Developer Seeks Parking in CBD for Condominiums

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

A potential developer is hoping to purchase the old theater at 64 Putnam St.,  but they are in need of up to 38 parking spaces to get the project financed by a local bank.

Rick and Dan Beliveau of Back Bay Design Corp. are looking to purchase 64 Putnam St. and turn the property into a five-story, between 31-34 one-bedroom condominiums. The bank approached for the project is East Boston Savings Bank, which wants dedicated parking before the project can go through.

“The bank won’t finance without the parking,” said Rick.

The Beliveau’s have two options, either add a story to the building and build a parking garage underneath at street level or get the town to agree to designated parking in the center business district. A five story building would be 68 feet tall and a six story building would be 74 feet tall. Rick Beliveau said the Planning Board is in support of a 68 foot building. The 1,000 square foot units are being directed toward millennials between the ages of 25 and 32.

Under the current zoning laws, he could build the condominiums and let parking be a free-for-all but the bank does not want this.

The options were discussed at Monday night’s meeting of the Rules and Ordinance Committee, because part of the parking request also involved time restraints.

The Rules and Ordinance Committee will meet again on the issue. It will then make a recommendation to the Town Council which will vote on any changes to parking regulations after a public hearing.

The other factor in the development of the center business district is the recently released master plan for the center district. Part of the plan calls for mixed use building which is expected to require 300 parking spaces for residential use.

“Beliveau’s project sets the stage for future developments,” said Stephen Hines, who is working with the developers. “Two other possible developments will also seek parking.”

The developer is looking to use the parking lot on Hagman Road for overnight residential parking. During the day the public would be able to use the lot.

Councilor Heather Engman, who was at the meeting, said the parking idea had not yet gone before the Transportation Committee for review.

“People who work in the center need parking too,” said Brenda Christopher of Christopher’s Flowers, who lives and works in the center business district.

Councilor Nick Delvento said dealing with the parking is a management issue and when winter comes about 30 spaces are lost in the center business district.

As more development goes on in the center the parking situation is going to have to be addressed. Officials keep saying there is plenty of parking in town, but the need for dedicated parking may come up again.

Councilor Phil Boncore reminded everyone that on Friday and Saturday nights when the restaurants are jumping the center is jammed with parking.

“We want the development but we have to be fair to the residents,” Boncore said.

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