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North End retail development's design rankles the neighbors

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A little too modern for the historic enclave?

Some local residents are upset over a planned retail development set to cover an entire North End block between Hanover and Salem streets. The reason? The 5,500-square-foot, four-space project fronting the Greenway is a little too... modern for a neighborhood that aged and historic buildings dominate.

"We have the Old North Church, we have Paul Revere’s house," John Pregmon, president of the North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council, told the Herald’s Donna Goodison. "This is the oldest residential community in Boston, and we feel that needs to be recognized when any development is proposed for the area."

Developer Charter Realty & Development said in a statement that it has done its best to blend 60-70 Cross Street in with the neighborhood, including through "a mixture of metal panels, storefront glazing and finished wood." The firm is also taking down a large, incongruous billboard at the current site (which the development will replace).

It doesn’t really matter either way: The developer has the necessary O.K. from the city and did not need any zoning changes for the project.

Now the focus turns to what stores go into the space. Locals don’t want chain stores. The developer is just starting to vet possibilities. Stay tuned.