Real Estate

Hull Street Renovation Needs Zoning Relief

Peter McGinnis is seeking a variance to change the legal zoning from 5 to 8 units at 16 Hull Street. The plans were presented to the zoning committee of the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association on October 28, 2009. McGinnis purchased the building in July 2009 and will be renovating the inside, without changing the exterior facade.

View down Hull Street on the Freedom Trail along Copps Hill facing the Old North Church (Google Maps).
View down Hull Street on the Freedom Trail along Copps Hill facing the Old North Church (Google Maps).

As part of his renovation permit request, the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) denied the application because there is not enough parking for 8 cars. McGinnis is looking at mitigation for that requirement, such as renting parking spaces in nearby garages. The ZBA hearing date is tentatively scheduled for December 15, 2009.

The building will be renovated and designed for 8 rental units. Most of the existing residents will be expected to relocate. Per McGinnis noted the building has long been occupied by more than 5 units, despite the legal zoning limit. The elevated basement/first and second floor will contain 2 duplexes of 1024 and 753 square feet, respectively, with 2 bedrooms. The three upper floors will each have 2 units in the range of 465-520 square feet.

Attendees at the meeting questioned the use of the basement for residential use. The owner indicated that because the basement is 75% above grade, it is more like a first floor than a basement.

It was also noted that units under 600 square feet often attract college students. The owner responded that he intends to price the units above the typical price range for students, although the realtor in attendance indicated that discounting would be part of the rental plan. The 2 bedroom units are expected to rent for $1700-$2000.

The Committee commended Mr. McGinnis’ intent to include a central trash room for the entire building, rather than having individual residents put out their own trash individually. The building will also have a common laundry space and be 100% covered with fire sprinklers.

The total height of the building was estimated at 45 feet. The roof deck will be for the exclusive use of a penthouse owner with access through the headhouse. Mechanicals will be located in the courtyard and on the roof.

Some abutters were in attendance having received neighbor notifications from the owner. Questions were raised regarding the placement of condensers around the building.

An attendee noted that a recent article ranked Hull Street as the most desirable street on which to live in the North End.

The ZLC committee presentation is for informational purposes only. This item will be on the November 12th NEWRA monthly meeting agenda for vote and likely on the November 8th NEWNC meeting as well.