In a vote of 16-15, members of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) narrowly supported new construction at 149 Salem Street, including the corner at 71 Prince Street.
Longtime North Enders and former operators of Green Cross Pharmacy, the Giangregorio family, are looking to remove the existing wooden structure that housed Prince Postale and construct a six-story, 55-feet high, mixed use building with retail on the ground floor and nine residences. The top unit would be owner-occupied by the family.
Retail use on the ground floor has not been determined but could include a shop or restaurant. The current building at 149 Salem St. / 71 Prince St. has been vacant since Prince Postale closed in June 2017.
At the NEWRA meeting, the property management company for the abutting building on Salem Street raised objections to the proposal (05:20 in video). The manager said they were not notified of the community meeting process. Proponents indicated they posted and delivered flyers to the property address. An extended discussion regarding neighbor notification ensued.
The zoning code violations include no parking, no open space (except for a private roof deck for the top unit), and no rear setback which is also true for the current conditions. After comments from previous meetings, the design was modified to reduce the impact of an 18-inch bump-out on the upper floors meant to mimic the style of some of the surrounding buildings. A trash room in the basement was also added in response to neighbor comments.
The building will be fully sprinkled and is designed with an elevator that services all floors. Floors 2-5 would each have a one-bedroom unit (520 sq. ft.) and a two-bedroom unit (767 sq. ft.). The sixth floor would be a three-bedroom unit for the owner, which will have a small roof deck only accessible from the sixth floor unit.
The renderings will have julienne balconies that open like the bay windows but without space to step out. On the Prince Street side of the newly proposed building, the new building would maintain its connected fire escapes with the building next door, where Trattoria di Monica is located.
Should permits allow, construction would start around December 2019. Once started, the project would take about 12 – 18 months. There was an abutters meeting with a high turnout. According to Maria Lanza from the Mayor’s Office, attendees asked questions about the materials and what the building will look like, but no one outright opposed the project.
The vote of support joins that of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) in favor of the new construction. Both NEWRA and NEWNC are advisory to city officials at the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) that will make the final determination.