There’s a whole lot more housing heading for the booming Western Avenue corridor of Allston, this time on the site of the Boston Skating Club.
The Davis Cos. on Friday filed initial plans with the city for a 535-unit apartment building on the site of the Skating Club, along with a hotel and condominium project on the site of a hotel Davis owns next door. It would be the latest, and at 22 stories by far the largest, new building on a stretch of Western Ave. that has exploded with new development in recent years, where apartment — and increasingly lab — buildings are replacing old gas stations and auto shops from Barry’s Corner near Harvard Stadium to the Arsenal Street bridge to Watertown.
“There’s a lot of really exciting developments going on to the east, and to the south of here,” said Stephen Davis, managing director of The Davis Cos. “We thought this was the best time to move forward.”
Davis Cos., which built and recently opened the Telford 180 condo building next door, bought the Skating Club site in 2018 for $26.25 million. Eighteen months prior, it had paid $14.2 million for the old Days Hotel next door. The two properties combined give it more than three acres to work with on a site along Soldiers Field Road overlooking the Charles River.
After the Skating Club moves to its new complex in Norwood — which is expected to be finished this summer — Davis wants to build a 535-unit apartment building, with a 220-space underground garage, on the site. In the project’s second phase, Davis would knock down the Days Hotel — which it revamped last year as the bright and arts-themed Studio Allston — and replace it with a new building with 255-room hotel and 120 condos. In between the buildings would be a large strip of open space that Davis said is designed to improve connections between Western Avenue and the Telford Street overpass to Herter Park and the riverfront.
“The way we’re laying out the buildings has a very specific pedestrian connection to the bridge,” Davis said. “You’ll be able to access the river, as a pedestrian, in a better way.”
The filing on Friday was was the first step in what will likely be months of review, and Stephen Davis said he wasn’t yet sure when they might start construction. More detailed plans will be filed in the coming weeks, followed by community meetings. It’s a part of town that’s undergoing massive change, and some residents worry about the impact of new commercial development on rents for existing older housing, and on traffic and bus service along ever-busier Western Avenue.
Last fall, the Boston Planning & Development Agency kicked off a planning study that could ultimately rezone much of the corridor.
Davis said his company has been participating in those conversations and decided to push ahead now — before the rezoning is complete — in part to meet the plan’s likely objectives, such as more open space and housing. And while the building will reach 22 stories along Soldier’s Field Road, Davis said he envisions it being about the same height as other, shorter, buildings in the works along Western Avenue. Regardless, when it’s done, he expects there will be a lot of interest in living there.
“Increasingly, this is a neighborhood that appeals not only to the traditional Allston-Brighton renter base but to young families and people who want easy commuting access to the city of Boston,” he said. “We want to create a meaningful option for them."