Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kittredge House Update


It's been awhile since we reported on the status of HBI’s  progress toward rehabilitating the 1836 Alvah Kittredge House, so an update is in order.  From the outside of the building it might appear that nothing is happening, but solid progress in the quiet phase of predevelopment is being made. 

Over the last several months, HBI has worked closely with Amory Architects to design five new apartments that combine the elegance of the original Greek Revival design with modern amenities.  We are very excited by the plans and are eager to begin construction.  However, cost estimates for the work are sobering.  What began as a project that had a manageable financing gap, has turned into a considerably more expensive project that will require a lot of fundraising by Historic Boston to preserve.

The house’s deteriorated state from years of weather exposure and neglect is considerably more significant than originally understood.  The monumental columns that still exist will all need significant restoration work, and two columns are missing entirely so will need to be recreated to match the originals.  This work alone is expected to cost well over $100,000.  There are no mechanical, electrical or plumbing systems in the building, and the floors and plaster are damaged beyond repair, so will require replacement.  Lead paint covers the surfaces of the historic woodwork, so will need to be removed.  And this week we have begun to abate the building of asbestos materials.

But there is also good news to report.  Last week Historic Boston appeared before the Zoning Board of Appeals to request a few variances, which happily were granted, thanks in large part to the support of our Fort Hill neighbors.  Two of the requested variances were minor and technical in nature, but we also sought relief from the requirement that we provide on-site parking. Unfortunately, our site is not large enough to accommodate four parking spaces, and neighbors indicated a preference for the yard to remain green space.  We were also recently granted building code relief from the State Board of Building Regulations and Standards, which will allow us to retain important historic features in the building that do not meet our current building codes.  Next month we will present our plans to the Boston Landmarks Commission for review and hopefully, approval:  all important permitting steps that get us closer to a construction start.

Just last week the Massachusetts Historical Commission awarded $300,000 in State Historic Tax Credits to the Kittredge House.  This is the second allocation of credits, now totaling $600,000.  We hope to obtain $800,000 in total and will be applying again in future rounds.  We are very grateful to Secretary of State William Galvin and the Massachusetts HistoricalCommission for their confidence in HBI and the Kittredge House project.

While we continue moving toward a planned winter construction start, HBI continues fundraising efforts for this and other projects with the recently announced Trilogy Fund, a $1 million fund co-chaired by Mayor Menino and developer Ronald M. Druker, that will help close the gap on Kittredge and two other projects in Boston’s neighborhoods.   Please consider a donation and visit www.historicboston.org to make your contribution, or call us at 617 442 1859. Please stay tuned for more information and updates on the Alvah Kittredge House.  

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