Work again underway at NE Brake building

Developer Steven Turner has not returned phone calls from the Reporter and at least one local civic association this week, but he has begun minimal work on a local landmark, the NE Brake building at Mass Ave. and East Cottage Street in Edward Everett Square.

Just what his plans for the structure are is a well-guarded mystery that some wish the community was privy to. It has lain vacant for years after a furniture shop owner stopped construction mid-stride, leaving steel girders exposed above the original structure.

In August of 2008, Turner pulled his first building permit to bore three to six groundwater wells for an "environmental phase II study." That was one month before he bought the place for $1.95 million. Then in November he applied to remove 100 square feet of "lower roof" somewhere in the building. This month, he acquired a permit to repair the existing storefront windows and frames and that work is already visible on the façade.

In each case, he declared that he would do the work himself on his worker's compensation insurance affidavits, which accompany any building permit, and totaled all the work at around $4,000.

Joan Tighe of the Elder Eastman Civic Association said she has tried to call Turner for information twice this week but so far hasn't gotten a reply.

Past projects Turner has been financially involved in, according to the Suffolk Registry of Deeds, include a condo building built anew near 2nd and F streets in South Boston as well as the 125 B Street Lofts in same neighborhood. The latter project created 16 luxury loft-condos in a 150-year-old schoolhouse.

If condos are on Turner's mind for the NE Brake building, he would definitely need zoning relief and neighborhood support, as the NE Brake building is zoned as part of a Local Convenience District.