A Boston developer who already has a transformative, 320-unit apartment building on Second and Vine Streets under review in Everett on the City Line has purchased additional land on the street to round out the project.
According to Bldup.com, Block Properties purchased two other development parcels along Second and Vine this month for $7.3 million. Last fall, they purchased the property with the apartment building proposal for $5 million. President Jonathan Block said the new purchase completes the land holdings needed for the project.
The current proposal on 2nd and Vine replaces and older warehouse building and is part of a complete transformation that has happened before and during COVID-19 on the Commercial Triangle area of Everett and across the line into Chelsea as well.
Block told the Record the industrial areas in Everett and Chelsea have a lot of energy, and a pro-development atmosphere on either side that is missing in other places.
“It’s a very interesting area,” he said. “We had obviously seen some of the other projects constructed or proposed in the area. That, in conjunction with what seemed to be a very friendly City environment for development with zoning changes and a pro-development atmosphere, it really appealed to us for our next project. It’s a place to be for a long time.”
Block Properties has been constructing and managing residential projects all over Greater Boston, noting Somerville as an area they have concentrated on.
Block said it might be hard for those in Everett, Chelsea or other long-time residents to see the potential value right now, but he said the area is a gem and has a lot of momentum with numerous projects on the Everett and Chelsea sides – as well as the potential extension of the Silver Line running right along Second Street in the near-future.
“It’s hard to see the future when you walk through there now,” he said. “It’s not without risk to us and other developers. But you have the Pioneer and the proposal at the Stop & Shop. You also have the project on Garvey up from us and the Greystone project (at the old Wood Waste site). On the other side of the border in Chelsea there is also the Fairfield project. There’s a lot started and a lot coming in. There’s a combination of availability of land and parcels along with a pro-development atmosphere.”
Block also said there’s a lot more difficulty developing in some other places, particularly as developers scour the region for good residential sites.
“Other developers in Cambridge or Somerville or other submarkets are looking for the next area and I think this checks a lot of boxes,” he said. “It’s not going to be transformed a year or three years from now, but 10 years from now it will look really different and for the better.”
The company had a hearing on Tuesday at the Everett Planning Board, and reviews are ongoing.
Last October 12, the Everett Planning Board heard an initial review of the project from the development team where they reported a 320-unit, six-story apartment building with 450 parking spaces and 4,000 sq. ft. of ground floor retail. The project was reported to be an as-of-right project that would need no Zoning Board relief, a new trend in that district. They only need Site Plan Review from the Everett Planning Board and an Inclusionary Zoning (Affordable Housing) certification.
“Our approach is to make our front door on Second Street,” said Tamara Ray, an architect on the team with Stantec. “We know that in the future that is going to be the main street in the area. The T will probably go down the middle of the street so that’s our front door. We’re still in a gritty district now…We know we’re in a transformative district and we see our project as part of the transformation of the neighborhood.”
One unique part of the project is it is not a podium style development with parking on the first floors. Instead, they’ll have a hidden parking garage.
“Our project is not a podium project,” she said. The design of the building includes red brick on part of it, but also fibre cement and a lot of unique colors.