Housing Developer Scales Back Size of New Project

This vacant lot along Rt. 1 and Sixth Street has been slated for residential re-development for the past several years, and the current developer is now looking to scale back the plan a bit. The site was once a large industrial building that housed a custom stairway manufactur¬er, among other things. Notice the top of Chelsea High School popping up just over Rt. 1 in the background.

The developer for a key parcel of land next to Rt. 1 has submitted a proposal to the City to scale back the project and eliminate more than 150 proposed housing units.

The project is located on an 8-acre assemblage of vacant land bounded by Heard Street, Sixth Street and Spruce Street. Branded as Crescent Court, the developer is looking to reduce the number of units substantially and change the layout of the remaining units.

Mark White of Transdel Corporation in Boston – operating on this project under the name of Chelsea North LLC – said the down economy had something to do with the project change.

“The long and short of it is some of the reason for this change was the economy and some of it was we felt this was a better design,” he told the Record. “There are also some key design changes and we’re doing it differently than the previous developer – like moving the building a little further away from the elevated highway. We also have a little more green space at ground level than the previous design did. In my humble opinion, this will result in a better design.”

Chelsea North gained approval for the gigantic redevelopment last December with full support from City Manager Jay Ash.

It was originally slated for development by JPI Development in 2008, calling the project Jefferson@Chelsea Station. However, that project didn’t go too far and Chelsea North stepped in.

Last December’s approvals allowed the project to build 368 residential units in one building during the first phase of development, and much later, to build 375 residential units in two buildings during the second phase.

It came down to a total of 743 units.

The newest proposal dramatically changes the number of studio units in the overall project and eliminates all three-bedroom units.

The first phase now would go from having two studio units to 48 studio units. It would also include 237 one- and two-bedroom units. That works out to be an overall elimination of eight units.

The proposed second phase would move from 12 studio units to 80 studio units, along with 220 one- and two-bedroom units.

Within the entire two phases, the new proposal moves from 743 total units to 585 total units.

Accordingly, there is also a reduction in parking spaces by 81, with more parking in surface lots and fewer located in a podium below the new building.

The new proposal would also eliminate two accessory billboards that would have faced Rt. 1, and it replaces them with one digital accessory billboard located at 265 Carter St.

Finally, there is a new proposal to re-establish a business use in an existing commercial building at 155 Sixth St. It was uncertain what the implications of that change would mean.

The amended proposal for Crescent Court will be heard before the Zoning Board on Sept. 13

White said it is going to be a long process to get through both phases of Crescent Court, but his company is committed to doing it. He also said they are familiar with Chelsea, having been the developer for the Wyndham Hotel several years ago.

“This one is winding its way through the system, but we’ve worked in Chelsea before and we’re in familiar territory here,” said White.

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