The owners of the Market Forge property on the Parkway appeared in an online Planning Board meeting last Tuesday, April 14, to discuss several new pieces of the large residential project – including the acquisition of the abutting Colonial Marble building that will be used for a parking garage.
Peter Bartosh of Capital Hall Partners told the Planning Board they have expanded the site to include 25 Garvey St., which is the Colonial Marble building adjacent to the Market Forge property.
“Our new plan filed in February shows, there is the addition of 25 Garvey St. currently occupied by Colonial Marble Company,” he said. “We will use that as a parking garage that we discussed in our last meeting.”
That makes the project go from having 774 spaces to 1,006 spaces on site, and takes parking out of the residential buildings – allowing the units to be bigger and more spacious than they were before. It has not changed the unit count – which is still 591 units in seven-story buildings – and has not increased the amount of retail or amenity space either. Bartosh said market feedback in the area clearly indicated that bigger units were desirable, making the purchase of Colonial something that made sense.
The garage will be aesthetically screened as the garages are at the Batch Yard, he said, noting that they didn’t want an ugly parking garage to shout out from the rest of their well-designed development.
“We do have more parking that we need from a zoning perspective,” he said. “We understand right now that the site as it is today doesn’t have great public transit access. From the beginning, our residents will need a car here on day one. That will change I the future as access increases to public transportation and the Silver Line comes by us. We have retained the option to free up unused parking capacity for rent by other developments in the area when the time comes.”
One of the key pieces, said City Planner Tony Sousa, is that the Market Forge folks have agreed to relinquish an easement on Second Street in front of their development to be used for a dedicated bus lane when the planned Silver Line extension from Chelsea gets built. The state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has identified that as a priority project to take the line from Market Basket into Everett, but a public bid on the project has not yet been issued – though it is expected this spring.
When that happens, it is believed that the Market Forge project would become very desirable for those who want to access public transit and not have a car.
In some investigation, the developers have discovered additional contamination that had not been discovered previously. They said it would mean an Activity Use Limitation (AUL) would be required with the project, and they plan to remediate the site as mandated and return that corner of the district to a vibrant and productive use once again.
There will be other traffic mitigations suggested in the Site Plan Review, including trying to help with drainage and traffic flow on Second Street.
They will also be including 30 units of affordable housing on site in the development.
At the moment, it isn’t believed that the developers need any variances or special permits from the Zoning Board, so the matter likely will not need to go through that review process as it conforms to zoning in the Commercial Triangle District. A final decision on the Site Plan is expected at the April 28 meeting, with public comment continuing by e-mail until then.