In a vote of 5-2, the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) supported the variances necessary to renovate the building at 133 Salem St., including converting a third floor headhouse into a penthouse. David Crocini, under contract to purchase the property, presented his case this week to renovate the now vacant property formerly used by Sheldon’s Bargain Outlet. The legal occupancy will change from “retail” to “retail and four residential units.”
Represented by Attorney Daniel Toscano, the applicant showed plans for a total property height of just under 50 feet. The retail component will be downsized to 980 square feet on the first floor and will not be set up for a restaurant, according to Crocini who will reside on the upper floor with his family. There will be 2 decks, one in the front on the 3rd floor and another in the back on the 2nd floor.
The building was originally constructed in 1868 and remodeled in 1916. For a period, it was also used as a firehouse. The Crocini’s have filed for landmark designation and intend to restore the property in accordance with its historical significance.
Opposition to the top floor expansion was voiced by Rita Moran, an abutter that owns and operates the Galleria 33 adjacent building. Moran voiced concerned about less open space and sun to her windows, including one that would be blocked by the renovation. “It goes from having air to having a wall,” according to the abutter. At the same time, Moran was complementary of Mr. Crocini and the rest of his overall plan.
Council members also debated the issue of supporting a variance when the owner does not yet own the property. The property sale will be valued at $1.3 million.
With NEWNC President Stephen Passacantilli chairing the meeting, council member David Marx moved to support the proposal and Anne Devlin-Tagliaferro seconded the motion. Also voting in favor were Jorge Mendoza, Donna Freni and Giancarlo Tiberi with “no” votes by Mario Alfano and Jon Sproul. In a final vote of 5-2, NEWNC will support the variance.
More information on NEWNC can be found at www.NEWNCBoston.org. The October NEWNC meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 12th (see the Calendar). This is a change from the usual 2nd Monday of the month, in observance of the Columbus Day holiday.