At the edge of the Theater District where it meets Chinatown, oft thought to be marked by the historic Jacob Wirth’s restaurant, AvalonBay Communities has proposed a 29 story development that includes a five-story parking garage with parking for around 200 vehicles and 400 apartments stacked up above.
The address of 45 Stuart St, but a mere 417 feet away from the W Hotel and Residence, is currently an open air parking lot and could breathe even more life into the developing Theater District.
The project was filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority on August 8 and made public on August 11. This however, is not the first proposal submitted for this site. Two others have been received since 2006, including one for an office building and another for a hotel. Neither of these proposals worked out due to the recently poor economic conditions as well as community opposition, according to the Boston Globe.
AvalonBay has already purchased the property and hired CBT Architects to design the building. The position of Jacob Wirth’s, which opened in 1868, makes for some fancy maneuvering by the architects. They need to work around the historic site while making the most of the air space around it. The proposed structure is a mixture of metal and glass and will include studios, one bedrooms and two bedroom units, 15% of which are required to be affordable housing.
For what it’s worth, any building that lends itself to brightening up this area of Stuart Street seems worthwhile to me. Despite the proximity to the lights and crowds of the Theater District and diners at Market inside the W, a visit to the Jacob Wirth’s side of Stuart has long felt like a trip into a Dickens novel. But, throw up some reflective glass and cast some pretty lights on it and it will transform into a whole new neighborhood hotspot ready to blossom.
Think a modern building hugging the corners of Boston’s second oldest restaurant is a good idea or a bad use of space? Should historic Boston and modern Boston co-mingle so closely? Please share your thoughts.