By Seth Daniel
The City’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) unanimously approved a 60-unit residential development on a part of Revere Beach that developers said has been screaming for improvement for more than a decade.
The 90 Ocean Ave. site, once home to the Lion’s Den, has been approved in a 5-0 vote for a five-story, 60-unit building brought by Everett developer Greg Antonelli. It’s a project that attorney Gerry D’Ambrosio said showed great communication and compromise.
“It’s a good example of a developer taking input from City Hall and the community to make the project smaller than allowed,” he said. “It’s also a good example of communication and legwork done before votes were taken.
“This is also positive economic development for a besmirched part of Revere Beach,” he continued.
The site has long been a blight on the southern end of the Beach, once being the site of a cold-blooded murder. It has been vacant for years and has been in tax title before as well. Hopes for the site to be developed have not been high until recently when Antonelli purchased the property from Revere’s Jamie Russo.
In planning for the development, D’Ambrosio said they went small, and that made sense for the area and for the developer.
“It’s a very nice project and the interesting thing about it is that it fits well into the community,” he said. “Anyone can go by right up to 14 stories and have a floor area ratio (FAR) of three. This has a 1.6 FAR and is only five stories tall. It’s 60 units as opposed to a potential of 135 units…It’s a win-win for the city and it makes sense for the community and made financial sense for the developer.”
Part of the appeal of the project will be to invite the neighborhood into the building via retail businesses on the ground floor and an inviting sidewalk layout.
Potential businesses could include coffee shops, restaurants and other service-oriented businesses – all of which will target pedestrians.
“The goal is to make the building part of the Revere Beach community, especially for pedestrians,” he said. “The goal here is pedestrians and not auto traffic at all. Keep in mind, the Revere Beach Train Station is 500 yards away. We envision many of the tenants to be white collar professionals who don’t want to be downtown.”
The majority of the units are to be one-bedroom apartments, and D’Ambrosio said that is to attract the young professionals and to lessen impact on the schools.
The project was mostly allowed by right in the zoning, but needed a parking variance for 20 spaces. The project has 70 spaces, but lacked an additional 20 required in the zoning.
D’Ambrosio said they would be coordinating efforts with other developments, as called for by Mayor Brian Arrigo. He said they hoped to get underway in the fall, but that could stretch out to a groundbreaking in the spring.