BHAC Approves Temple St Project

By Dan Murphy

The Beacon Hill Architectural Commission (BHAC) unanimously green-lit the biggest residential redevelopment project in the neighborhood’s history on Thursday, with some stipulations.

Dedham-based JDMD Owner, LLC, plans to reconvert the Hiriaam J. Archer and Frank J. Donahue buildings at Temple and Derne streets into a 75-unit condominium complex, with rooftop additions including penthouse units, as well as 60 on-site, below-grade parking spaces. Both buildings were previously owned and occupied by Suffolk University.

The latest plans include a 35-percent reduction of the Archer Building’s window openings, bringing the total number of entries from 57 to 44; a “tight-skin” reconstruction of the Donahue building’s exterior using brick and granite; and the reconfiguration of an expanded, “set-back” entrance to the Donahue Building on Derne Street that would direct access to some units, among other modifications.

A multi-use passageway, approximately 20 feet in diameter, would also be constructed of granite-pavers and wire-cut bricks between Temple Street and Ridgeway Lane, according to the plan.

Provisos include the development team considering minimizing the profile of the penthouse on the Archer building “as much as possible”; altering the materials and sizes of windows in both buildings; and expanding and reconfiguring the entrance to the Donahue building, among other suggestions from the commission.

Ridgeway Lane resident George Gilpatrick said he and his neighbors unanimously supported the latest plan. “We want to fill the building with people who love the building, and will invest in the neighborhood,” Gilpatrick added

Likewise, Charles Street resident Paul Richards voiced his support for the project, saying: “Beacon Hill is bigger than a couple of streets or city block. This is a unique opportunity to create residential units where there are none, and it’s a very common-sensible reuse of a building that’s empty now.”

Mark Kiefer, chair of Civic Association’s board of directors, also supported the newest plan, but recommended that the commission go on record to its unique circumstances, so as not to set a bad precedent for the neighborhood.

The revised plans will be unveiled at a future public hearing, commissioners said.

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