorporating traditional South Boston building materials with the form and scale of many of the newer developments along West Broadway. The materials then transition to a more residential typology in the rear, consistent with the scale of Athens Street.

George hopes to break ground this fall, with construction to take a little more than a year.

410 W. Broadway small-project revew application (23M PDF).

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will support this project?

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I've yet to see councilors weigh in collectively on a particular project, although, yes, it would be interesting to see which ones show up at the BRA/ZBA hearings.

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But condos that look like every other condo in the city.

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Can one design condos? Build them upside down? Sideways? Please enlighten me, what other new ideas do you have?

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You could give them a more "Classic Boston" look, ie. a little bit more brick. Remember we are the oldest major city in the US and I personally think the classic brick/colonial look you see in neighborhoods such as Beacon Hill, Charlestown, and Back Bay looks much better than the futuristic apartments you see in Fort Port/The Waterfront where about 90% of the building is windows.

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Bricks are expensive and masonry in general is costly and difficult to work with. It lacks the versatility and strength and low cost of more modern building materials. Also people tend to like lots of big windows. But if you look at the depiction of these buildings they do seem to be using some fake masonry cladding. Is that not good enough?

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These look quite consistent with buildings in areas that were developed in the latter half of the 19th century.

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I appreciate your honesty.

How many of those condos can we count on you buying? Until you become part of the economic game, the market rules: Investors invest/design/build, and buyers buy.

Written from the wildly appreciating Macallen.

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I wonder how many people complained about how all of the brownstones in Beacon Hill, the Back Bay, or the South End "look like every other" brownstone, or the triple deckers across Dorchester, Southie, and on all the way to Mattapan and Roslindale.

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Brownstones are classy. These are piece of shit looking dumps that will be the same piece of shit look g dumps in 130 years.

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Take a look at those shitty 60's and 70's garden style condos with names like Colonial Drive.

That is how people are going to view these new condos in 25 years. Never mind 130 years.

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This isn't 1990.

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?

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There aren't many brownstones in the South End, lots of brick bowfronts, the architectural critics and those with money rejected as boring and repetative, but certainly not the Back Bay since most of those homes were built to order. Either way those were much more attractive and better built than these condo blocks today.

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If there's one thing that's truly an historic and unchanging part of Boston, it's people griping about what their neighbors - and everyone else - do with their own property.

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Like every condo in the City but one thing it has that other condos don't will b the stench of Loco Tacos wafting through all that luxury.

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These are brick and probably higher quality than most condos going up around southie.

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Ha. What the commenter above is referring to is that sitting City Councilor at Large Annissa Essaibi George's husband is the developer looking to build.

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Sir that is an outrage, an outrage I say. I demand a retraction, (throat clear again).

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https://www.cityofboston.gov/assessing/search/?pid=0601153000

Per the link the Church still owned the land untill as recent as 12/23/2015.

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Need some new churches to fill the void?

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The fewer churches the better. The magic man in the sky will find you, even if you aren't going to church.

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We need housing. We don't need freeloading organizations that don't pay property taxes.

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Only three affordable units?? See this is exactly what is wrong with the developers in Southie.

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Would you like all 24? Affordable house creates artificial inflation in the pricing of the housing stock. It screws over the middle class.

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I'm not disagreeing with you there, I'm just starting to think Southie's slowly turning into a neighborhood comprised of either upper-middle/upper-class residents and lower-class residents. The middle-class is rapidly disintegrating and I'm not so sure the neighborhood would benefit from having only rich people and poor people and barely a middle-class.

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Really? And the city allowing variances to cut up homes into condos to increase buyers profit isn't artificially elevating prices?

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How does allowing developers to build more of what people want to buy elevate prices?

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3 out of 24 sounds right. My building has 26 units and there were 4 affordable units.

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Ever look at the BHA affordable housing requirements?
They're not affordable.
A unit might be marked all the way down to say 300K, but you need to make under 55K to qualify which means you would need to pay at least %90 of your pay towards the mortgage and taxes and condo fee.

Until we see sub-100K units again [without income restrictions] there is no such thing as affordable housing.

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If you make $55k, you're probably taking home $3100-$3200/month after taxes. Your mortgage would be about $1,100/month on a $300k unit. Taxes would be about $400/month. Condo fee say $150-200/month. That's 52% of your monthly income after tax, or 36% of your pretax income. Higher than the recommended 28% of pretax income, but not 90% of anything.

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That monthly mortgage payment is pretty low for a $300K mortgage. I would add at least a few hundred there. And one still needs to cover a lot of utilities as condo fees typically cover just water/sewage. And buy food and transit.
And that leaves you with pretty much nothing left.
For sanity's sake, a modest amount of disposable income for entertaining oneself is a must. And you need to be able to save. In fact when one owns a condo you had better save, because [granted not as likely in a brand new unit, but still] surprise special assessments and tax hikes are quite normal.
If you're living hand to mouth its not really working out right.

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Rates are at 3.5-3.85%, so 1100 on a 300k mortgage is about right.

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Point well-taken about the cost of real estate but some of estimates and calculations are off.

For example (check details with your real estate agent for actuals):

725 Harrison Ave 401, resale of an affordable housing unit

Price is $264,511.86, 1068-square feet, one-bed, one-bath
Condo fee is $464 / mo (incl. H/HW) and estimated annual property taxes are $1,283.42 (owner-occupied, residential exemption)

Monthly housing expense:

3% (MassHousing loan): $7,935.36
Remaining amount: $256,576.50

$1,243.50 mortgage loan
$464 condo fee
$ 106.95 property tax
$1,814.45 total per month

For this unit, per DND: maximum income levels for household size are:

1 HH $55,150
2 HH $63,050
3 HH $70,900

Annual income, 1 person $55,150
Annual housing expense (pre-tax benefit) $21,773

This is 39.48% of gross income, which is within generally-acceptable guidelines for people taking out mortgage loans, and less than many people spend on rent.

That's a bit steep for most people to handle - all debt shouldn't be more than 36% of gross income, at least according to some of the mortgage brokers I talk to.

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A different example, one for a higher-priced home (from the MLS listing; check w/your agent):

700 Harrison Ave 216, resale of an affordable housing unit

Price is $358,994, 758-square feet, one-bed, one-bath
Condo fee is $269 / mo and estimated annual property taxes are $1,551.82 (owner-occupied, residential exemption)

Monthly housing expense:

3% down (MassHousing loan): $10,769.82
Remaining amount: $348,224.18

$1,687.67, mortgage loan
$269 condo fee
$129.33 property tax
$2,086 total per month

For this unit, per DND: maximum annual income levels for household size are:

1 $75,850
2 $86,700
3 $97,500
4 $108,350
5 $117,000
6 $125,700 per year.

Annual income, 1 person $75,850
Annual housing expense (pre-tax benefit) $25,032

Just about 1/3 of gross income, which is within generally-acceptable guidelines for people taking out mortgage loans, and less than many people spend on rent.

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Sadly, three too many - three BRA bigshit nieces and nephews who are always magically the lucky ones when it comes to affordable housing lotteries will get to enjoy their artificially cheap condos while everyone else will end up paying $50,000 more for theirs.

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Once again a completely boring unoriginal cheap condo block. Cookie cutter bland and no doubt cheaply designed with engineered building materials. And more people and cars to clog our streets without any infrastructure improvements.
The BRA will call this a small project (yet again), how many small projects does it take to make a large neighborhood altering project?

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Often, neighborhoods will complain if a new building doesn't fit in with the existing buildings. If you read the description, it talks about how it matches different architectural elements on different sides of the project.

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