Construction Begins for the Residential Building in Hood Park
In 2000, the Boston Zoning Commission approved of the redevelopment of H.P Hood and Sons. The industrial site spans a total of 20 acres, giving plenty of space not only for industrial use but also for manufacturing, retail, and office. However, during that time, residential space was not included in the plan. The developers were able to change the plans by adding an apartment complex for the future office building.
The Original Proposal
According to the developers, the first proposal was to have a 1.17 million square feet of space for the entire development. It would include six different buildings, along with three parking garages.
In 2016, about 440,000 square feet of the industrial site has been developed already with one office that started construction. The office took 368,750 square feet of the whole place, which is located at 500 Rutherford Avenue. The office building is said to be where a group of people will take residence namely the Cambridge College and the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System.
Aside from them, other tenants will occupy the space. After that, another office building should begin construction, taking as much as 143,000 square feet.
Some Changes that Took Place
The development team of the project had a new vision for the second phase of the redevelopment. As mentioned, it was supposed to be an office building. However, it was later decided that the proposed office will become an apartment project with 177 units. This component of the project would take 10,500 square feet on the ground floor, which will be used as retail space.
The change of plans is actually a part of the Boston 2030 Plan of the city in which the goal is to create over 50,000 housing units by the mentioned year. The focus of the plan is to use, redevelop, and design neighborhoods with mixed-use buildings and spaces. Apart from that, the 2030 Plan aims to locate jobs and housing in areas where transportation is easily accessible.
It was in the month of September in 2016 when the developers as well as the consulting team submitted a proposal. The group sought for approval from the Boston Planning and Development Agency in developing a site in Hood Park, particularly at 480 Rutherford Avenue. In place of the 143,255 square foot office space, which was previously approved, they would utilize the area as a residential component.
Why a Proposal for a Change of Plans from Office to Residential
During the Boston Civic Design Commission meeting in 2016, the developers and the authorities were all in one place. The idea was presented and waited for approval for some time. The original master plan was attractive and desirable for the area. However, there were some who believed that the whole concept was a little bit outdated.
According to the developers, the redevelopment of Hood Park would transform it into a suburban office park. There would be internal roads and some other components to it. All these things when put together would make the redevelopment an inconvenient and obsolete approach.
Therefore, building a residential property would be a better solution. In fact, it would lend a hand toward creating and turning a mixed-use neighborhood into a vibrant community. Although it would take a long way – much longer than for office space – more and more citizens and tenants would benefit from the change of plans.
Some Doubts on the Outcome of the Project
A number of the committee of Boston agreed that the proposed transformation for the mixed-use area was an exciting progress. However, there were also some critics and doubters. Their main worry was about the unimproved connections for the pedestrians. Transportation and paths could affect and would be affected if the proposal would be approved.
The problem would lead to Rutherford Avenue becoming unconnected to pedestrian networks in Charlestown, including the busy Sullivan Square. As a result, some members of the committee thought that the development of the park is a leap of faith.
The Path toward Accomplishing the Project
The project developers discussed plans as well as other topics with the Transportation Department of both Charlestown and Boston. The main conversation was about the Sullivan Square and Rutherford Avenue. The aim of the talk highlighted the traffic improvements for the area in the future.
There was no solid plan yet at that time, but many were hoping that it would be possible. Additionally, the developers were thinking about extending the Charlestown neighborhood, particularly its residential area into a two-lane boulevard. They were not so keen on the extension, which was supposed to be delivered on the highway.
The approval, if granted, was expected to kickstart the construction process for the residential building in 2017 and would be finished by September of 2018.
A Neighborhood to Watch Out For
Aside from the Hood Park redevelopment, another project is underway. The Bunker Hill is also being redeveloped, which will turn it into a housing complex with about 2,100 residential units. The apartments are advertised to be affordable. There are also units for employees or the local workforce and some market-rate apartments as well.
The plan for this project also involves two new parts, along with 90,000 square feet of space, which will be used for civic and retail. Meanwhile, there will also be improvements to the streets of the area, which will enhance its pedestrian connections and landscaping. It will be a lot of construction since the project will take up about 3.3 million square feet of land over 24 acres.
Another reason why Charlestown is slowly becoming a thriving neighborhood is there is a project just over the Cambridge border. It will cover the North Point area, and the whole project will involve a lot of land, with about five million in square feet for the development.
Let us also not forget about the Hood Park complex, which was once the home to H.P. Hood and Sons, which was a dairy company. Today, it stands as an office park, which will soon change, thanks to the construction going on in that area.
The Official Start of the Building Process
Just recently, the developers had broken ground, which signaled the first step toward building the residential component of the development. The project comprised of the 20-acre development site, with over one million square feet for its redevelopment.
After a year of waiting, the project to turn the office space into residential was approved. Therefore, it allowed the team to begin the 177 unit component, which is now located at 480 Rutherford Avenue. The apartments are planned to be a mix of studios, one bedroom, and two bedroom units. The others do not have a label yet, but potential tenants can expect to see at least 23 units that will be designated as “affordable.”
Aside from the units, other things to look forward to are the amenities of the apartment building. According to the team of developers, it would include bike storage and garage parking. There would also be a courtyard and a yoga studio. The building will not be solely for residential purpose because there will also be at least 10,000 square feet, which is intended for retail.
Although the developers mentioned that they expect to finish the project by 2018, they believe the whole construction and the redevelopment process of the Hood Park project would take two years. During this time, construction will take place, along with the conversion of other structures in the area. These structures will become a research or development space, while others will be used as top-shelf office sites.
More about the Hood Park Project
One of the original plans for Hood Park is to convert it into an urban campus with modern amenities featuring a historic environment. As time passed, more alterations took place on the project. Soon, it will become an alternative site to Downtown Boston and Cambridge where companies can find a fresh and flexible workspace.
Currently, the redevelopment of the 20-acre campus is going through some major changes, which are more appropriately called improvements. The buildings in the area are on their way to transforming into something distinctive. There will be Class A office spaces, as well as research and development areas right in the heart of the lively Charlestown neighborhood in Boston.
Also at present, there are three buildings involved in the project that are already up and running. They are actively in use, while the master plan for the project still calls for four buildings that will be built according to opportunities, an ample onsite parking garage that residents and tenants can use for free, a mixed-use urban campus with 1.2 million square feet of space, and a park that has grass, walkways, sitting areas, and mature trees. The plan also adds that there will be enhanced power and abilities for telecommunications, which would make residing and business dealings much easier for the renters.
Hood Park is a friendly area to business owners, companies, and families as the area offers immediate access to I-93, and it will only take five minutes to get to downtown Boston and 10 minutes to the international airport.