South End Concord Baptist Church Update

Back in late January, we reported that the Concord Baptist Church in the South End would be converted into condos (see Concord Baptist Church to be South End Condos). A South End Landmarks Commission meeting took place on February 5, 2008 to review plans for the condos by developer Peter Zagorianakos. Below are the meeting minutes.

Peter Zagorianakos presented conceptual drawings of his plans for developing the church. Parking in basement, accessed either through alley or by curb cut on Warren where present door on east end of Warren Ave façade. Peter contended that there exists an 8 foot easement to church from back alley. This was strenuously disputed by the Pelletiers. Further, Jeanne Pelletier referred to the need to protect the 150 year old oak that grows on the side of the alley. Peter also claimed that the church has a 2 foot easement along the rear of the properties located at 174-182 West Canton.

Then, 4 levels of condominiums, yielding 16 units in all. First floor would use present window line on Warren Ave, wrapped around to façade facing West Canton. Second floor would have high ceilings, utilizing next level of existing windows, wrapped around as first level. The third and fourth levels would be under the cupola, whose height would not be raised. Substantial fenestration in the present roof line was shown, on the third and fourth levels. Windows would be placed in the arches facing West Canton.

Peter contends that the repairs done in 1975 where done badly and that the north and south walls (facing Warren Ave and facing Tremont) are in danger of immediate collapse. Jeanne disputed this, stating that the engineer has a high reputation for historical renovation, which was collaborated by a Commission member.

Views of the Commission members included the notion that this building is of the highest historic value possible and that any changes to the exterior would be done only as a last resort. This was supported by Jeanne’s documentation that the building influenced Frank Lloyd Wright. She also pointed out that the architect consciously protected the privacy of the back yards on the West Canton side by significantly reducing the windows on that side. This seemed to resonate to several Commission members.

The Commission chair asked the community to consider what other usages might be made of the building, if residential usage was not acceptable. And he asked if the community could raise the funds to prevent collapse.

Letters were read by Steve Wolfe and Paul Schmid. Susan Park spoke forcefully about the need for preservation.

The discussion started an hour behind schedule and took an hour. Next step for Peter is to come back with plans to address the issues raised.

It will be interesting to follow this South End condo development as it moves through approval and permitting process, there’s a long way to go at this point.



  1. John Keith says:

    I attended that meeting. Pretty much, it seemed as if I was the only one who thought the developer should be given a little leeway with his design. Everyone else seemed to say, “No changes” or “No build”.

    It’s not practical to leave the building, as is. If the developer isn’t able to make some changes, it won’t work. The alternative is to leave it empty. The church will relocate, it will fall in disrepair, etc., etc., etc.

    But, as is often the case with Boston residents, it’s better to complain and settle for inaction, rather than make hard decisions and take action.

    It seems as though the developer’s initial plans call for retaining the vast majority of the exterior design. A row of windows would be added, because he wants to add a floor, and also because he needs to stabilize the building.

    It’s practically impossible to convert a church to condos. Kudos for the developer for trying.

    I was disappointed by my neighbors. I have never seen any of them at any of the Landmarks meetings I’ve attended over the past seven months.

    They came in talking about how they were “long-time members” of the community. Many of them said they were part of the South End Historical Society.

    Yet, if they really cared about their neighborhood, wouldn’t they be at every Landmarks meeting?

    No, they only came to the one that affected them, personally.

    Typical behavior.

    And, disappointing.

  2. I wanted to attend this meeting but was out of town. The commission did its job by by requesting that alternative options for the structure be considered. Are we so in need of condominium units that a one month delay will hurt the market? Looking around this blog I would say no. There are plenty of options available to buyers in the South End. This is a unique and beautiful historic building. It’s worth taking the extra time to determine what’s best for the property and the neighborhood.

    I also don’t believe that one needs to prove that they care for the neighborhood by showing up at every meeting.

  3. duediligence says:

    Is there proof that the Concord Church did sell and is going to be turned into condos or is it just speculative?