Earlier this week there was much ado about Mayor Menino's plan for micro-apartments along the South Boston waterfront's 2-year-old Innovation District. These units, hundreds of them, would be downright Manhattan-esque in their size: 375 square feet at the smallest and none really larger than 450, which is right now the city's minimum for new-construction apartments.
The mayor's plan took a step forward on Thursday night as the Boston Redevelopment Authority's board unanimously approved a $150 million phase of the Pier 4 project, a three-phase effort on 9.5 acres off Northern Avenue to build commercial space and apartments, many of them so-called "innovation housing." That housing, according to the BRA's definition, is targeted at those who make too much to qualify for affordable housing but who don't make enough to rent anything decent in this town; the units are smaller, with more flexible layouts, and the building's they're in have common areas that are suppose to encourage brainstorming over coffee, Ultimate Frisbee, etc.
The 373,000-square-foot Phase 1 project approved last night includes:
· the redevelopment of an existing restaurant, patio, parking lot and "deteriorating pier"
· 625,000 square feet of residential space for 383 apartments, including 35 affordable-housing ones and 50 innovation units
· 20,000 square feet of public space
· 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space
In a release, the BRA noted last month's approval of the 319 A Street development, a 202-unit live-work project backed by executive training program Goldman Sachs; and said that and the the Phase 1 nod "answers the call for housing in the area." Manhattan answered, apparently, and we know from experience that it likes to talk. More housing, in fact, is in the pipeline for the Innovation District, including phases 2 and 3 of Pier 4; and other projects either awaiting approval or already O.K.'d, like 63 Melcher Street, home of the district's very first innovation units (ready the historical marker).
· South Boston to Get Hundreds of Manhattan Apartments [Curbed Boston]
· 319 A Street: the South Boston Waterfront's Big Greenlight [Curbed Boston]