A long-time Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) fraternity house in the Fenway is closing up shop this month, one of the few legacy MIT fraternities to leave the Boston side of the Charles River.
Sigma Nu Fraternity occupied the building at 28 Fenway since the 1990s and has applied for a transfer of a dormitory license to Maverick Suites LLC (a short-term apartment company). It has petitioned to change the license type from Dormitory to Lodging House, a move that will be voted on August 16 at the Non-Hearing Common Victualler Transactions hearing.
MIT was once on the Boston side of the Charles, and moved long ago to Cambridge. Many of the fraternity houses remained in Boston, and they have often been a problem as fraternity life and residential neighborhoods in Fenway and the Back Bay clash. Despite the clash in Boston, few fraternities have ever left their Boston confines.
Tim Horn of the Fenway Civic Association said that this was brought to the community in June, where there was discussion between the abutters, the Fenway Civic Association, and the City. Should this change be granted at the meeting on Thursday, the building’s use will not change. It will just remove the dormitory designation, which attaches a rooming house to an institution.
Horn said that the neighbors are not opposed to this use.
“They were disgruntled about the construction, but feel it is better than a frat dorm next door,” he said.
“We’re happy to see the fraternity go,” said Tom Bakalars, an abutter who owns half of 30 Fenway.
However, he said that Sigma Nu has been “pretty well behaved” compared to Phi Gamma Delta, or FIJI, the fraternity who occupied the building prior to Sigma Nu.
“They were generally soft-spoken, polite kids,” he said of Sigma Nu. But he said that they still didn’t take care of the lawn or the garbage in back, nor was the rat problem totally solved. Brad Beacham, Executive Director for Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc., did not respond to an email or phone call.
The property was sold on June 1 of this year to Dechomai Trust. According to the City of Boston Assessing website, Malcolm Cotton Brown Corporation is the legal owner of 28 Fenway for the 2018 assessment year, and as of July 1, 2019, it will change to Dechomai Trust.
“No one has approached us, no one has told us what it’s going to be,” Bakalars said.
He said that they never put a sign up or listed it anywhere. He said he would have tried to buy the property if he had known it was for sale.
“It’s all kind of mysterious,” he said.
The Non-Hearing Common Victualler Transactions hearing is on Thursday, August 16 at 10:00 am in room 809 at City Hall.