Duffy Building Site Has Plans for Traditional Row Houses, Modern Apartment Building

The soon-to-be new owners of the large Duffy building site on Main Street and Rutherford Avenue hope to have plans in place to knit together the new and old Charlestown within their new development – and will also under any circumstance make room for a new EMS ambulance facility.

Ed Champy, principal of Waypoint Development, said they have an agreement on the property and are getting close to closing with the Duffy family on the land. The building has been demolished and a small clean-up is being undertaken before the papers pass.

However, plans are already going strong for the experienced development company that hopes to build a little bit of the old Charlestown, a large chunk of new Charlestown, and solve the ambulance problem at the same time.

“They are doing their final work there and we’re eager to close because we want to get going,” said Champy. “We’re excited about the project. From a big picture perspective, the area fronting Main Street would definitely be brick rowhouses so it has the appearance of what you see in that area of Charlestown. They’ll have mansard roofs and bays. We’ll be paying homage to the rest of Charlestown with that piece. From that perspective, they’ll have the appearance of being 110 years old. On Rutherford Avenue it’s more of an urban design and apartment style. If you tried to do something traditional there it would be odd. You’re not going to put someone’s front steps on Rutherford Avenue.”

Champy said they have a clear design for the townhouses, which would number about eight units. They would be four-story townhouses, with two units in each. The more modern building is less developed, but one thing that is for certain is that they will accommodate a two-bay ambulance/EMS station within that development.

Champy said elected officials and community members approached him when his development plans began to form about the ambulance station. The ambulance station now is nothing more than a crude hut parked alongside the Duffy property on City land. The Town has been clamoring for a more substantial station for years, and there have long been threats that the City might take the station away from Charlestown, leaving the neighborhood isolated and cut off from emergency services.

Champy said his team took on the task fully. The architects visited several stations within the city to get an idea of what they could do, and they also talked with EMS about the requirements. All of that has been folded in to the new development.

“We know that the ambulance has to stay because you can’t have Charlestown inaccessible by EMS,” he said. “We’re one of the only parcels big enough to house the station. The ambulance will always have a spot and we’ll have enough land to have it no matter what happens.”

Still up in the air is whether or not the City land, owned by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), will be brought into the fold. The entire Duffy space is more than 30,000 sq. ft., but the BPDA land – which houses the ambulance hut – is about 1,000 sq. ft.

Were the City to agree to sell the land to Champy, he said they would likely round out the block on Main Street with the brick rowhouses, and include a bit of retail in the mix as well – likely some sort of convenience store. That will allow them to make the development more uniform and to move the ambulance into the new apartment building.

Waypoint has been developing in the city for more than 20 years, and their general contracting arm just recently completed the construction on the new Polk Street apartment building.

Champy said they hope that they can begin construction on Main Street next spring if all goes well.

“In a perfect world, we’re starting construction on the rowhouses in the spring,” he said.

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