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Small apartments could replace warehouse on Old Colony Avenue in South Boston

Rendering of proposed 212 Old Colony Ave.

Rendering by Arthur Choo and Co.

Developer Joe Hassell has filed plans with the BPDA to replace a warehouse at 212 Old Colony Ave., near Dorchester Street, with a six-story, 30-unit residential building with commercial space on the ground floor.

Hassell's proposed $8-million building would be built under the city's "compact living" pilot, with units smaller than otherwise required: The building's five studios would be 350 square feet rather than the normal minimum of 450 square feet. Even the two-bedroom units would be only 740 square feet. The goal of the pilot is to reduce the price of housing through smaller units.

Five of the units would be rented as affordable.

The building would have no parking but would have storage space for 30 bicycles.

The project site is in a great residential and commercial neighborhood with many existing residential structures, and new projects being built in the immediate area. We believe that our proposed project integrates well with its surroundings, both in scale and design. It will be a positive addition to an already vibrant and improving neighborhood.

212 Old Colony Ave. filings and calendar.

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Comments

Even the two-bedroom units would be only 740 square feet.

Adam, 740 square foot 2-bedrooms are not uncommon in Boston, they're just uncommon in new construction. The vast majority of what's being built under this compact living pilot are just NEW apartments that are about the same size (or often bigger) than the places that most of us already live.

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Voting closed 29

I am living in new (2017) construction, my one bedroom unit is 724sq feet and it seems to be just sufficient space for one (or two) people. I'd like to see the creative way an architect fit a second bedroom in a space that is just 14sq feet bigger than where I am now. And a 350sq foot studio sounds really tight.

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Voting closed 13

it didn't seem too tight. The kitchen was tiny but functional, and the two bedrooms, bathroom, and living/dining room all worked. I think you'd be surprised if you had the chance to look at a few older/smaller units.

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Voting closed 16

If you look at listings for condos/apartments in existing triple deckers, they are typically between 750-950sqft for 2beds. 740sqft seems totally reasonable, not just for a micro unit, but for a standard unit.
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/39-Regent-St-2-Cambridge-MA-02140/211...
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1-Hayden-Ter-1-Somerville-MA-02143/20...

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Voting closed 15

I live in a 2 bedroom 750 square feet condo fine with two people. Just because it wouldn't work for you doesn't mean it wouldn't work for others. We need the housing!

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Voting closed 13

Is bigger than at least 75% of two bedrooms in Beacon Hill and North End.

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Voting closed 19

A 350 square foot studio is really only small by modern American standards. About 21% of apartments in Tokyo (which are large by East Asian standards) are less than 212 square feet (source: https://questionjapan.com/blog/average-apartment-size-in-tokyo/). I can also say that I have personally toured a number of apartments this size right here in Boston that were about that size or smaller. I'm sure it's smaller than most people would like if cost were no object, but it's definitely doable if you lay the space out efficiently and don't have a lot of stuff and by no means "inhumane." To be honest I'm not sure where we get off dictating the size of house someone needs to buy. If someone is willing to live on an air mattress in a space that also serves as their kitchen and living room, or doesn't feel like they need a full sized fridge or stove in order to save a buck, who am I to stop them?

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For better or worse, thought, the city no longer allows them to be built in new buildings, except under this pilot. Apologies, I should have made that clearer.

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Where I'm from (the United States) that's a called a garage.

Also, why allow total residential and not require the first floor of some of these buildings to remain flexible for zoning approved light commercial use? I'm all for new housing in town... we need a lot more small projects like this... BUT Boston is different from the rest of America's suburban 'cities' because of multi-use property. I think this area would be better served if knew they'd have a home when construction was complete.
The key unspoken element of gentrification is displacement. This is displacement. We need housing. We also need local jobs. Building approvals should reflect that reality.

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Voting closed 15

Mainly though what we need is housing, especially smaller (and thus less expensive) studios and one bedrooms like these so that young people stop bunking up with roommates in the family housing we already have.

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Voting closed 12

Happy to have residences to house people.

But where will we house our wares in the "New Boston"?

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Voting closed 11

In our rush for housing (and now life-sciences labs), we've been forgetting about certain basic necessities.

When the current spate of construction along Boylston Street in the Fenway is finished, there will be just one gas station left on the whole stretch. And when that station owner decides to retire and a developer snaps that site up? In East Boston, meanwhile, auto-repair shops are an endangered species.

And then there's an entirely new neighborhood the city encouraged to spring up on the waterfront without any provisions for schools, a library, houses of worship (save for one small existing Catholic chapel) or grocery stores (there are now two markets, but neither's a full supermarket).

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Voting closed 18

* Not enough parking
* Character of the neighborhood
* Facade color / material
* Shadows
* Noise
* Traffic

I'm sure we'll figure out how to create fewer units that cost more!

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Voting closed 27

Driving around after 7:00 pm looking for a parking spot, after working your ass off for 10 hours a day, you would understand why people complain about not enough parking. BTW where do you live?

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If it matters that much to you, there are plenty of off-street parking spaces to rent for ~$100-200/month (much less than the equivalent square footage of housing).

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Look at all the inquiries on FB from people looking for off street parking in Southie. And if you can find a spot it’s going for $350/month.

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You forgot, because we can.

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