Plan for Adams Street condos on hold pending historic review

A proposal to build a four-story condo complex at 1173 Adams St. in Lower Mills is on hold temporarily as city officials review the historic significance of the building now on the site. Some 50 people were on hand in St. Gregory’s gymnasium on Tuesday night to listen as representatives from Spalding Tougias Architects updated the Lower Mills Civic Association about the project.

The existing building, now home to a barber shop, is owned by the Keohane Company, which hopes to demolish the structure and erect a building that will house eight condo units. The company’s plan won approval from the civic group last year, but is subject to additional review because the existing site may have been home to a 19th century farmhouse, according to research from the Massachusetts Historic Commission.

A city ordinance requires an applicant to provide an alternative to demolition in such a case – and to provide an opportunity for public comment through the Landmarks Commission.

An alternate plan shown to neighbors on Tuesday would preserve the existing building and put the condominiums on top, resulting in a five-story structure. But project proponents hope to be able to argue that the existing site is not historically significant.

Little is known about what stood on the lot originally. Over the years, there have been extensive renovations and additions to the interior and exterior of the building.

“From an architectural point of view, the building has been altered beyond historical recognition,” said project manager Cheryl Tougias, who works for Spalding Tougias Architects.

The Landmarks Commission will discuss the matter at a hearing set for next Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. on the 9th floor of City Hall in the BPDA conference room.