The Haddon Hall controversy came to a quiet conclusion at the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) Tuesday morning, June 12, with former opponents speaking in favor of the new configuration.
The revised residential plan faced no opposition, instead garnering several supporters.
“Our neighborhood association is very pleased that 29 Commonwealth Ave. (Hadden Hall) will be converted to residential use,” said Susan Prindle, of Neighborhood Association of Back Bay (NABB). “We’ve come to this point because hundreds of neighbors expressed concerned in writing and in person about how this building was to be used, but because the developer was willing to hear those concerns, we congratulate her and them on what we believe will be a positive outcome for everyone.”
Last September, local philanthropist Sandy Edgerley had hopes to turn the Haddon Hall on Commonwealth Avenue into a private social club. The plans were dropped this past January after pushbacks from Back Bay residents and the Neighborhood Association of Back Bay (NABB), and now there’s new plan.
Hexagon Properties, a residential development company ran by Edgerley, proposed a plan to turn the currently existing office space into a multifamily residential dwelling. The Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) reviewed and approved the plan on Tuesday, June 12, at the Albert L. O’Neil Hearing Room.
The new plan includes nine residential units with nine parking spaces within an automated basement parking system. Featuring mostly three-bedroom, family-size rooms, the building will contain a 4,000 square-foot unit, seven 3,000 square-foot units and a single four-bed, 6,000 square-foot unit. There will also be a roof terrace privately accessible only to the top unit of the building.
Some of the board’s questions regarded the parking system. “My concern is: How do you get the ninth car out?” ZBA member Anthony Pisani asked.
The basement parking will operate as an automatic system where the driver parks the car into a “cabin,” exits the car and enters a code into the machine, which will then drop the car down to the basement on a scissor lift, architect Guy Grassi explained.
Due to the uniqueness and the current use of the building, the automated parking system is the only way to feasibly put in nine parking spaces, said Mike Ross, who represented Hexagon Properties.
“There is actually several being proposed or being installed at this moment in the Back Bay and in Boston,” Grassi said of the automated parking system.
“It’s been around for a couple of decades but newer to this region,” said applicant Patrick Mahoney, who also noted there is currently one of these systems already installed in East Boston.
Boston Groundwater Trust Executive Director Christian Simonelli confirmed that the plan received an approval from the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC), and that the automated system will result in no additional excavation.
Edgerley’s hopes for a social club isn’t quite over yet, however, as she is in the process of purchasing the Algonquin Club, 217 Commonwealth Ave., to restore the property for that purpose, Ross said.