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At 124 Chestnut Street, Buyer Be-really-ware

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A reader wrote in about the controversy surrounding 124 Chestnut Street, where developer Dean Stratouly is renovating the three-story English Revival townhouse he bought over the winter for $2,335,000. The renovation, which involves basically demolishing the current 148-year-old property, has elicited emotional reactions in Beacon Hill, a neighborhood obviously and understandably wedded to history. Stratouly, then, has faced an uphill climb. Still.

The reader writes:

I looked at this property when it was on the market. It was very clear that it needed major structural rework and I'm not a developer or in the RE business. The owner who bought it was well aware of what he was getting into and I highly doubt the building actually needs to be torn down. He first tried to get a garage put in the first floor and was quickly denied, as he should have been because there are no garages on that side of Chestnut Street (therefore no precedence). After that was denied, he got pissy and worked around the system to get ISD to deem it a tear down. Nice play, but I think he has a long way to go to get anything approved other than what was exactly there before. Be careful what you ask for. The bottom line is everyone knows when you buy a residence in Beacon Hill, you are very limited as to what you can do to the exterior of the building. It has been this way a long time, and if you don't like the rules, you have two options: buy in another neighborhood, or get on the board and work to change some of the rules. He got a good deal on the property, and it didn't have to be this difficult for him if he would have just played by the rules.

Your thoughts?
· Can Old Beacon Hill Buildings Ever Be Really Renovated? [Curbed Boston]