The Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) voted not to impose a demolition delay on the buildings at 1 and 4 Terrace Place at its hearing on July 26.
During the determination of significance for the buildings as part of the demo delay process, BLC Director Rosanne Foley said that BLC staff has determined the buildings to be significant under several criteria in the zoning code, association with one or more historical events, and the “loss of the buildings would have a significant negative impact on the historical or architectural integrity or urban design character of the neighborhood,” she said.
Formerly called Parker Place, Terrace Place was created in 1855 as an extension of Alleghany St.
Attorney Mike Ross said that “we’re basically going to make the point…that the criteria is not reached to get to demolition delay, mainly because there are other representative structures in the immediate area that are from this era that are in fuller condition.”
He said that currently, 4 Terrace Place is a “partial building,” and for 1 Terrace Place, there is “reason to believe that it was replaced.”
The architect said that the “basic structure” of 1 Terrace Place is currently intact and has been clad in wood. The interior has been upgraded, and the original window trim remains but the original windows have been replaced.
He said that 4 Terrace Place “at one time would have been quite a handsome structure,” but has been clad with asphalt shingles and “much of the wood trim is deteriorating.” He also said that the “wood siding behind it is not in great condition.” The granite foundation of the building is “stable,” he said, but most of the interior has been renovated.
He said that on the west side of Terrace St. and in that area, buildings established in the 1900s are still there.
“These two are quite significant because they are the foot of the downhill block of Alleghany St.,” said resident Alison Pultinas. “It’s a T intersection—Alleghany and Terrace. If yui were o Parker St. and you’re looking towards the Orange Line and towards Fort Hill, this is what you’ll see: you’ll see those two houses. That’s kind of important.”
She said that 4 Terrace Place dates back to before Roxbury was annexed by the City of Boston. “I just wanted to emphasize…that the context that these are a very public view of these two buildings.”
Commissioner John Amodeo said, “I think the applicant is making an interesting argument that there are existing examples of these buildings elsewhere in the city—Jamaica Plain and other neighborhoods—but what’s important is that these buildings are here, and that shows the development history of this particular part of Boston and the absence of these residential-scale buildings will wipe out the memory of that development pattern, particularly as other houses on Alleghany and Terrace St. start to come down.”
He added, “once you start eroding the fabric, the thread comes loose. It’s hard to get it back in there.”
Pultinas also added that at prior public meetings, suggestions were made to move one or both of the buildings to the “very large publicly owned vacant lot” on Terrace St., as right now, there are no proposals for that land.
After hearing from everyone who wanted to speak, the BLC voted not to impose a demolition delay, which means that the developer can proceed with the proposal without waiting.
“We wish you good luck with your project,” BLC Chair Lynn Smiledge said.