AMC Buildings Returning to Condominiums

March 24, 2017
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By Beth Treffeisen

The current home of the Appalachian Mountain Club  (AMC) headquarters on Joy Street in Beacon Hill will soon be condos.

The architect Guy Grassi, who is behind the major renovations and restoration of these three brick row houses, presented the changes at last week’s Beacon Hill Architectural Commission meeting.

Due to the numerous details to the project and the question whether additions to the back of some of the condos will be seen from a public way, the Commission decided to continue this application to next month after reviewing the application further.

“I don’t feel like it will be appropriate for us to make a decision on this tonight,” said Chair Kenneth Taylor. “There is just too much material.”

After the Appalachian Mountain Club sold the three residential condos at 3, 4 and 5 Joy St. to developers for $15 million this past September, they will be slowly transitioning to their new home at 10 City Square in Charlestown this upcoming fall.

The club originally bought the first building in Beacon Hill at 5 Joy St. in 1923 and then expanded into the two neighboring buildings in 1975.

Charlotte Thibodeau, the co-chair to the Beacon Hill Civic Architectural Committee, asked that the Commission be very thoughtful while reviewing this application.

“I’m surprised more people are not here,” said Thibodeau. “There are changes in the openings that are visible from the public way, especially the top of the ballroom that will be coming down. It quickly becomes very busy in the back from Chestnut St.”

She continued, “I just want to make sure that other people’s concerns are heard too.”

Some of the proposed work includes replacing the rear yard additions, enlarge the rear garden wall, remove elevator head house, take down one chimney, and reconstructing the front stoop that currently has a handicap entranceway back to the original style.

Other changes include masonry and window restoration, replace dormer windows, and install entry intercoms, light fixture, and a fire protection system.

The Appalachian Mountain Club logo that is in the glass transform at the front entryway will be removed and handed back to them.

“We had a meeting with about 12 of the neighbors and they were all ok with it,” said Grassi.”

Lissa Schwab the preservation planner for the City of Boston said that one abutter did reach out and expressed concerns over the additions in the back.

Grassi said that the mockup of what the new editions will look like has been up for some time and that the Commissioners are welcome to walk by and take a look.

“The pictures you see here in our presentation we jumped hoops to show it,” said Grassi. “That mock up has been in place 45 days now.”

The Commission asked that the applicants create a 3D model of the extensions so that they can better understand what they are looking at when they visit the mock up.

Commissioner Kenneth Taylor said, “We have to be careful because we have denied applications with extensions like these with ‘L’s’ attached like this only a few thousand feet away.”

The applicant will return next month to discuss this proposal.

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