The Zoning Board of Appeal today approved developer Salvatore Lupoli's plans to convert the old Traffic Tunnel Administration building on North Street just off the Greenway into his new home: A 6,700-square-foot manse with five bedrooms, a gymnasium, a rec room with a pool table and a rooftop deck surrounding the building's pergola.
When MassDOT, which inherited the building - which includes a former Boston police station, decided to sell it off, Lupoli put in the winning bid, for $3.75 million. The property changed hands in 2021.
The outdoor grounds, which include an old turnpike toll booth from the western part of the state, remain MassDOT property and open to the public, Lupoli's attorney, Jeff Drago, told the board. Lupoli will have an easement to use the land to walk into and out of the building's column-covered front entrance, which overlooks the Greenway. Drago said Lupoli will not make any changes to the exterior of the building.
Lupoli needed to go before the zoning board in part because single-family homes are so rare in the North End - while he could have turned the building into apartments or condos by right, the lot's zoning requires board approval for single-family homes.
Lupoli does much of his work in the Merrimack Valley, but he told the board his new house will be a sort of homecoming for him - he was born in East Boston.
Elected officials supported the proposal, as did the neighboring North Bennet Street School, although school President Sarah Turner said she wishes the building could have remained a public building.