Talk starts of rehabbing Swift Hat house

Initial discussions between developer Mike Roberts and the Master Plan Implementation Committee about constructing nine condominiums and a replica of the shop where beaver hats were made many years ago are underway. The house is near the intersection of Adams and Wharf streets in Milton Village.

(Photo by Elaine Cushman Carroll)

A plan to turn the site of the historic Swift Hat Shop into a new building that will include nine condominium units and include a replica of the shop was recently presented to town planners.

Developer Mike Roberts, who owns the property at 98 to 102 Adams St., presented plans for the condominiums on four and a half floors, plus a basement parking level for nine cars.

Roberts told members of the Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC) on Dec. 10, “This is a unique property and ought to be treated as a unique property.”

He said the property is zoned commercial, but has historically contained a mix of residential and commercial uses. It is small with 3,800 square feet and has no residential abutters, and the scale of the abutter on Adams Street, the building owned by Verizon, is massive.

Roberts’s proposal may be part of the Planning Board’s discussion about whether to bring a major rezoning proposal for the surrounding area of Milton Village to Town Meeting in May.

Under his proposal, the two-family home at 101 and 102 Adams St. would be demolished and the shop known as the “red house” would be reconstructed as a cafe and small jazz venue.

The preliminary plans presented by Roberts and architect Stephen Chung would likely require approval from the Board of Appeals or could be enabled if the proposed Milton Village zoning was amended.

Roberts said that little is left of the original attributes of the building that Capt. John Swift constructed in about 1790 as a shop to house his occupation of making and selling beaver hats.

In order to preserve its historic significance at the corner of Adams and Wharf streets, the building would be rebuilt in the same style and open as a commercial space, Roberts said.

Roberts, who lives in the two-family home, said he hopes to continue to live there in one of the condominiums.

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