By Josh Resnek
I have backed larger real estate developments here because they are, for the most part, the right way to go as the new city rising around us reconfigures itself.
The largest real estate developments recently give the city a good name and a bold new look.
They also serve as a constant source of sizable tax benefits for the hungry city treasury.
Thousands of residents who did not grow up here, have come to the city to live in the new developments – mostly younger people with good jobs who don’t have children so the local public schools already overcrowded have not been effected.
Many of these new residents don’t venture out of their small, expensive spaces. They very likely don’t know they are living in Everett, much less do they care.
They appreciate public transportation, nice spaces to live inside of with amenities and above all, close proximity to Boston which they love more than anything else.
The huge new developments going up on the Everett-Chelsea line by Stop and Shop, the giant Pioneer apartment house on the Revere Beach Parkway and now the planned for mother of them all, the proposed complex to rise on the former Market Forge site just up the street – one of the most polluted sites in the city about to be reborn – keep Everett hot.
We have favored all these developments.
We should never underestimate the importance for a city like ours to experience a dramatic uptick in interest in building residential housing. Now comes the 600 development to rise on that block of Broadway, but only if and when the Zoning Board of
Appeals gives this project something like 7 variances being asked for by the developers.
Two weeks back there was a heavily attended meeting before the ZBA to discuss the project.
A very large number of residents and abutters, mostly expressing serious doubts about the project, came to have their say.
A very large number of proponents for the development also came to express their approval for it.
In the end, the meeting was a typical Everett City Hall gaffe, with the Keverian Room packed, people standing everywhere and out into the hallway when the meeting was basically scuttled before it could happen, giving no one a voice to be heard.
Everyone left city hall disgusted.
Another meeting will shortly be held before the ZBA on the development.
Those against the development almost at the top of the rise on Broadway make the claim it is too large, too massive, to out of place to be allowed in its present configuration of 8 stories and 80 units.
The mayor, I have been told, wants at least one story chopped from the development as planned.
This would likely reduce the number of units from 80 to 70 and reduce as well the monolithic effect such a soaring structure would have on a neighborhood largely comprised of two and three family houses and single story storefronts.
Developers I have spoken with claim the building is simply too large for the neighborhood. In addition, they all agreed – such a massive building sitting on a foot print surrounded by two story buildings that is not set back from the sidewalk, will create a builder’s nightmare.
“Instead of listening to the neighbors and what their concerns are, the developers have turned a blind eye to them,” said one local developer. As for the developer, one of the partners told the Leader Herald that everything will be done to make the development viable for the neighborhood.
The next ZBA meeting will be the true test for those against the project who believe it is too tall, not enough parking, too massive, to close to lot lines and not enough consideration given to the neighborhood.
For those in favor of the project there will be the litany of positives for the city – more and better housing, a signature taller building in what is sure to be the first of many more to follow, and huge new tax bill to be paid into the city treasury from day one.