Developers get approval for final conversion projects of what remains of a historic hotel in Mass. Ave. and Washington Street into a condominium building

The Zoning Appeal Board today unanimously approved developers’ plans to retain the shell of the former Alexandra Hotel on the Roxbury/South End line as the cladding for a new 13-storey condominium building .

According to developers Jas Bhogal and Thomas Calus’ latest proposal for the old hotel and the adjoining plot where the Ivory Beane building stood, the new structure will have 70 condos, down from the 76 previously proposed. They’ve reduced the number of “compact” units — smaller than those normally allowed by city zoning codes — from 33 to 19. The number of units they’ll sell as affordable will remain at 10.

When Bhogal and Calus purchased the long-abandoned building from the Church of Scientology in 2018, they proposed using the facade as a shell for a boutique hotel. But those plans foundered with the onset of the pandemic, and they offered condos instead.

Councilors Frank Baker, Tania Fernandes Anderson and Michael Flaherty backed the latest version of the condo plans today, as did South End Rep. Jon Santiago. Santiago said more housing was just what the area needed and the new Alexandra would be the herald of a revived Washington Street in Nubian Square.

Also supporting the proposal: Steve Fox of the South End Forum, who agreed with Santiago: “It will bring residential property opportunities to the South End, which are sorely lacking, which we desperately, desperately need.”

However, several Roxbury residents objected to the proposal, saying that as well as being an example of the South End claiming something that is truly Roxbury – which they said meant that Roxbury residents were not not included in previous discussions – the building would dominate the area. And they noted that there would be no parking. They requested that the entire project be sent back to the BPDA for a new public hearing process, as the change from hotel rooms to condos was not a minor change.

Board Chair Christine Araujo addressed the issue of the Neighborhood Line: “You should start the conversation with the BPDA and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services about what Roxbury is and what the South End and what is that middle zone,” but that’s not a question for the zoning board, she said.

Board Chair Christine Araujo said

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