A proposal by a Boston developer to build a six-story condo development at the site was presented to the Worcester Square Neighborhood Association on Tuesday, one month after neighbors at the corner plot.
New Boston Ventures co-principal David Goldman and two associates presented conceptual sketches of the proposal on Tuesday in order to gather neighborhood input, aiming to apply feedback toward their next round of planning and sketching.
“We’re really here tonight not yet to ask for your support, but to show you where we are and how the process has evolved and to get your input about where you’d like to see [the building] go,” Goldman told the assembly.
Goldman and co-principal Dennis Kanin have planned similar developments in the past, including the Allen House, which sits across Worcester Street from the Hite building.
New plans for Hite site
On Tuesday, the developers presented preliminary sketches of a proposed six-story condo building with one entrance on Washington Street and a main entrance on Worcester Street. A two-and-a-half-story townhouse would be attached to the back of the building, on Worcester Street.
The six-story development would house two duplex units on the ground levels, beneath four floor-through condos. The condos would be mostly two-bedroom, two-bathroom units, selling at an estimated $700 per square foot, at market rate.
The approximately 10,000-square-foot development would also include four parking spaces, two in the back of the building and two underground.
The shorter townhouse would allow a transition of the development’s scale, lowering from the height of the buildings on Washington Street toward that of the townhouses lining Worcester Square, the developers said. Earlier plans from other developers pulled the full, six-story height of the development further back and down Worcester Street, raising the issue of abutters’ views of Worcester Square and access to light.
“It’s really a balancing act,” said architect Josh Slater. “We are cognizant of maintaining abutters’ views out to Worcester Square.”
Project is purely residential
Unlike previous proposals, the current proposal does not involve commercial space, though several residents at Tuesday’s meeting noted that commercial developments could have a positive effect on the neighborhood.
New Boston Ventures has not yet closed on the property, and will not do so until they have received financing for the project, Goldman said.
“We need to know that we can build a building, even if the design changes one way or another to address concerns, that we can get financed by a bank,” he said.
Moving toward official approval, New Boston Ventures will present at the Landmarks Commission’s November meeting and plans to present a more developed, “buildable” project at the subsequent December meeting. The group will also seek approval from the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
Site with history
New Boston Ventures is not the first group to tackle the Hite space. Over the summer, developers Jim Robertson and Jay Hajj had conceived plans for a six-story building grounded by a first-floor restaurant. That plan was officially scrapped in early September.
“We have been unable to reconcile the scale of our proposed project with the direct abutters who desire a smaller building that will not impede their view of Worcester Square,” Robertson and Hajj wrote in an e-mail to the community.
But despite his predecessors’ difficulties, Goldman said he felt confident that his team would be able to move forward with a project.
“We were very encouraged by the neighbors at the meeting,” Goldman wrote in an e-mail to Patch.
“It is clear to us that the neighborhood has been waiting a long time to see this site developed. We left with a clear message that people want this development to move forward and we are working very hard to build consensus and make that happen.”