The site of a Roslindale auto shop where developers had long sought to build a charter high school — a proposal that turned into a contentious and emotional battle — may soon house an apartment building instead.
Dedham-based developer Upton + Partners has proposed a five-story, 124-unit residential building at 361 Belgrade Ave. on the Roslindale-West Roxbury border, where the company originally planned to build a school for the school chartered public Roxbury Prep. Despite four years of discussions and an “extensive regulatory scope,” the school project never made it to the Boston Planning & Development Agency’s agenda for a vote, and it was dropped earlier this year. .
“The school proposal has received both strong public support and organized opposition to the use and site of the school at this location (by a new community group and some nearby residents),” wrote a lawyer representing Upton + Partners in a letter of intent at the Boston Planning and Development Agency. “In lieu of a new school for Roxbury Prep, opponents expressed a strong preference and offered their support for a multi-family residential conversion of the site.”
The newly proposed apartment development “is in direct response to this input and in the hope of working together towards a successful outcome,” the letter of intent continues.
Upton + Partners is proposing to remove the existing auto shop and replace it with a five-story “variable height” building, with 124 apartments and 86 garage parking spaces. The project would include expanded sidewalks and site improvements, as well as “much-needed improvements to pedestrian connectivity and the new public realm,” the letter states.
Developers intend to exceed the city’s affordable housing rules, which require a minimum of 13% of units in many new buildings to be set at affordable rents, Upton+ partner Jake Upton said. Partners. The developer brought in architectural firm Arrowstreet to design the project. Arrowstreet previously designed Upton + Partners’ Ocean 650, a 230-unit building next to the MBTA Wonderland Blue Line station in Revere.
For its part, Roxbury Prep has since offered to move to 69 Proctor St. in the Newmarket area of Roxbury.
“We couldn’t be happier to move forward with our new campus which guarantees our students the world-class permanent home they deserve in a neighborhood with a long history of celebrating black and brown lives,” said Shradha Patel, co-founder of Roxbury Prep High School, in a March statement on the proposed new location.
The Letter of Intent kicks off the formal review process for the development of Section 80 of the BPDA, which involves community meetings and a possible review of the BPDA Board of Directors.