Major Developer Proposes New Plan for Wood Waste Property

The largest residential apartment developer in the world has taken note of the Revere BeachParkway in Everett, proposing to take over the residential project on the Wood Waste property and knit a very high-end apartment community into what is already an emerging residential address on Vale and Boston Streets.

Tammy Copson of Greystar Development – the largest developer of apartments in the world and based in Boston – told the Everett Planning Board on Monday they have entered an agreement with Wood Waste on Boston Street to purchase their intended project and make modifications.

“We are purchasing the land from them,” she said. “We will be the developer, contractor and management company…Our team has worked on these modifications. We have really aimed to work within what has been approved already and work on changes to keep the project moving…We are the largest residential developer in the world and have more than 500,000 units under management. We aim to construct high-quality living environment. We also want to satisfy the existing community.”

The Wood Waste project has a long history dating back to 2017, and was approved in 2019 with 57 conditions that included serious requirements for flood prevention and transformation of the industrial block into a residential area. Those conditions would be inherited, according to the City and the developer.

Copson said the changes include converting three, seven-story buildings into two, six story buildings to accommodate 650 apartment units – which is the same number as before and still includes 33 affordable units on site. They have reduced the retail portion of the project from 13,507 sq. ft. to 9,000 sq. ft. but added it to the ground floor to increase foot traffic and activity on the new street. They have also bumped up the amenity space in the apartment community from 9,637 sq. ft. to 19,000 sq. ft. They have also reconfigured the parking arrangement, decreasing the numbers of spaces, but putting the parking in two, well-hidden structured garages. The parking spots go from 832 to 785 – still above the required number of 746 spaces.

“The new buildings become really permeable, accessible and active,” she said. “We hope to start construction in quarter 2 of 2021 and continue to push the project forward now and push the design details so we can deliver this on budget and on time.”

One of the things that the new design attempts to do is “knit” the new project into two existing projects on either side – the Fairfield development of more than 700 units across Vale Street on the Chelsea side, and the one-year-old Pioneer development across the street on the Everett side, fronting the Parkway.

Tom Schultz of The Architectural Team said they have been very thoughtful about the other two developments and fitting this one into the feel and idea of those other two.

“We tried to develop a strong urban edge along the streets,” he said. “We designed urban blocks and tried to stich in the Pioneer and the Fairfield development under construction on the Chelsea side. It’s a way to activate the street and give some street life there…The greatest difference between this design and the previous design is that first floor is no longer parking, but instead we’re trying to activate the street with retail.”

A key design element is a pedestrian/vehicle middle road between the two buildings – much like what one might see at Station Landing in Wellington. The street is highly-friendly to pedestrians and to activity, but is also used as a way for cars to slowly get to the parking garages. There are a number of traffic calming situations instituted on that block to keep speeds down and to make drivers understand the concept.

There is also now an increase in open space to 29 percent as well, and the use of materials like brick, metal, glass and cementitious panels.

The breakdown of buildings is as follows. Building 1 will have 330 units (91 studios, 142 one-bedrooms, and 97 two-bedrooms) and 380 parking spaces. Building 2 will have 320 units (88 studios, 137 one-bedrooms and 95 two-bedrooms) and 379 parking spots. There are 26 street parking spots also. Amenities will include lounges, fitness, Yoga rooms, work pods, two pools, a dog park and two roof decks.

City planning officials were excited about the project and felt it could be the next step in lifting up that area post-COVID, and they said there could likely be more proposals coming for that area too – marking a huge step in the transformation of a blighted industrial area to a trendy residential address.

Planning Board Member Leo Pizzano was unhappy that the long-time project was switching hands, but only because he was concerned that four years of review and refinement might be lost.

“We spent four years on this project,” he said. “I want to make sure this Board is protected and they inherit these 57 conditions and they know what they are,” he said. “We did a lot of work on these 57 conditions and I don’t want them to go down the drain.”

Said Copson, “We understand there is a lot of history here and a lot of work done.”

The Board voted 5-0 to approve the Minor Modification – which included the redesign of the buildings, the street and the layout. They will be back at the Aug. 24 Planning Board meeting to discuss the affordable housing obligations.

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