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Sale of Hite Radio building in South End is finalized

Posted by Patrick Rosso  January 6, 2012 01:08 PM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

The Hite Radio building at 1672 Washington St. Developers plan to demolish the structure and replace it with a six-story condo building.

New Boston Ventures has finalized its purchase of the Hite Radio building on Washington Street, a company official said.

New Boston Ventures would like to demolish the current structure located at 1672 Washington St. and erect a six-story condo building along with a two-story townhouse in the rear of the lot.

David Goldman, a principal with New Boston, said the approximately 10,000 square-foot structure would house six to seven market-rate condos along with four off-street parking spaces.

The ground floor would feature a duplex, and the top five floors would each be two-bed, two-bath, full floor units with the townhouse connected.

Goldman who has been meeting with residents and neighborhood associations over the past few months, said he is confident in the building design and ready to move forward.

“We have filed for building permits and we are in the approval process and are moving forward quickly,” said Goldman.

The property at 1672 Washington St. is not new to proposed development.

According to Jim Robertson and Jay Hajj, owners of Toro and Mike’s Diner, had entered into an agreement to purchase the building summer 2011, with a plan to build a six-story building that would have five floors of condos along with space on the ground floor for a restaurant.

Hajj and Robertson said in an e-mail to the community published by the South End News in September said they are withdrawing their proposal.

“Despite our best efforts to work with you and other neighbors in the community, we have been unable to reconcile the scale of our proposed project with the direct abutters,” said the email. “The lack of consensus...has led us to the realization that we cannot build an economically viable building at the site with such significant opposition from the abutters."

With past opposition Goldman said he has made sure to contact local groups and work with them. Goldman said he has received the support of the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association along with the Washington Gateway Main Street.

“Our [design review] committee thought it would be a compliment to Worcester Square and the Allen house. We thought it was a great potential project,” said Nick Fedor, executive director of the Washington Gateway Main Street, whose group reviewed the project last fall.

The Boston Landmarks Commission says it approved the project. The property was under review because it is located in the South End Landmark District.

Even with support from other various neighborhood organizations not everyone in the neighborhood is excited about the project.

“There are real concerns from abutters that need to be addressed,” said Tony Ascuitto, a direct abutter of the property. “I don’t want this to turn into us opposing development because we don’t, but they are not giving us a chance to sit down and really discuss the project.”

Ascuitto was adamant that he doesn’t oppose the project, but he said such issues as water damage and roof connections need to be addressed.

“These developers do things in the neighborhood and then they leave and then it’s up to the owners to deal with the mess and I’m trying to prevent that,” Ascuitto said.

Goldman said his team has been doing everything it can to address concerns and work with residents.

“We are looking at all of our options and would like to build what was proposed,” said Goldman. “We understand some of the abutters are opposed to this and we intend to respect that.”

Now that the property is purchased, Goldman is working to get the proper building permits and zoning relief from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeal. According to a Zoning Code Refusal letter from the city's Inspectional Services Department the proposed project’s Floor Area Ratio is deemed excessive, usable open space is insufficient, rear yard space is insufficient and off street parking is insufficient. A date for developers to appear before the ZBA has not been set.

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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