Chelsea’s oldest home will not be turned into the city’s newest megamansion, at least for now. On Tuesday afternoon, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission sent the proposal back to the drawing board. They told the architect, who was present at the meeting, that there wasn’t enough of the original structure retained in the new design, and that they wanted to see more than just the front facade being maintained.
This is the second time the LPC has asked the architect to revise plans on the building following a previous hearing in April. The Commission had previously asked the architect to reduce the height of the new structure, and amend the rear yard addition. The developer did make some of those changes with this recent design, but again questions were raised about the preservation of the existing structure, a 4,700-square foot Federal-style mansion built in 1830.
Though the project received four letters of support from neighbors, other residents and neighbors were opposed as were a host of elected officials, and the local community board. The architect pointed out that they hadn’t seen this latest proposal when they sent those letters, to which LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan responded by saying that interested community members had the opportunity to view the materials [PDF!] on the LPC’s website.
For the most part, the LPC was concerned that except for the front facade, the entire house was essentially being demolished to create this new mansion. They asked the architect to consider retaining part of the existing roof and some of the rear walls as well when they next come to present the project.