January 7 2016
National Development Reveals Details of Proposed Friendly 40B Project at The District
By: Rich Hosford
National Development has one of two Friendly 40B proposals under consideration by the town’s Ad Hoc 40B Committee and it presented details of the project during a meeting Wednesday night.
The committee was charged with hearing proposals and making notes and recommendations to the Board of Selectmen. If the board decides to work out and accept a Friendly 40B proposal, it will take it to the Board of Appeals.
Currently Burlington has 10.4 percent affordable housing though there is a fear the number will drop when the amount is re-evaluated during the 2020 Census. If a town falls below 10 percent, it loses a lot of the power it has if a developer comes in and wants to build an affordable housing project.
National Development gave details for its proposal for The District, the park formerly known as New England Executive Park. Senior Vice President and Director of Asset and Property Management Andrew Gallinaro said their plan is to build a 200-unit, five-story apartment building in south-west part of the park, facing the Burlington Mall. The units will be a combination of one, two and three-bedroom with far more of the smaller units than the larger sized ones. He said 25 percent of the units will be affordable housing.
Gallinaro also said his company is willing to give up plans to develop 25,000 square feet of retail space allowed by right in exchange for approval of the housing project. He said the apartments would lead to far less traffic at peak times and would help create an environment where tenants could walk to work and local amenities.
The second project under consideration is from the Davis Companies for its park Burlington Center on Corporate Drive. Chris Chandor, Vice President of Development at the Davis Companies and attorney Robert Buckley of Riemer & Braunstein presented the project to the committee.
At the last meeting of the committee, they detailed a 271-unit project at the park that would also have 25 percent affordable housing. Some of the benefits of the location they outlined included tax revenue the town could collect on a currently vacant lot, the out-of-the-way location would mean minimal impact on the town and workers in the park could live there and walk to work.
Chandor also said that the site currently is allowed by right to build 214,000 square feet in office space but would prefer to instead use that space for the residential building. He said that by going residential units will create far less traffic than if they build offices.
Buckley told the board that time was of the essence. He said that before work can begin a project needs a letter of support from the Board of Selectmen, then approval from the state and finally the plans need to be approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals. To avoid the possible issues after the census he said the process should start very soon.
Committee Chair Jim Doherty said the group would give its notes to the selectmen by the end of the month.