By Seth Daniel
After nearly five years of conflict and several different designs, it appears that the office building an parking garage at 40 Warren St. will get a facelift and and third story.
Developer Dennis Morgan said that after a well-attended community meeting Thursday night, Feb. 23, it appears that the new plan is well received and the neighborhood approved.
There were reportedly 28 in favor of the new plan and one against. One of those now in favor of the project, City officials said, was the founder of Flynn Insurance – which has been in a battle for some time over the change in the urban renewal plan that allows for the project.
“We’ve come down substantially over the last five years,” Morgan said. “We’ve gone from (adding) three floors to two floors to one floor. We’ve gone from residential to purely commercial. It’s a very reasonable proposal. It allows us to maintain one of the more critical pieces to the development, and that’s parking for the residential community. By putting another level on this, we can make that viable. The building will also look a lot better than it currently does. I think it was well received. There wasn’t any violent opposition.”
The current plan keeps the first floor as parking, maintains the second floor as office space, and adds a third floor of office space. Additionally, by eliminating some parking, the plan is to add 3,500 sq. ft. retail to the ground floor to activate a block that is a bit barren.
“We don’t have any definite plans of the retail but we do know we don’t want it to be a restaurant; we don’t want a kitchen or food in there,” he said.
He anticipated it could be a professional use like a doctor’s office, or even a business use like a florist.
Allyson Quinn of the Boston Planning and Development Agency said the process will include a minor modification approval to the Urban Renewal District and an amendment to the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for the property. Those two things would have to go before the BPDA Board and the Zoning Commission before the project can move ahead.
It was uncertain, she said, if the Minor Modification would have to go before the City Council. Under the new Urban Renewal extension approved last year, some Minor Modifications have to go before the Council for an informational hearing.
“It’s been a long process and it looks like we’re going forward,” said Morgan. “Over time brought it down to one floor and judging from the approval of people last Thursday night, they felt we had come more than halfway.”