March 14, 2023
The Zoning Board of Appeal on Tuesday approved two projects for two parcels on Columbia Road that will mean 113 new affordable apartments, artist space and the preservation of two historic buildings across from the Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner.
One of the projects will mean the elimination of 15 SRO apartments, but the current tenants will be guaranteed new, larger units in the building to be erected behind the one housing their current rooms.
The board approved plans by the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation and Preservation of Affordable Housing to renovate the old Dorchester Savings Bank and put a new "Glow Box" next to it to highlight the work of artists living in the 48-unit apartment building behind the old bank building and provide some commercial space.
All of the apartments in the "Columbia Crossing" complex will be rented to people making between 30% and 80% of the Boston area-median income. Some 20% of the units will be aimed at artists. The building will have 19 parking spaces.
The old bank building will have commercial space.
One resident living behind the parcel said he isn't opposed to the project in general, but asked that a couple floors be lopped off because it would be higher than any other building around and come right up to his and his neighbors property lines. A Columbia Road landlord said she is concerned the project would mean the loss of three or four parking spaces along the road.
In a separate hearing, JLCD Development of Hingham won approval to build a six-story apartment building on what is now a parking lot behind the Fox Building, a couple doors down from Columbia Crossing, at 554-562 Columbia Rd., and to renovate the Fox Building for commercial use.
Once the new apartment building, which will have 24 parking spaces and rooftop solar panels, is finished, residents of the SRO units in the Fox Building will be move into new units. All of the apartments will be rented to people making between 30% and 100% of the Boston area-median income, JLCD attorney Joe Hanley told the board.
Rendering of Fox Building project by the Architecture Team: