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Can Old Beacon Hill Buildings Ever Be Really Renovated?

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The 148-year-old property at 124 Chestnut Street in Beacon Hill presumably took a lot of crap in its former life as a stable. It's been a townhouse since the 1920s, and it's taking a lot of crap again.

In a fantastic tale for The Globe, Meghan E. Irons introduces us to Dean and Mary Jo Stratouly, a couple who are trying to renovate the townhouse they bought in the winter for $2,335,000. The couple seeks to tear down the three-story English Revival (is, in fact, doing so, thanks to city O.K.'s), citing not only their desire to renovate their new home but the property's state of disrepair.

Preservationists in the area are having none of it, rightfully and righteously citing the fact that "there has never been a demolition of a significant building in Beacon Hill in decades — in at least 35 years." Unfortunately for them, the city has already ruled on the Stratoulys' renovation request and the demolition is proceeding on safety grounds (i.e., 124 Chestnut is in a state of disrepair).

The couple, for their part, say they plan to create a new townhouse in the mold of the previous one. Meanwhile, Dean Stratouly, a real estate developer by day, raises an interesting point about all the preservation for preservation's sake in neighborhoods like Beacon Hill: "What's upsetting to me is that there are buildings that are going to be confronted with the same situations, and it's not just in Beacon Hill — it's the Back Bay, it's the South End. These buildings require a lot of attention and they are not getting it."
· Website: 124 Chestnut Street [Dean Stratouly]
· Plan to Tear Down Beacon Hill House Riles Residents [Globe]