Home Buying in 02110>Question Details

Michboston, Home Buyer in 02110

Is it easy to convert a commercial property to residential property in Boston?

Asked by Michboston, 02110 Mon May 21, 2012

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You are moving in the right direction. I would contact Attorney George Morancy for some guidance. He is one of the few attorneys I've worked with that know the BRA and ISD inside and out. You might also have plans already filed with the original unit deed, making an architect unnecessary but you never know what answer you'll get until you file. You can contact me at nadine@fallonresidential.com for George's contact info.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
Thanks for all the answers. The property is on the waterfront, the building is mostly residential. The master deed allows it to be used for either commercial or residential. There doesn't seem to be any overlays except for a groundwater overlay that has no bearing on the use of the property. The other overlay is the urban renewal overlay which also seems to not apply. So I'm trying to figure out if we need to apply for a variance or if it could be lived in as of right. Very hard to read the terms on the ISD website. Sounds like my first steps have to be getting plans from architects and then applying for a long form permit. Does that sound right? Thank you again for all your help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
It is possible but the process for building, obtaining permits, and getting variances in Boston is slow and difficult. Your best bet is to get a real estate attorney who has some good connections with people who deal with this process on a regular basis. They will be able to give you a good idea for the cost, time frame, and your chances of being successful.
Web Reference: http://mybostoncondo.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
Thank you Nadine! Very helpful.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
It depends on what zoning it is in and if there is an overlay district. If you have a property identified, I'd contact the BRA or go on their website to verify those two things. Then enlist an attorney that specializes in zoning in Boston to help you with the conversion.

If you cannot do it "as of right" you may still be able to obtain a variance. There is a process to it and an attorney can help you navigate both the BRA and ISD. It is not a clear-cut process and many property owners get tripped up in the technicalities so an attorney that specializes in zoning is paramount.

I hope this helps!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
It depends on the property and its location.
Easy? maybe not; doable? perhaps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
The property is deeded as either Commercial Or Residential. It is located on the waterfront. Looks like if the property is converted to residential, we could only file an abatement for the taxes in the month of January. So if we closed after January, we'd have to pay commercial taxes for a whole year.
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