In a new feature on Charlestown Patch called “You Ask … Patch Answers,” readers are invited to ask questions about anything they see or hear about in town and want to know more about.
Already, we’ve received a few questions from the community regarding the status of vacant buildings, ongoing construction projects and other items.
This week, we turn an eye on 75 West School St. Several people have asked what is being constructed on the site of the former Knights of Columbus hall (which is now located on Medford Street).
For the answer, Patch turned to Mark Rosenshein, chairman of the Charlestown Neighborhood Council Development Committee. Rosenshein actually joined the CNC in part because of this project—after attending a meeting where he felt few questions were answered, the Charlestown resident decided to get involved.
While Rosenshein remembers the original project as being well over 100 units, the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s records show that the most recent proposal, known as "Rutherford Landing," began as a seven-story federal-style brick building with 99 condo units, 100 garage parking spaces and 38 surface spaces. The BRA approved that plan in 2008, according to Melina Schuler, assistant director of media and public relations for the BRA.
Because of the economy and other reasons, the developer eventually sought a project change. In their notice of project change filed in November 2010, Bennett Development LLC reduced the total units to 87—15 percent of which would be affordable. The new proposal also changed the units to rentals rather than owner-occupied condos, Schuler said.
The developer filed a second notice of project change in January 2012 requesting that the project be increased back to 99 rental units, with 13 affordable units and 132 parking spaces, Schuler said.
According to BRA records, the building height has been approved at seven stories. However, Rosenshein's records show the building was reduced to five stories, and judging by the window layout on the building now being constructed at 75 West School St., it has indeed topped out at five stories.
The building height is still significantly taller than the former one-story Knights hall, which may be why residents find it so jarring, Rosenshein said.
“The building that was there before, you couldn’t tell it was there because with the Zelma Lacey House and the mall, you didn’t even see it,” he said. “My sense is that before it started being built, people’s impression, incorrectly, was that it was roughly the same size as the Zelma Lacey House, which it’s clearly not. When it got over the height of Zelma Lacey House is when I think people starting saying, ‘Wow, how big is that?’”
Construction is expected to finish up by the end of 2013 or early 2014, Rosenshein said.
Got a question about something in Charlestown? Submit your query in the comments section below or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.