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Bold plan to convert South End church into condos approved

An updated rendering of proposed changes to the former Holy Trinity German Catholic Church in the South End.Finegold Alexander Architects

A developer’s plan to turn a former church in the South End into luxury condos was approved by City Hall Thursday night, clearing the way for construction of a bold architectural design.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority voted to give the go-ahead to developer New Boston Ventures, which has proposed putting an eight-story glass-and-steel boutique condominium building inside the puddingstone shell of the former Holy Trinity German Catholic Church on Shawmut Avenue.

The building at 136 Shawmut Ave., in the so-called New York Streets area, is expected to contain 33 condos; a basement garage equipped with a stacking system would fit 28 cars.


The design, by well-known firm Finegold Alexander Architects, juxtaposes old masonry and new materials, unlike many other church-to-condos conversions that seek to blend one to the other. The developer also plans to light up the church’s spire at night.

Unveiled in March, the design has raised neighbors’ eyebrows, but the project’s modest size compared to much larger developments nearby has kept the public reaction relatively muted.

The new condo building will be structurally independent of the church, which was built in 1877 and has been vacant for about five years.

The project is only the latest to get underway recently in this corner of the South End, which is close to downtown and has seen a burst of development amid the current hot real estate market. Nearby, for example, the mixed-use Ink Block and Troy projects are nearing completion.

Dan Adams can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @DanielAdams86.