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Owner of 5-story residential building across from the MFA wants to turn it into a 19-story residential building

The owner of 409 Huntington Ave. says it will soon file plans with the BPDA to add 14 new floors to the shell of the current apartment building - and pledges to hire Franklin Institute students to work on the project.

In a letter of intent yesterday, Tremont Asset Management, which has owned the building for 50 years, says its project will mean 153 total residential units within an exterior that features "an artful and intentional step back, preserving the original and historic character at the site" not to mention a rooftop patio and pool.

The company says it would upgrade the "underdeveloped pocket park" that now separates the building from the MFA.

The proposal will include 40 parking spaces in one-level underground garage.

409 Huntington Ave. filings and calendar.

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I, for one, hope this project goes nowhere. The current building is a 100+ year old 5 story brick building that's technically in the Symphony neighborhood. If this gets approved, the dominoes will begin to fall and it won't be long until every apartment building on Huntington Ave between MFA & Mass Ave will want to demolish their brick ~5 story buildings for 19 story glass replacements.

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If you read the letter of intent, you'll see that this is a facadectomy, which is to say an interior rehab of the existing structure, with additional floors built above. The line about the artful step back that Adam quotes regards the 14 floor addition, which will appear to rise from inside the old building. The street wall will retain the current structure and for all intents and purposes look the same.

This is exactly how to add housing without changing the character of the existing architecture. Build it!

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Sean and Henry both have valid points.

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Fundamentally, tearing down 5 story building and putting up a 19 story building is a net good for the city.

The more housing the better.

If you want them to be brick instead of glass that is a debate worth having, but we need the housing units.

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Let's not pretend that "old" (in this case, 100 years old) means historic. These are not the same things.

We have more than enough "preserved" architecture in the city that is old; indeed, entire districts.

People who simply want to complain about the aesthetics of a glass building should not be permitted to inflate real estate costs for everyone in the city just because they want to pretend they live in 19th century Boston.

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"Slippery slope" arguments are lazy, and only really communicate that you don't actually have a reason to oppose this specific project. If this gets built and every other building owner along Huntington wants to follow suit, we can evaluate each proposal on its merits as part of normal business; if some of them have problems, we can oppose them then. What's the problem?

PS "Avenue of the Arts" is not a historic district. If you want to live in a neighborhood where every old brick building is protected by law, you should move to the South End.

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I lived at that dump for a year while at NU. I'm on my 11th apartment in Boston since then so I'm dump-master qualified. The entire structure should be torn to be replaced by a peace park. And the owners run out of town. I've never loathed a building so much.

Also, if that gets approved rest assured Northeastern will decide it's time to do something with the old Punter's Pub building and the dorms next to it. MFA's lawyers are going to be busy.

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Tim Logan at the Globe wrote about a possible 18 story dorm replacing Punters Pub in 2016. The owners of 490 Huntington Ave. are offering 19 stories. They must have been paying attention.


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