3045 Richmond St. is a bit of an odd property which we would argue has been underused for a very long time. It’s positioned on the Richmond Street commercial corridor, right next door to a building that was once a movie theater and has more recently been used as a book shop. And there are plenty of mixed-use buildings in either direction, or simply buildings that are apartment buildings of various sizes. For whatever reason though, this property has been used in the service of cars since well before I-95 ran behind it, dating back at least to World War II. Over the years, it’s been used as a gas station, a car repair shop, and a used car business. But if you visit the site today, you’ll see that the few buildings that were on the property are now gone.

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In the past
Current view

Developers purchased this 10K sqft parcel at the end of last year, paying $840K, which feels like a rather reasonable price given the size, location, and multi-family zoning of the property. By right and without bonuses, a developer could build a three story building here with 22 units. Throw in a green roof bonus, you’re looking at 27 units. With the use of a mixed-income bonus, you could pick up 7′ of height and build a four-story building with 33 units or 40 units, either of which would be a strong addition to a corridor that seems primed to take some steps forward in the years to come. We were a little surprised to learn that the developers took a different approach.

Project rendering

At the site, there’s a rendering of the plan for the property, showing a nice looking five-story building with 29 apartments and 22 parking spots. To get approval for this arrangement, the developers needed to go to the ZBA, specifically to get permission for the extra height and the first-floor parking. On the one hand, we understand that parking adds value to the project, especially in a part of town where providing one’s own transportation is crucial and parking is at a premium. On the other hand, we wish this project didn’t maintain the longstanding curb cut on Richmond Street. That being said, we imagine the near neighbors prefer the curb cut to the additional parking strain in the neighborhood.

Former book store next door

While the building next door doesn’t impact parking right now, it’s only a matter of time. Like we told you about a year ago, developers have also purchased 3037 Richmond St. and are planning a 31-unit apartment building which won’t have parking. That project got a demolition permit almost exactly one year back, but as you can see, the theater turned book store is still around, so we couldn’t tell you when that project will actually move forward. When it does though, it will combine with the building next door to add dozens of new residents to this area, which will only mean good things for businesses in the area. Fortunately, we have to figure that things will be looking up for retail well ahead of the timeline for the completion of either building.