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July 2013 PSNA Minutes

PSNA Meeting
July 18, 2013, 7-9 PM
North Cambridge Senior Center
2050 Massachusetts Avenue

Agenda

  • Hotel Kaya
  • Hathaway Bakery
  • Announcements

Hotel Kaya

After a 4-5 year hiatus, this project is about to begin construction. Michael McKee, the architect, introduced the project manager, reported on the status of the permitting, and presented a tentative schedule.

The highlights:

  • Mr. Gim's development partner is Young Construction Company LLC (youngconcompany.com). They have several recent projects in or near Cambridge and are currently redeveloping the Cambridge Lumber site on Harvey Street.
  • Project manager David Barsky will handle communication with neighbors and deal with any problems that come up. He expects to have a project web site and an e-mail list for regular announcements set up by August 1, and plans to hold monthly meetings with concerned neighbors.
  • They are currently applying for building permits and lining up an independent contractor to monitor geophysical issues. Assuming that goes well...
  • The restaurant will close in August; construction will begin in September and last 12-14 months.
  • Demolition and excavation are expected to take a couple of months. By late January, the garage area will be completed and covered, allowing workers to park there.
  • Until that happens, workers will park at offsite locations. No parking or traffic related to construction will be on Porter Road.
  • The construction firm has contacted Lesley's AIB project manager to ensure that the timing of the activities of their respective projects don’t create gridlock or other problems for the larger area.

Hathaway Bakery

Rob and Sam Wolf, owners of the property, and their architect Joel Borgmann, presented plans for the project, including some views of the building in context, extending their presentation to the historical commission the week before.

They plan a three story residential building with 54 units, the maximum allowed by zoning. The required 54 parking places (and 54 bicycle places) will be under the building, hidden from view. A small part of the original bakery building would be preserved. The project does need a Special Permit, for which they intend to submit plans to the Planning Board at the end of July, with a hearing to be held sometime after Labor Day. They also need to resolve the current demolition delay imposed by the Historical Commission last week.

Several folks from Richdale Avenue and the immediate area were there with questions and concerns; it appeared that most of them had also attended the historical commission meeting. In the discussion that followed, the various abutters expressed a strong interest in preserving much more of the buildings than did the current plans. The architect’s intention to blend in with the residential character of the area was of less value than preserving the industrial look of that side of the street. A couple of folks urged the architect to talk to folks who live in the nearby the Payne Elevator building to see how they dealt with a similar conversion, including the very high windows, which had been presented as a problem precluding residential re-use of the existing building.

Announcements

  • The BZA hearing to allow an illuminated sign above the second floor windows of the Porter Square Galleria was continued to August 15.
  • The owners of the Slate building at 1971 Massachusetts Avenue will present their plans for a multistory residential building at our August 15 meeting.
  • PSNA and Agassiz plan to jointly sponsor a City Council candidates' forum the evening of Tuesday, October 8. Alice Wolf has agreed to moderate, and Lesley University has agreed to provide their auditorium free of charge. With something like 20 candidates, time will be tight; each candidate may get only one generic question plus one from the floor. Your suggestions for topics to be covered are solicited, along with any other ideas you may have.