The New Year opened with a bang on Upton Street, as the back fire escape and brick wall of 23 Upton St. collapsed into the alleyway below – a building that has been recently purchased for renovation, but had been a source of neighborhood complaints prior to that for years.
Boston ISD reported that the collapse took place around 10 p.m. at the vacant property, and no one had been injured. That said, neighbors in the surrounding building had to be evacuated.
“ISD issued violations ordering the property owners to immediately retain a Massachusetts registered structural engineer to evaluate and provide written reports, as well as to secure permits to make the property and the adjacent property safe,” read a statement from ISD. “Representatives from Inspectional Services met with the building owner Jan. 2 to discuss next steps, and issued a permit for emergency repairs to make the property safe, to make emergency repairs and to provide emergency egress for 25 Upton St. ISD will continue to monitor compliance.”
Navem Partners purchased the building and recently started making improvements. They were on the agenda of the South End Landmarks meeting for this past Tuesday, Jan. 7, for a roof-deck review.
Patrick Dooling, of Navem and a South End resident, said the company had been waiting final permit approvals to start complete renovations of the building – which had been vacant and dilapidated for years before Navem purchased it.
He said they are working hard to clean and shore up the collapse, but plan to move forward with the project.
“We’re grateful for the quick actions of our first responders to secure the site (the night of Jan. 1), and are working now with Boston ISD, along with our full team of architects, engineers, and general contractor, to quickly remediate the scene,” he said. “The remediation work is already in process. Most importantly, we’re working to ensure the safety of our neighbors.
“At this time we do not anticipate any changes to our development plans, and will move forward with the project as soon as the primary safety and repair issues are taken care of,” he continued.
Work crews worked through the night late last week, and over the weekend, carpenters were to move in to shore up the outside of the building.