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New Hope Church Renovations Moving Forward

Developer's newest plan preserves gothic windows and roofline.

A new plan to convert the into residential condos without altering the building’s signature arched windows was met favorably by members of the South End Landmark District Commission who have now heard three separate proposals for the Tremont Street church.

On Tuesday, architect Gary Hendren presented a scaled-back approach to the project, proposing four residential condos instead of eight. The new plan would preserve the shape of the Tremont Street windows and leave the roofline intact while changing a portion of the roofing material to glass.

The glass roof would be positioned over the fourth and largest unit, which would be occupied by Brookline resident Michael Minkoff, who signed a letter of intent to purchase the church from the New Hope Congregation earlier this year. The Minkoffs’ unit would occupy the entire main sanctuary of the church.

“Part of his unit would have an indoor courtyard which would be landscaped [under] the glass roof,” Hendren explained. ”It would solve the code issues about light and air. It leaves all the windows on Tremont Street just the way they are today.”

Several neighbors in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting expressed support for the new roof plan and the smaller number of residential spaces.

“[It’s] something that the South End hasn’t see but I think it could be an interesting statement,” said West Concord Street resident David Berarducci, who sits on the Boston Landmarks Commission. “Most importantly I think it is the least disruptive scheme.”

The glass portion of the roof would likely be tinted, Hendren said, but the roof trusses would still be visible underneath, lending a historic element appreciated by South End Historical Society Director Hope Shannon.

"We think that scheme three is actually a very interesting option from a preservation standpoint," she said.

Commissioners reacted positively to the plan, which was not formally submitted to the board for a vote.

“It preserves the building in the best possible way and it’s going to be fun,” said Commissioner John Freeman. 

Attorney Marc LaCasse called the meeting “a big green light” for the project, which will be submitted to the Inspectional Services Department for zoning review. Because of its small size, the project is not subject to review by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, LaCasse said.

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