Zoning and Licensing Not to Oppose Plan for Charles St. Inn Site Having Rental Units

August 14, 2012
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The Charles Street Inn at 94 Charles St.

The sale of The Charles Street Inn moved one step closer to reality Wednesday when the Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) Zoning and Licensing Committee voted not to oppose granting the zoning relief necessary for the prospective buyers to convert the hotel into short-term rental units.

Brent Berc and Will Avanessian, principals of the Boston Real Estate Collaborative, which owns and manages apartments in the Back Bay, South End and Mission Hill, are seeking variances from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) that would allow a change in usage from commercial to residential space.  If approved, this would enable the applicants to convert the building at 94 Charles St. into four studios, four one-bedrooms and one duplex, adding a new kitchen to each unit, Berc said.

The furnished units would typically rent for terms of three to 12 months at a cost of between $2,700 and $4,000 a month for studio and one-bedrooms and $4,500 to $5,000 for the duplex. With such high rental costs, Berc said he expects the units would appeal to the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and hospital community as opposed to students.

“Students weren’t in the price points for this [concept] and frankly, we don’t get many inquiries from them,” Berc said.

Trash management was the most prevalent concern among committee members and neighbors, but Berc assured them that it would be handled properly.

“Our intention is to use residential city trash services,” Berc said. “We have a good idea of the amount of trash that gets generated during a usual stay, and it’s not the same as typical residential trash.”

Louise Venden, co-owner of The Charles Street Inn, said the city’s trash pickup would be increased from once to three times a week, if the proposed change in usage were permitted.

“If residential trash is an issue, we know there’s a commercial trash option that works really well,” Berc added.

Berc and Avanessian said no hearing date had been set with the ZBA to review their requests for zoning relief.

The Zoning and Licensing Committee voted not to oppose the requested variances with the proviso that the applicants enter into an agreement with the Civic Association to address community concerns, specifically trash management.

Meanwhile, the Zoning and Licensing Committee voted not to oppose grant the zoning relief necessary for the homeowners of 12 Irving St. to construct a 9-by-11 foot deck on the ground floor in the rear courtyard, as well as add 223 square-feet of livable space in the basement to potentially accommodate a home office or media room.

The committee’s decision came with the provision that the applicants enter into an agreement concerning usage and central aspects of the proposed deck.

The applicants said they haven’t set a date with the ZBA to review their request yet.

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