With moratorium on flats over, proposal emerges for Framingham

FRAMINGHAM – A 176-unit apartment complex could become the first large-scale housing project built in the city since a moratorium on such activity expired last summer.

The proposed complex would be at 358 Waverly St. (Route 135) and extend to the corner of South Street on the edge of downtown Framingham. The location was the last home of the former Mexican restaurant El Mariachi, and previously the Chicken Bone restaurant.

The company behind the proposed six-story complex is Boghos Properties, a Boston-based developer. The project would include 176 units, of which 18, or 10% of them designated as affordable housing. According to site plans, the project would also include approximately 3,700 square feet of retail space, as well as a six-story parking garage.

The project is in the site plan review phase, which includes ongoing public hearings. The applicant would need a series of special permits to build the apartment complex on the proposed site, due to its scale.

“Suitable for newer buildings”

The 1.58 acre land on which the proposal would be built is part of Framingham’s central business district. It is close to similar developments including the Union House complex at 55 Concord St. and Modera Framingham at 266 Waverly St.

“You can see how the building fits in with the newer buildings, as well as the old factory buildings in the area,” Ray Boghos of Boghos Properties said at a 21 July. “We think he fits the neighborhood well.”

A rendering of the proposed building in downtown Framingham.  The Boghos development is centrally located on the corner of Waverly Street and South Street.  The Union House development on Concord Street is downstairs across the train tracks.  Modera Framingham is top left, further down Waverly Street.

Sarkis Sarkisian, Framingham’s director of planning and community development, said at the same meeting that the town will publish a peer review for the traffic study carried out by Boghos, and will consider a review of the architecture of the building, to ensure that the plans presented to the city by Boghos are accurate.

“When this was first presented to us, we wanted to make sure it had been thoroughly peer reviewed,” Sarkisian said. “We’ve talked about the traffic study before, but I think the architecture is great. I know there’s been comments wanting this looked at. I have someone who can do that so that we weren’t slowing down the process,”

Concerns were raised by a few members of the public, as well as the Planning Board, about parking and the potential for increased traffic.

“Can someone who rents an apartment leave their car on the street overnight? Could they leave them permanently for weeks like they do in Back Bay? asked Nixon Road resident Joe Simonelli.

The presentation of Boghos hailed

Planning board member Michael Norton called Boghos’ presentation one of the best he’s seen during his time on the board, adding that he thinks the proposal is much more architecturally pleasing than it is. other projects built in the neighborhood.

“One or two things that have bothered me about other tall buildings that have been built over the years is that along the street the building is just a monotonous block,” he said. -he declares. – in the building along Waverly Street. The Modera Building, which is fully built and with no landscaping along the street, is another thing you’ve tackled with the small pocket parks.

In September 2020, the city council decreed a moratorium on the construction of apartments after a petition from residents. The moratorium was meant to last nine months, but was extended last spring for another three months and ended in September 2021.

The petition cited concerns about traffic, as well as overbuilding in and around Framingham town centre. It was signed by more than 300 residents.

A Google Maps image highlighting the proposed site of the apartment complex, at the intersection of Waverly Street and South Street in Framingham.

Planning Council Chair Kristina Johnson said creating more housing is essential for the city and region.

“Massachusetts ranks at the bottom when it comes to housing production and we have been since 2011,” she said. and rent. This is really important for the sustainability of our regional economy. If we want Framingham to be competitive, housing is the missing piece.”

The public hearing and review process is expected to continue at the August 18 Planning Board meeting.

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