Protecting the character of Eagle Hill
At every Civic Association meeting, we are presented with proposals from developers wanting to tear down, "renovate," and upsize homes in our neighborhood. On rare occasions, these proposals seek to restore and beautify a home. More often than not, considerations of scale, aesthetics and historic character are overridden by the desire to maximize profit.
Last week, I felt physically sick when I heard of one developer's plans to tear down two cute single family cottages on Lexington Street and replace them with a 9-unit behemoth, totally out of proportion to all the other cute little cottages on the block. The homes they wanted to raze are the first two on the left in this image below:
Here's an old picture of what I believe is the same block of Lexington Street in the early 1900s:
Personally, I would love to see something like this again -- instead of tearing down and building up, it would be incredible to see these two homes restored to their original character -- not to mention adding back street trees.
It's not that I don't understand the economic side of what the developers are doing. I work in real estate. I get it. But I also know that there ARE developers out there who are doing respectful work that enhances our neighborhoods -- it IS possible. Take, for example, the Princeton Street house here:
Prior to renovation, the right side of the house looked much like the left -- with all of its historic character stripped away and/or hiding beneath vinyl siding. But the developer (in full disclosure, also my friend), Carl Paleologos, renovated in a way that brought the home back to its original beauty, much improving not only the house itself, but the character of the block.
This is the type of renovation we should insist on in our neighborhood, before all that makes it unique is obliterated.