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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Proposal: 6 Condos To Replace Royal White Retail On Cedar...

Presentation of proposed condo units at Royal White/181 Cedar Street
The 9400 square foot lot that has been occupied by the Royal White Laundry retail space since 1971 will be demolished to make way for 6 condos, one of which will be designated as affordable.

At Monday night’s meeting held at the 181 Cedar Street location, Attorney Richard Di Girolamo presented Architect Peter Quinn’s renderings of what the proposed development will look like.

The complex will be comprised of 6, 2-bedroom units, between 1130 and 1160 square feet and will be priced in the low $400K range with the affordable unit priced below $200K.

The buildings will be 39 feet high, keeping in line with the existing surround structures in the Residential B Zoning District.

Due to the zoning designation, the only retail possibility for the developer would have been to open another dry-cleaning facility. Because the zoning was previously changed, removing the building would only leave residential construction as an option.

On the sight itself, legally, three units can be built, but developers are seeking a special permit to add three more in exchange for making one of the units inclusionary (i.e. affordable). The inclusionary unit will feature all amenities that the others feature, but will be priced significantly lower and will be awarded to the winner of an affordable housing lottery system in the city.

Back parking area
Developers are also seeking special consideration for parking as they want to provide only one spot per unit. Taking focus off parking and encouraging the use of public transportation is the direction that they city is taking much to the surprise of some meeting attendees.
Another concern that was quickly resolved surrounded the possibility of the site being contaminated. Developers revealed that their financial grant from banks was contingent upon two consultants agreeing that the site was clean. According to the builder, numerous holes going down as far as 9 feet provided enough testing space to receive a positive report and green light to start the project.

Corner of Cedar & Warwick
One positive note brought up was the increase in on-street parking for both Cedar and Warwick. With the removal of retail, the city can move forward reversing the curb cut on both streets, thus, increasing parking availability.

Some residents of Clyde Street commented this was a positive move in light of an issue they are having and plan on asking the city to push the available parking back from the Clyde Street corner that has been posing as a serious safety hazard for those exiting the street onto Cedar. The hope is that cars will be pushed back far enough for drivers entering Cedar from Clyde to see oncoming traffic and avoid a traffic accident. This has been an issue for a few years and was mentioned again at last night's meeting.

All parking for the complex will be available through a driveway on Warwick (much smaller curb cut than what accommodates Royal White currently), decreasing the traffic on Cedar and allowing the building to be constructed closer to the sidewalk, keeping in line with the rest of the residences on Cedar. This parking area will also feature pervious pavers that will allow proper drainage and prevent overflow to surrounding residences.

Front of building featuring side decks
The front of the building will be landscaped, ADA Accessible (per law), but will not have balconies. All decks and balconies will be on the sides according to the architect’s drawings.
Meetings in front of the ZBA will possibly take place, at the earliest, in January or February at the latest pushing construction start time to spring 2012.

Royal White was forced to close due to tax issues and the sale was made directly with the owner of the property.

All concerns or suggestions can be sent to any Alderman At Large and/or member of OSPCD. Please note that Ward 5 Alderman Sean O’Donovan cannot comment on the construction in an elected capacity as he owns a home on Warwick Street, but was in attendance, with his wife, as a property owner/abutter. This is the case for all members of the Board of Alderman if a development is being proposed in close conjunction with their property.


Anonymous said...

yet another development with small units that could never accomodate a family.

Anonymous said...

The truth of the matter is: in the real rental world; other than designated affordable residential units comprising "SMALL UNITS"... other "LARGER UNITS" that could "accomodate" typical families with children, are simply (financially) out of reach for most families in Somerville.

Noted, larger rental units that could accomodate a family with children, for the most part, in my neighborhood, are rented out to two adults or more who collectively can afford the high rent. And many of those units "turn-over" frequently.

The only relief for some families comes from "Section 8" housing and absentee landlords,; and that's not without its problems as regards undesirable tenants as recently discussed and brought forward by the Board of Aldermen; and other city officials, fielding ongoing complaints from adjacent Section 8 neighbors.

Ron Newman said...

This explains why they never reopened the coin laundromat after it "broke".

Anonymous said...

That closed laundromat unit was re-opened, by another tenancy, as a master tailor shop.

Now appears short lived.