Monday night the City Council approved a special permit for a non-conforming use to build a 145-unit apartment development at 320-327 Revere Beach Blvd. on the site of the current Bianchi’s and next to the St. George.
Plans call to raze three buildings on the property and then construct a six-story, 145-unit, mixed-use structure. There will be a new restaurant on a café/retail space. There will be 79 studio/one-bedroom units, 66 two-bedroom units and no three-bedroom units. Five stories will be built above podium parking.
There will also be parking for 188 cars. There will be a seven-foot buffer zone from the building to the boulevard. There will also be a shuttle bus service and access to zip cars.
Attorney Lawrence Simione and the developers have met a few times with the residents of the St. George where much opposition to the project came from citing traffic and parking issues, and the developers appeared in front of the City Zoning Board of Appeals last week seeking variances. The request was tabled until next month’s meeting, but the special permit from the council that was issued on Monday night takes precedent.
Simione said parking will be charged within the lease. The developer is financing a traffic study of Revere Beach Boulevard, Northshore Road and other waterfront areas.
He also noted that the current property garners about $40,000 for the city in tax revenue. With the new construction, the city can expect $428,000.
“This is the first project to try and step up and address traffic,” said Rick Salvo, of Engineering Alliance.
“I understand the cry out about too many apartments, I voted against the Shaw’s site, but they can go up 12 stories by right but they’re not,” said Ward 6 Councillor Charles Patch.
The developer Matt Philbin is partnering with NRP, a company ranked seventh in the United States in rentals.
“The bottom line is whatever touches is first class,” said Councillor Anthony Zambuto. “A world class developer with support from NRP.
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said traffic is a problem, an issue that he and councillors Joanne McKenna and Arthur Guinasso discussed when they met with Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo last week. The topic was traffic, regional traffic and the impact on Revere. Much of the regional traffic uses North Shore Road and Revere Beach Boulevard.
Council President Jessica Giannino said she’s looking 10 years ahead how the boulevard will look. “They can go up 12 stories by right. We built a residential beach and there are some ugly buildings there,” she said.
Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe asked if there was a lease or a guarantee on having Bianchi’s as the restaurant. “It would just be nice if there were a guarantee,” he said.
“We need new growth,” said Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso.
A few residents from the St. George and the Point of Pines Neighborhood also spoke against the development and its impact.