A Boston resident has spent the past decade battling his way through the permitting and approval process that would allow him to build his dream house on what is currently an empty lot on the flat of Beacon Hill.
But now, just after receiving the final sign-off on his plans, he's decided he doesn't want to, after all.
In 2003, Beacon Hill resident and Delta pilot George La Perle bought a piece of land at 45 Beaver Place, planning to build a two-family home on the lot, which in a previous life had housed a building used to store Metropolitan Park Commission (MDC / DCR) equipment. (This is the empty lot you see to the left as you're walking over the Arthur Fiedler Bridge toward Beacon Street from the Esplanade.)
He’s spent the ensuing decade working to get all the permits and approvals he needs before he can begin construction of his dream home. But, during that process, he's run up against strong opposition, both to the project – and to himself. In a Boston Globe Magazine article written in 2009, one of La Perle's neighbors said, "George is not known for his tact," while District City Councilor Mike Ross told him, "George, you're your own worst enemy."
At the same time, some of his neighbors and abutters to the project were themselves difficult to deal with by accounts. The community has always been deeply involved in everything that happens on the Hill and this was no different. Meetings were held, voices were raise, and multiple lawsuits were filed.
Due to the historic nature of the Beacon Hill neighborhood, there are severe restrictions on what can and cannot be built, which is why La Perle was required to meet with community groups including the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission and the Beacon Hill Civic Association, and with city boards including the Inspectional Services Deparment, the Zoning Board of Appeal, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority to discuss such issues as building height, floor-area ratios (FAR), architectural design, and shadow and parking studies.
Finally, on August 29th of this year, he received the last needed permit.
And now he's pulling out of the project.
According to the Boston Courant, after enduring all that he has, George La Perle has decided to move away without building anything, putting the land (and its approved permits) up for sale. (Final bids can be submitted by October 31st directly to Daniel C. Hill of Charlestown, La Perle's attorney.)
The price: $2,850,000, or best offer.
Would you spend ten years of your life working on a project such as this, and if you had, do you think you'd toss in the towel like he is, take your profit, and run, or would you see the construction through to completion?
Do you think the payoff was worth the effort? Did the city and neighborhood planning and development process work correctly, and effectively?
Above, an architect's rendering of what I believe to be the final, approved design, as found on the 45 Beaver Place website.
Disclosure: Yes, I'm a real estate broker but this wasn't an attempt to drum up business but rather an attempt to generate a conversation on whether this guy was gutsy or "naive" to put himself through all the trouble.