FRAMINGHAM – A 6-story, 175-unit apartment complex is proposed for the former Chicken Bone restaurant in downtown Framingham.
The proposed mixed use re-development project is for 358-380 Waverley Street and 16 South Street, and was submitted by developer Boghos Properties out of Boston.
This is the first major proposal since the City of Framingham apartment moratorium ended in 2021 (more on that below).
The mixed-use project consists of 176 residential units with amenities, with about 3,100 square feet of retail and garage parking located in a 6-story structure.
The developer is requesting a Major Site Plan Review, a Central Business Special Permit, a Land Disturbance and Stormwater Management Special Permit, and a Special Permit for Dimensional Relief for Off-Street Parking from the 5-member Framingham Planning Board.
The re-development project will have 216 parking spaces on a 1.53 acre site.
The main access to the project will be located off South Street near the rear of the building.
The project sits on a corner lot with frontage on South Street and Waverley Street. The proposed re-development project combines three lots.
The building is primarily a square in shape creating an interior courtyard on top of the second podium deck. All parking is located within the building structure, wrote the developer in the submitted proposal.
If the City green lights the project, construction would begin in early 2023 andlast about 24 months.
The project is estimated to be “weather tight” approximately 8-10 months after site work commences, wrote the developer.
The developer and hired general contractor will work with the City to do phased occupancy in the project and hopes to start its leasing efforts 14-16 months into the construction life cycle, noted the application to the City.
Of the 176 units, 18 would be deemed “affordable,” or about 10%.
Of the 176 units, there are 96 one-bedroom units and 80 two-bedroom units.
Proposed rents for the units were not a part of the application.
The proposed re-development project is a “Transit-Oriented Development.”
The project’s front door is located approximately about a mile from the Framingham Commuter rail station loading platform. The project integrates its entrances and exits with the City’s existing pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure systems allowing for safe pedestrian access from the building to the commuter rail as well as downtown Framingham.
The project has 54 interior bike parking spaces and eight exterior bike parking spaces.
The City’s designated bicycle lane forms at the front door of the Proposed Project on Waverly Street allowing for a more bike friendly environment.
The Project also offers several outdoor seating areas for the residences of the community as well as the public.
The project is the first major one submitted since the City of Framingham’s apartment moratorium ended in fall 2021.
Residents had told city leaders in 2017 and again in 2019, there were too many apartments in the City of Framingham. And many candidates for Mayor and the City Council in those years said they would support a short apartment moratorium to voters.
“While Framingham has recently permitted or constructed more than 1,000 new apartment units, it has not studied and has no plans to mitigate the impacts of these units of municipal services, schools and roadways,” wrote the petitioners to the City Council.
At that same time in March 2020, District 1 City Councilor Christine Long, the long-time Planning Board Chair submitted an order to the 11-member City Council calling for an apartment moratorium for up to one-year.
In August 2020, the 11-member Framingham City Council voted 10-1 for a 9-month moratorium on the construction of new multi-unit housing in the City of Framingham. The lone vote on the City Council against the moratorium was then City Council Chair George P. King Jr.
Mayor Yvonne Spicer, who was against the moratorium, vetoed the order.
On Tuesday, September 15, 2020, the City Council overwhelming voted to override the veto. The Mayor signed the moratorium into law on September 22, 2020.
In May of 2021, the City Council voted to extend the moratorium for an additional 3 months.
Since 2016, more than 1,419 units were permitted in the City of Framingham with the concentration of 875+ new units in the Central Business District in downtown Framingham.
New apartment complexes Union House, Moderna, Buckley, and Bancroft are all more than 90%-plus occupied.
Those new apartments are having an impact traffic-wise on South Framingham, including Dudley Road, Mt. Wayte, Franklin Street, Union Avenue, Route 126 and Route 135 in downtown Framingham.
But traffic is not the only impact.
District 4 School Committee member Adam Freudberg said in 2020, there were 175 students in apartments in the City, and students projected for the 1,400 permitted apartments could be as high as 210 students
At $19,544 per student cost that is $4.42 million now and a project $4.1 million addition to the district for a total impact of more than $7.5 million, said Freudberg.
The Framingham Public School District has more than 9,000 students.
The moratorium was to have given the former Spicer administration time to study the impact of apartment on traffic, economic development, growth issue, and the Framingham Public Schools.
But the Mayor was against the moratorium from the start, and the study was not completed before her administration ended in December 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic was itself a moratorium on development.
But as Massachusetts has emerged from the pandemic, housing stock has been limited and housing prices have risen significant, including rents.
The City of Framingham has some of the highest rents in the state. Framingham rent rates are in the top 15 among communities across the Commonwealth.