YMCA to demo another part of building, erect gym

March 28, 2012
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The YMCA officials plan to demolish a corner of the historic building at 316 Huntington Ave. and build a slightly bigger addition as part of extensive renovations in a separate but related project to the Northeastern University (NU) Grandmarc dorm project.

This is a different undertaking from the demolition of the gym building that faces St. Botolph Street as part of the Grandmarc project. That project has been discussed in over a year’s worth of public meetings. The YMCA never mentioned other demolistion plans in these meetings, though itdid say updates to the facilities would happen.

A Letter of Intent (LOI) was filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) this week, outlining the project. The YMCA would demolish approximately 22,300 square feet on the northeastern corner of the historic building, an area that houses “an outdated pool and antiquated squash courts,” according to the letter.

The YMCA would then build a 23,000-square-foot, three-story addition that would house a handicapped-accessible and family-friendly “aquatics center,” as well as a new gymnasium and new handball/racquetball courts.

The remainder of the YMCA would also undergo a complete interior renovation as part of this project.

A public meeting will be required as part of the Article 80 BRA process, but that has not yet been scheduled.

The LOI also states that the Boston Landmarks Commission has already ruled that this project is not subject to demolition delay. The project is currently under review by the Massachusetts Historical Commission as well as the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

The GrandMarc at Northeastern project, located at 316 Huntington Ave., would allow NU to keep its promise to Mission Hill residents of 600 more on-campus beds.

Under the proposed plan, developer PPC Land Ventures, Inc. would purchase and demolish the YMCA’s gym, then build a 17-story dorm tower in its place. PPC would then lease the dorm to NU long-term.

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