Developers Drop Plan to Tear Down Donald McKay’s Brother’s Home in Eagle Hill

The small, red, and white Italianate Victorian home at 88 White St. is packed with history. The home, which sits on the National Register of Historic Places, was built by Donald McKay for his brother in 1860, and is only one of two homes connected to Eastie’s famed shipbuilder.

The home remains in good shape, and has been a community treasure for more than 150 years, as is Donald McKay’s home just up the road a bit at 78-80 White St.

So it was no surprise that the Eagle Hill community almost had a collective heart attack last week when they received a notice in the mail to attend a city-sponsored abutters meeting concerning the future of the home.

The home was sold to a developer over the winter, and the developer planned to raze the historic home and replace it with a seven-unit condo building.

Eagle Hill Civic Association (EHCA) members like Debra Cave and Charlie Lograsso, with the help of Rep. Adrian Madaro sprung into action.

At last Thursday’s abutters meeting, the attorney for the developer, Jeff Drago, said after hearing from EHCA members and Rep. Madaro his client has scrapped the plan to tear down the home.

“We initially were planning on razing the building and carriage house and building seven units,” said Drago. “We heard from Rep. Madaro and EHCA members we now know it is a historic building so we threw the original plan away. The plan now will be to preserve the existing structure and historically renovate the home and look at ways that we might be able to add an addition to the back of the home.”

Rep. Madaro said as soon as he called Drago to alert him to the home’s historical significance in Eagle Hill, Drago scrapped the project.

“As soon as I called him he said he would work with the community and EHCA to come up with a proposal that saves and renovates the home and works for the community.”

Drago said his client will work on updating plans and presenting an initial proposal to EHCA members and abutters in the near future.

However, Cave, who serves as president of EHCA said she hopes that the developer can consider a project that does not try and maximize profits.

“This home is really a treasure to this community,” said Cave. “It is only one of two homes built by Donald Mckay. There’s his (Donald McKay) home on White Street and this home that he built for his brother, so these are really very significant to this neighborhood and its history. I know developers buy properties to make money but there’s something to be said of restoring old homes. By historically renovating this home and the carriage house I believe you can equally do well for yourself financially. I understand there’s a need to make money but the need to make money should not negate the community’s need to protect these treasures.”

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