Columbia-Savin Hill's planning panel updated on ongoing work

The Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association’s Planning Committee held a virtual update meeting on local developments last Tuesday night, in which local residents shared concerns about noise, plans, and ownership of properties. 

Four ongoing projects were discussed: 1320 Dorchester Ave. — best known as DotBlock; 951-959 Dorchester Ave., 189 Grampian Way, and 147 Grampian Way. The planning panel listened to live updates from project representatives or read-out written statements from each project. 

Once completed, DotBlock will be one of the largest mixed-use projects in Dorchester, with 488 residential units in four buildings and 23,000 square feet of retail planned.

Abe Menzin, a principal and executive vice president of development for Samuels & Associates — the real estate development group building DotBlock— said the project has a little under two years of construction left after some initial delays due to the pandemic.

“The worst part of the project is behind us,” said Menzin. “We have now dug most of the dirt and started pouring concrete foundation. We encountered some delays, but we never stopped working on it.”

Menzin added that the construction project will be working with unions to hire local workers. He said DotBlock will be prioritizing local restaurateurs and small businesses for their commercial space. 

Adam Sarbaugh of Cornerstone Real Estate spoke about his group’s construction at 951 Dorchester Ave., the old location of Dorchester Market and Tom English’s Bar. This project was also delayed due to the pandemic and Sarbaugh said while he was not sure about when the project will be done, he could come back with a more accurate estimate within the next few months.

The project — already approved by city planners— will include 38 residential units in a five-story building above 6,670 square feet of retail space intended to house a market and restaurant.

Residents asked to have Sarbaugh come back after there was a better idea of the timeline. Planning Committee members said they would try to schedule a session.

Written updates for the two projects on Grampian Way were presented in lieu of a representative. Mike Szkolka, president of the civic, said the developer for the 189 Grampian Way site is Stephen Flaherty, while the 147 Grampian Way developer is an LLC managed by Dorchester-based developer Doug George. 

Noise was a main topic of discussion regarding the Grampian Way properties in the wake of after recent complaints from residents about loud early morning and weekend noise. Planning board members said excavation of a large boulder at the 189 Grampian site has caused significant noise, but work on the rock will be done by June 1, according to the developer.

“I wish they would not do it on weekends. In my particular yard there’s an echo so I get twice as much,” one Grampian Way neighbor said at the meeting.

A new noise mitigation plan was put up by the developers. It includes using quieter equipment and limiting the working hours to Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday work can now not start until after 8 a.m. and hydraulic breaking, the noisy part of the rock excavation, will need to stop by 3 p.m. on Saturdays. 

In the notice for the 147 Grampian Way property, the development team led by George wrote that construction of the house would be done by Aug. 31, with the rest of construction scheduled to be done by the end of the year.

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