A look at the proposed ‘Allston Yards’ development

Christopher Gavin - Boston.com staff | May 8, 2019 9:59 am

Plans to substantially revamp and redesign the site of an Allston-Brighton shopping center could bring in as many as 895 residential units, along with new shops, restaurants, and streets over several years.

The project, “Allston Yards,” which is undergoing the city’s review process, would essentially create a small neighborhood at 60 Everett St., on 10.6 acres between the Boston Landing complex and its MBTA commuter rail station.

Stop & Shop, partnering with New England Development, is the force behind the proposal. The grocery giant has owned the site and operated a store there for more than 20 years.

Under the initiative, the company envisions creating a walkable community with open space, transforming what has long been a commercial and industrial property into what could be one of the city’s newest mixed-use complexes, complete with its own street grid.

“The proposed project provides the opportunity to transform an underutilized urban site currently consisting of big-box retail with a vast surface parking lot into a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood focused on healthy living and eating,” the plans say.

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) is accepting public comments on the proposal through June 10.

In the meantime, here’s what to know about the project:

A plan to split the property into streets was proposed over a century ago, but it never took form

More than a century ago, the parcel that would someday become home to a busy shopping plaza was located adjacent to the Allston-Brighton Stockyards, where the nearby railroad brought in livestock from across New England, according to filingswith the BPDA.

“Designs from a 1909 city plan show a future street grid for the project site that would never be realized due to intervening developments [there], including smaller parcels and a connection back to North Beacon Street,” the current proposal says.

Instead, Arthur C. Harvey Co., or “Harvey Steel,” would set up shop there, where workers built steel and iron pieces in the early 20th century.

The property would remain home to industrial businesses even when this section of the Massachusetts Turnpike was constructed in the 1960s. Stop & Shop purchased the property in 1997.

Developers say the company spent millions in environmental remediation efforts and on the construction of the existing 100,000 square-foot plaza, where the grocery store opened in 1998.

The proposal calls for a ‘community green,’ offices, residential units, stores, and a new Stop & Shop

Plans show much of the new development would be built off an extension of Guest Street— the east-west roadway that currently cuts through the Boston Landing complex.

Four new buildings would rise over the course of several years and two phases of the project, according to the filings.

The first construction period would including building up to 176 residential units, a new grocery store and other shops, streets and other infrastructure, and roughly 300 parking spaces, according to the proposal.

A one-acre “community green” would host events throughout the year, including festivals, concerts, art exhibits, and outdoor health and wellness programs, the proposal says.

Developers say the phased approach — which could take seven years to finish — will allow the existing Stop & Shop to remain open during construction, with the three other structures to be built at later dates.

In total, proponents say the plans lay out up to 375,000 square feet of office and tech-lab space, 67,000 square feet for the grocery store, 50,000 square feet for restaurants and other retail, and roughly 1,400 parking spaces.

When it’s finished, the project could have 895 residential units — studios through three-bedroom homes in a variety of styles, including town houses, with access to roof decks and balconies. Some of the dwellings would be deemed affordable, according to the proposal.

Although initial plans filed early last year showed developers envisioned potentially 1,050 units, the number was reduced earlier this year following public input, filings show. Approximately 12 percent of the residences will be available for ownership, plans show.

According to the BPDA, the new plans reduced building and housing density, expanded the community green area, and improved access to the commuter rail station, among other changes.

Developers anticipate that the project will create about construction 2,500 jobs and more than 2,000 permanent jobs.

Designs are influenced by Allston’s history, plans say

While the proposal notes the exterior of each building has not been designed yet, developers have mapped out what form the first building during the initial phase could take.

“Influenced by Allston’s history and neighborhood identity, Building A looks to implement a warm industrial color palette composed in a contemporary form,” the proposal says. Materials would include metal panels, steel, brick, wood, and glass.


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