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Landmarks Commission Imposes 90-day Delay on Home for Little Wanderers Demolition

A developer's plans to raze a 1914 building at the center of the Home for Little Wanderers' campus will be delayed by at least three months.

The city's Landmarks Commission voted Tuesday to impose a 90-day delay in the planned demolition of the 1914 building at the center of the Home for Little Wanderers campus.

The building, all all others on the 161 S. Huntington St. parcel, are slated for being torn down to make way for an apartment building with 196 units.

JP resident Gretchen Grozier, who attended the meeting, said she spoke in favor of the delay, as did several other neighborhood residents.

The project would create an E-shaped building of five and four stories with parking beneath the edifice. Most units would be one-bedrooms of various sizes, aimed at appealing to the medical professionals who work in the Longwood area.

The demolition delay is a zoning provision that provides extra time for the city and developer can consider other ways of doing the project that protect historical sites.

The developer, Boston Residential Group, explained at a that it had tried to craft a plan for saving the building, but could not do so.

"Boston Residential Group is very sensitive to historic structures," said Curtis Kemeny at Monday's Jamaica Pond Association meeting. "We looked at several alternatives here and we couldn't figure it out."

The Home for Little Wanderers has a binding sale agreement with Boston Residential Group. It is .

There is also a separate Boston Redevelopment Authority process going on. Residents who want to send the BRA their own comments about the project may do so by May 16 to:

John Fitzgerald

Boston Redevelopment Authority

One City Hall Square, 9th Floor

Boston, MA 02201

Fax: 617-742-7783

Phone: 617-918-4267

Email: john.fitzgerald.bra@cityofboston.gov

The public process could be over as soon as May 16 if the comments received are not judged by the Redevelopment Authority as meriting further review.

For details about the proposal for 161 S. Huntington, please see the Redevelopment Authority's Web site, which includes basic information, and links to the Project Notification Form, Letter of Intent and Supplemental Information File. The PDFs of these are attached to this post.

Guy Pondside May 09, 2012 at 05:45 PM
While I'm not opposed to the project, per se, I do feel the existing building structure should be repurposed. The new buildings they propose to build are ugly and add nothing to the streetscape.
Liam Sullivan May 09, 2012 at 06:02 PM
I find that stretch of S. Huntington to actually be drab and institutional and the lack of housing in that area also makes it quite desolate after business hours, so much so that I don't feel comfortable walking there at night. I think the proposed housing would liven up the streetscape and more importantly add 24/7 human activity that would liven up the area. I find it encouraging that the proposed apartments are smaller units targeted at young professionals in the Longwood Medical Area because there is not much housing designed for this audience. All too often, 3-deckers and two-family homes are being adapted to be apartments and condos for young professionals driving out working and middle class families. The new apartments will allow the current housing stock nearby designed for family use to remain property that can be rented or owned by working and middle class families. Finally, the Little Wanderers building is old but it neither attractive nor architecturally distinguished. Adaptive reuse has it's merits but ultimately if this building is not appropriate for reuse as apartments then it should be demolished and replaced by the new building which will do more credit to the neighborhood.
MarkBoston May 09, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I live a block away from this project and feel it's simply too large for the space . The building they want to place in there is about a block long solid wall with no cut out spacing allowing any view of the Jway. Directly across the street is the hideous pink block long VA wall .. This creates a canyon in an otherwise open space . The project seem to be more about the developers greed in needing 195 units to make the buck he wants ( he lives in Brookline ) I want to see the smaller 74 unit proposal. Perhaps it site just needs another developer !
Lauren P May 11, 2012 at 07:07 PM
I agree that it would be nice to have more residential housing in the area Liam, I live practically across the street. But mark is right if you look at the footprint of the project and how many buildings that will be combined into one I am leery of the elevation as it's currently proposed.

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