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Old 01-28-2007, 03:42 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by The Globe
Gay-friendly retirement home awaits city's final OK to build

January 28, 2007

One of the nation's first gay-friendly retirement homes has been approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Stonewall at Audubon Circle, years in the making, will be marketed to gays and lesbians older than 55, but will be open to anyone.

The Miner Street project, which will be built at the site of a former auto body shop and a parking lot near Beacon Street, gained neighbors' approval after being scaled down. Zoning laws for the historic neighborhood limit height to 45 feet; the developers, Stonewall Communities and Abbot Real Estate Development, originally proposed a building that would have reached 98 feet (nine stories) in one section. After City Councilor Michael Ross brokered a meeting between neighbors and developers, the height was reduced to 75 feet (seven stories), and the number of units from 66 to 53.

Unlike much of Fenway, Audubon Circle is full of condo owners who saw the original proposal as "way out of scale," said Jack Creighton , president of the Audubon Circle Neighborhood Association. "People purchased their homes knowing that they would have a view and light coming in. That would've put them in the bottom of a canyon." A taller building "would have set a precedent" for builders eyeing other neighborhood parcels, he said.

The Stonewall residents' sexual preference was irrelevant, he said, adding, "This was a development project like any other, and we wanted it to fit in like any other." The city's Zoning Board of Appeal must also approve the development, which Creighton said is expected to be given the neighborhood's approval.

Joy Malchodi , former head coach of the Northeastern University women's basketball team, paid a deposit for a condo several years ago. She said she "never had a doubt the project would get done," but saw the BRA's approval as "progress. It's great."

"I have friends in New York and all over the country who are interested," she said. "We baby boomers have to make a decision where to live as we get older, and we want to be surrounded by culture and liberal, accepting people."

? Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.
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