Old Academy School building on Mill Street

Boards cover the windows on the building originally housing Academy School and slated to be renovated as apartments.

CAMBRIDGE — The Cambridge City Council moved forward at its July 12 meeting with two ordinances enabling a planned renovation at the former Academy School building on Mill Street.

The first measure, Ordinance 1179, changed the neighborhood conservation map overlay (specifying a geographical area) in the city’s Unified Development Code, and the second, Ordinance 1180, approved the former school structure at 201 Mill Street to fit the overlay, after an amendment was added to specify any renovation must be inside of the building envelope (the current shape of the structure).

The back of the property is outside of the approved overlay, but would be subject to existing regulations requiring only single family structures, allowing for a maximum of four or five dwellings.

The proposed development in the school building is down to eight apartments, a size welcomed by a neighborhood concerned about the overall number units of earlier proposals in past years.

Multiple neighbors spoke in favor of the current proposal, a reversal of years of staunch opposition to previous proposals, expressing support for the reduced demand for parking the number of residents would put on the area.

The original structure was built in 1903 and stands on a parcel of about 1.86 acres. Later additions, since demolished, were made to the building, originally a public school, and used in later years as a private school, Golden Shore Christian School.

City Planner Pat Escher said the building was one of four schoolhouses built on the Eastern Shore by local architect Benjamin Brown. Escher said the other remaining school in East New Market was also converted into apartments.Mike Detmer is a staff writer for the Dorchester Star and Star Democrat based in Maryland. You can reach him at mdetmer@chespub.com.

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