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Developer plans $60m housing complex near JFK T stop

An artist’s rendering of the $60 million apartment complex on Morrissey Boulevard.

Synergy Investments

An artist’s rendering of the $60 million apartment complex on Morrissey Boulevard.

A Boston developer has proposed building a $60 million apartment complex with 278 units between the JFK/UMass MBTA station and the Shaw’s Supermarket on Morrissey Boulevard — a potential step toward a more extensive development with restaurants, shops, and office space along the sparsely populated roadway.

David Greaney, president of Synergy Investments, said his firm has sent a letter of intent to the Boston Redevelopment Authority, outlining its plans for the 2.35-acre Dorchester property, much of which is overgrown with waist-high weeds and surrounded by a chain-link fence. A portion of the site is used as surplus parking for Shaw’s.

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The apartment proposal would transform the vacant lot into a complex of two 5½-story buildings with a club room, gym, parking garage and lots, and courtyard. Greaney said he expects the apartments to be the first wave of development in the neighborhood, helping to spur investment in retail and other business opportunities around the JFK/UMass station and Columbia Point.

City officials have long acknowledged the area — a more than 400-acre swath of Boston — is too isolated, despite being just off Interstate 93 and home to the University of Massachusetts Boston and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

In 2011, the BRA adopted a master plan to better connect Columbia Point’s neighborhoods, entice new residential and retail developments, and make the area more accessible to public transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Greaney sees Synergy’s apartment complex as a starting point: bringing more residents into the area who will want places to shop and eat. Greaney said he hopes residents will be a “cross section of Boston” from “different income levels, different jobs, different neighborhoods.”

“We’re really trying to gear this building more to working professionals, young families, and people working in Boston,” Greaney said.

“We need to establish this as an additional viable neighborhood in Boston.”

Rents for the apartments — a mix of studios and lofts, and one- and two-bedroom units — are expected to range from $1,200 to just over $2,000 a month.

Car dealer Herb Chambers, meanwhile, said yesterday that he soon expects to close on a nearby vacant property on Morrissey Boulevard — the former Channel 56 lot next to The Boston Globe building — which he hopes to renovate into a certified, pre-owned BMW dealership.

“We’ve put a deposit on it,” he said. “It’s a very high traffic location, so we’d have great visibility there.”

If he gets approval from the city for the dealership, Chambers estimated he would invest about $6 million to buy, renovate, and landscape the property, and would probably hire about 30 to 40 people.

State Representative Martin J. Walsh, the Dorchester Democrat who represents the area, lauded the developments and said he believes the community will welcome the apartment complex and the BMW dealership.

“That area has been a barren — I don’t want to say wasteland — but a barren spot for so long,” he said. “Hopefully this will put some confidence in some investors looking at this spot.”

The president of the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association, a neighborhood group, could not be reached.

Erin Ailworth can be reached at eailworth@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ailworth.
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