Photo: The ugliest residential building in Belmont.
A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven days in the “Town of Homes.”
• 92-94 Baker St. Concrete multi-family (1971) Sold: $744,000. Listed at $699,000. Living area: 2,688 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 6 bedrooms, 2 full, 2 half baths. On the market: 42 days.
There is only one addition that could improve the esthetics of the multifamily sitting near the corner of Hittinger and Baker streets, and it comes at the end of a timing fuse.
The Baker Street two-family apartment building is Belmont’s ugliest residence. It’s a concrete block of nothingness that, unfortunately, plays into the area’s industrial vibe.
Certainly residents will say the equally deplorable condo tower in Cushing Square (built around the same time), the apartment blocks on Lexington Street or some of the Hill’s new upscale “McMansions” – we’ll get to them soon enough – are equally as awful. And I am not just speaking from a Belmont perspective: this eyesore would be inappropriate in any community, be it Belmont, Lexington, Somerville, Malden or Dorchester.
The building is so unappealing the salesperson could not find a single photograph for the sales portfolio that didn’t create an impression that the structure was anything than a wing of a prison complex. I guess the best photo is one which the evergreens shields the unsightly image from the public.
The exterior’s unlovely coldness is equalled inside with boring square blocks for rooms with a lone interesting architectural detail, a fireplace without any depth or volume. Everything is flat and dull – windows flush to the wall, doors that are more like panels – although the living and bedrooms do have wood floors. It’s a building that demonstrates an architect who never attended to spend even the most minuscule effort on this structure.
This building demonstrates the ethos of modest housing development in the 1960s and 1970s: build it cheap without regard or thought to whoever would be the resident. Blame the contractor and town officials at the time for allowing the construction of this abomination to occur.
Yet, this afterthought sold in just over a month at nearly $50,000 more than its original list price. People saw beyond the hideous nature of the structure to purchase it, so it won’t – hopefully – be demolished. And this is a good thing. It’s ugly, inappropriate and, more important, affordable. Because of its unappealing look, it will never reach the same rent or price of a similarly-sized unit in a two-family on, let’s say, Hammond Road.
Even if this building remains an apartment or is converted into condominiums by an off-site owner, these units will allow a couple or a young family to get their toes into a town that doesn’t have many reasonably-priced housing outlets for those seeking a safe place to live with a (still) good school system.
So let’s take the good with the really horrible, horrifically bad.