It’s been many months since we’ve had an update on the restaurant Sixth Engine planned for the firehouse at 400 Mass. With support of ANC6C the 400 Mass condominiums initiated an ABRA protest of the liquor license as a means to secure a voluntary agreement. The residents had a series of concerns with the plans the restaurant had to vent exhaust from the roof of the firehouse and beneath 10 stories of residential windows near the top of the list. However the protest was dismissed as 400 Mass did not have sufficient attendance at the ABRA roll call hearing last September.
The lost opportunity with for a voluntary agreement shifter the focus of the condominium to other legal avenues. The firehouse is surrounded by 400 Mass but not a part of the building Sixth Engine needs a series of structural changes to the 400 Mass common elements to allow the space to support the needs of the restaurant. The firehouse space needs walls blown out to allow access to the loading dock and the adjacent commercial space the restaurant also is leasing from Douglas Development.
400 Mass has three governing entities: the Residential Board, the Commercial Board, and the Master Board. 400 Mass residential space is governed and budgeted by a Residential Board; 400 Mass ground-floor commercial space is governed and budgeted by a Commercial Board; space common to both (exterior building walls, loading dock, heating, cooling, roof, etc.) is governed and budgeted by a Master Board. Because of par value, approximately 95% of the Master Budget is funded via allocation from the Residential Budget. The three-person Master Board is made up of two representatives from the Residential Board and one from the Commercial Board. A majority vote is needed to pass measures, so two of the three Master Board members must agree. The control the residents have on the Master board to approve structural changes to common elements and common party walls affords them influence to have their concerns addressed that the ABRA route no longer can.
The good news is that despite contention at 400 Mass word from the Sixth Engine ownership to WBJ is that the restaurant is still on track for delivery this year. We hope both parties can reach reasonable compromises.