A developer has filed plans with the BRA to convert the top three floors of the eight-story 1919 New England Telephone switching station at Essex Street and Harrison Avenue into 46 apartments.
Cresset Development says it has an agreement with Verizon to use the space, which the phone company no longer needs thanks to miniaturization and computerization of the switches that let people reach out and touch someone. The company has proposed calling the new units the PBX Apartments in homage to the sort of systems companies used to use to connect their phones to the telephone company.
Six of the units will be rented as "affordable," that is, something renters making up to 80% of the Boston area median income could afford. Some 18 of the units will be studios, 20 one-bedroom units, and eight two-bedroom units.
Two new windows will be installed on each of the residential floors in new masonry openings on the short, currently blank party wall facing toward Beach Street. New heating ventilation air conditioning equipment and a roof deck for residents will be installed on the existing roof.
Cresset would also build a new entry and lobby for residents and visitors.
No parking is planned for residents at the site, which will require zoning-board approval. The owner of a Lincoln Street garage has, however, pledged 14 spaces for use by residents.
The developer says the project is "extremely transit oriented," being within an easy walk of Orange Line stations and the Red Line and commuter rail at South Station.
8 Harrison Ave. small-project review application (11.3M PDF).