Back Bay building once planned for club for rich millennials will become condos instead

The Board of Appeals yesterday approved plans by Hexagon Properties to convert an 11-story office building on Commonwealth Avenue at Berkeley Street into nine condos.

Hexagon originally spent $30 million on the the building, constructed in 1895, to turn it into a social club aimed at millennials with disposable income, but withdrew those plans in the face of outrage from Back Bay residents. The company has instead purchased the Algonquin Club further down Comm Ave. for that purpose.

Hexagon attorney Mike Ross told the board the condos will range in size from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet. The largest unit, at the top of the building, will have exclusive access to a rooftop terrace by both stairs and a private elevator.

The company plans to install an unusual mechanical parking system in the basement for nine cars that would outdo even Mitt Romney's California parking elevator: The basement will actually have ten spaces; occupants will drive their cars into a "cabin," exit the car, punch in their access code and the cabin will go down to the basement and the car will be slid into an open space.

The Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay formally did not oppose the project. NABB's Susan Prindle, however, said members were "very pleased" that Hexagon listened to neighbors and dropped the social-club plans. She predicted the new residences will prove an asset to the neighborhood.

The mayor's office and City Councilor Josh Zakim also supported the proposal. Nobody spoke against it.



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There's barely enough space for cars but they will use this device anyways *smh* Of course, doesn't help its walkable to public transit.

I was going to make a comment about 9 units in a 11 story building being too little. But look at the street view. Looks like this *was* a residential building initially (the design says so).

Kinda like this idea. Not the parking tho.

Mucho !

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Gonna have to expensive units for 9 condos to cover the cost of buying and renovating this place.


I love how you just assume it

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I love how you just assume it's a man who is developing it. It's actually a woman. Sandra Edgerley is a woman. You may not have heard of her multiple Hexagon LLC's, but surely you must have heard of the Boston Foundation. She owns a good chunk of historic Back Bay property.

Susan Prindle

Meddling rich person Susan Prindle was very pleased that only other rich people will be living or enjoying themselves near her and her peers like Emily Rooney.

If it wasn't for the huge tax hit for the rest of the city, I'd be pretty interested in seeing the Back Bay revert back to swamp land due to ocean level rise.



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What we really should do is build another two to three stories on top of every single low-rise row house in Back Bay and Beacon Hill (South End too). There is no good reason to have such low density in the most walkable and most transit-oriented neighborhoods in the city, especially considering they're basically the heart of the city to begin with.

Of course, that will never ever happen because the NIMBY is strong with these folks.


How about rebuilding the

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How about rebuilding the carpet bombed areas of Roxbury wiped out for I695? Or upzoning Blue Hill Ave and Warren Street to replace triple deckers with 5-6 story apartment buildings? Replace all the 1 story commercial buildings on Commonwealth Ave with 5-6 story mixed use buildings too.


Building Up Is Not Viable For Every Location

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Back Bay / South End is hardly low density for starters.

Regarding expansion:
The brownstone buildings you are referring to are built on wood pilings. The only way to add on to the existing structures would be to engage in foundation replacements that may not even be possible. This combined with the location would make any added real estate, if even possible, prohibitively expensive. The reason you can build so much taller in places like Manhattan is because it's all rock, under the surface, supporting much larger buildings.

The ares of the city that lack density, and need more density, are nowhere near the center of the city. Not that Roslindale, Hyde Park, Brighton (Oak Square), or West Roxbury are affordable either, but they're closer to having reasonable prices. And building anew or expanding buildings in those areas is significantly cheaper than in the city core. There is an argument that those are not truly "transit orientated" areas, as there are few walk-able grocery stores and commuting options are poor. But the MBTA is not about to expand subway and bus routes [and change commuter rail zoning] BEFORE the population in those areas grow further. Develop first, then the MBTA will have to follow.



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F'in really? Why not BobbyOrr4 or Myle$tandish? Pick another handle.

I've met Mr. Butch. I've drank with Mr. Butch. You, sir, are no Mr. Butch.

Transit-oriented? Yeah, if

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Transit-oriented? Yeah, if you don't mind evacuating out of your train and having to walk through a tunnel to get to work like yesterday other morning at Park Street. Nothing in this City should be considered "transit-oriented" until the State actually FIXES the transit system. Hey Charlie, stop talking about it.


Nothing to do with NIMBY

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there are very strict laws that regulate what can be built in this area. It's the largest remaining Victorian neighborhood in the country. And it's also one of if not the most debsely densely populated neighborhoods in the city already. You can squeeze a lot of people in when you build even low rise units on almost every square inch of the block.

Do You Know Sue?

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Parkwayne, Back Bay would look very different if it weren't for her. There'd be no playground for kids, for example. That came from her and a group of Back Bay mothers tussling with the city for ages to get one built on a vacant lot, back in the day, probably when you were still playing on the swings if you were even born yet. She's been working for at least three decades to preserve Back Bay's historic character and keep developers and owners from turning it into a mess to make a bigger profit. The struggle continues.

We need many more "meddling rich" people like her all over this city. I doubt any of them will come from these nine new condos for billionaires, but at least they won't make the traffic in that area even worse, or drive the neighbors crazy with nightclub noise and other problems, as the club would have. Sue was part of that battle, of course. Now the same developer plans to wreck the residential character of the area around the Algonquin Club instead. Sue will try to stop that, too.

Were you at all those endless, horrible meetings about 29 Comm. Ave? Did you speak up, advocating for affordable housing instead? I don't remember you.

Are you always this ignorant and nasty? Rhetorical question.


Affordable housing?

I'd bite - where did this person fight to increase affordable housing in the Back Bay?

No, I didn't go to meetings about 29 Comm. Ave because let's be honest - that was a fight for rich people by rich people. I have attended a lot of meetings about the BPS, the MBTA, and other issues which effect those of us who aren't pals with the ignorant rich like Emily Rooney.

That's great that she got a playground built in the neighborhood with the fewest kids.


Ditto APB

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You have no idea who Sue Prindle is and what she and her late husband have done for all walks of city residents. She's a passionate advocate for affordable housing.

As for fewest kids, try stopping by that playground someday. It's always packed with kids and neighborhood activities.


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"Where did this person fight to increase affordable housing in the Back Bay?"

Only about every single time any opportunity arose in the course of considering proposals for every new high-rise or similar "luxury" development in the neighborhood for the past few decades, which inevitably end up having the affordable housing units allocated to another neighborhood. You know how it goes. But that doesn't stop her, or plenty of other people, who hope to keep Back Bay from becoming so over-gentrified so that it's only for billionaires. (It does seem to be a losing battle, but recovering the AirBnb investor apartments might help a little.)

Believe it or not, it's possible to be rich and meddling and also sensible, fair, and visionary.

That playground is packed with kids every day, by the way.

What is your problem with Emily Rooney? Did she dump you, or what? You keep bringing her up for no logical reason. I barely know who she is and I've lived here forever, so I'm curious. It seems like you're ragging on an entire neighorhood because she happens to live here. We can't help it. It's still a free country — at least for the rest of this week.

I’m just bummed...

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...that my dentist had to move out of the building. The building’s lobby is gorgeous. I’ll miss visiting.


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They keep all the other cars at the summer place.


Not everyone who can afford

Not everyone who can afford to live in such places is YOUNG.

Anyone who lives in the city rich, poor or in the middle is arguably URBAN.

Not everyone who lives in the city is PROFESSIONAL.

Also, except for you working-class-hero types, no one's really used the term "yuppie" since about 1990.

Try reading a magazine once in awhile.

It's not young people walking

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It's not young people walking out of the buildings on Comm. Ave. near the Public Garden. Yuppies, as you say, prefer the South End.