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Neighborhood committee OKs plans to transform Inn to housing

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  August 9, 2012 01:07 PM

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The prospective owners of what is now the Charles Street Inn have been given the go-ahead from the neighborhood to move forward with plans to transform the hotel into an apartment building.

The Beacon Hill Civic Association’s zoning and licensing committee Wednesday voted not to oppose the zoning variances that would be required to transform the 9-room hotel at 94 Charles St. into an apartment building.

The lack of opposition is conditional on an agreement between the owners and the civic association that the building’s trash be properly managed.

According to one of the inn’s current owners, Louise Venden, residents would be able to place trash a large bin in the back of the building, and a building manager could place the trash bag on River Street instead of busy Charles Street.

“We know it’s an issue for our neighbors,” said Brent Berc of Boston Real Estate Collaborative, the potential buyer that owns several other properties throughout Boston.

Berc said the Boston Real Estate Collaborative plans to convert the hotel’s nine rooms and one apartment into four one bedroom apartments, four studio apartments, and one two-bedroom duplex by combining the garden-level apartment and first floor common area.

“We want to make one beds where we can,” said Berc, noting that they might be able to create five one bedrooms, but the building’s configurations and bay windows limit what can be changed.

“We’re working within the shell, if you will, and there’s some limitations,” said Berc, assuring residents that there will be no external changes to the building and that the building will not be gutted, preserving historical details.

The apartments, which will range from $2,700 to $4,000 for a studio or one bedroom, will be rented as furnished units for leases that can range from one month to one year.

The company owns two properties in the Back Bay and one in the South End that are run on the same business model as the proposed Charles Street location, along with nine non-furnished rental properties in those neighborhoods and Mission Hill.

Berc said most residents lease apartments for 3 months to a year and are often temporary relocating for work, are snowbirds or longterm vacationers, or local residents displaced by a home renovation.

The Charles Street apartments would likely see high demand from Massachusetts General Hospital's visiting doctors, patients, and patients' families.

“Those people do have a stake in this neighborhood. Very rarely have we been able to accommodate them because it’s not our business model,” said Venden.

Although the company does not restrict undergraduates from living in their furnished apartments, they have never rented to any undergraduates at their other furnished apartments, said Berc.

“Frankly, we don’t get many inquiries from them, and when we do we have properties in Mission Hill they find much more attractive,” said Berc, saying the price point deters students.

The plans must go before the Boston Zoning Board of Appeal for city approval, but the city board takes the neighborhood association’s vote into consideration when making its decision. No date for a zoning board hearing has been set.

The committee also voted not to oppose the construction of an 11 foot by 9 foot wood deck in the back courtyard of 28 Irving St.
Twitter: @YourBeaconHill

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