It seems as if it was just yesterday, but it was actually over 13 months ago.

In October, 2006, Gilchrest Associates unveiled a proposal to build an 85-foot, eight-story condominium project at 585 Commercial Street, at the corner of Commercial, Causeway and North Washington streets.

As originally proposed, it was to include 80 luxury condominiums, 140 parking spaces, a café, spa, fitness center and lap pool, and an inn. Also, a marina.

Pretty big project, yet it seemed to me to be a fine addition to the neighborhood. Right now, the land includes a parking lot and a building that used to house a Roche-Bobois store. Across the street was the “Brinks Garage” and a couple of restaurants, and a gas station being used almost exclusively as a parking lot.

Not something that would cause anyone trouble, right?

Well, it did. Neighbors were angry over it. Too high, too dense, too little parking, too expensive (stop me if you’ve heard this, before).

A year-plus has passed, and now the developer is back with new plans, according to Banker & Tradesman.

A smaller project:

As planned, it will now include a “6-story, brick-and-glass building featuring 68 one- and two-bedroom condominiums, a health club, marina, 148 parking underground parking spaces and public access to Boston Harbor.

And, continued opposition:

“The existing building makes no sense and should never have been built and common sense says that you don’t make it any bigger than it is,” [David] Kubiak said. “I don’t understand why we have not had a discussion about the full implications of zoning changes at this site. The architectural renderings are beautiful and if this were somewhere else, it might be a great project.”

My favorite quote?

“The North End does not need any more luxury condos,” said Stephanie Hogue. “What this community needs is more open space.”

Lady, you live in Boston Harbor. How much more open space do you need???

(At one point, the Mitt Romney campaign had proposed moving its headquarters there … this was back either before or shortly after plans for the condos were first unveiled … I can’t find any information on it, online. Good thing they didn’t spend the money, right? Ha, ha!)

The developer has experience building in Boston (and dealing with North End neighbors, as well). They were behind the 44 Prince Street development, which put 27 condominium homes in the densest part of the neighborhood.

They got that one built; I assume this one will (and should), as well.

Source: Scaled-Down Project Doesn’t Satisfy Everyone in North End – By Thomas Grillo, Banker & Tradesman

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