Three Beacon Hill apartment buildings offered for sale

apartments for sale in boston ma

Three attached brick row houses on the Flat of Beacon Hill at 2, 4 and 6 Brimmer St. are being offered for sale as a package.

Diane Pienta of Beacon Services Inc. is marketing the five-story bow front buildings with 18 apartments at a price of $6,750,000.

Showings will begin Tuesday, April 2, and offers will be accepted until Friday, April 5.

Altogether the buildings house 10 two-bedroom apartments, three one-bedroom units with studies, four one-bedroom units and a studio.

Little is known about the history of the buildings, although both Karl Haglund, author of “Inventing the Charles River,” and Nancy Seasholes, author of “Gaining Ground: A History of Landmaking in Boston” brilliantly describe how the Flats of Beacon Hill came to be. By the end of the 1890s, all the marshland west of Charles Street from Back Street to the West Boston (Longfellow) Bridge had been completely filled.

And an 1890 Bromley cadastral map shows in detail the presence of these bow front buildings at the corner of Brimmer and Pinckney streets. The map lists James M. Howard as owner of 2 Brimmer, F.S. Gibbs as owner of 4 Brimmer and Annie L. Alger Trustees as owner of 6 Brimmer. (H.J. Lange is listed as owner of 8 Brimmer.)

Diagonally across Pinckney Street is today’s River House, but more than 120 years ago it was the site of the Home for Aged Women.

Although they may have been single-family homes originally, the buildings at 2, 4 and 6 Brimmer had become apartments by 1917, according to city records.

(As the Mount Vernon Proprietors were developing Beacon Hill in the late 1700s, they were envisioning a thriving Charles Street, even before it was created, and proposing the construction of boarding houses west of the street where workers and tradesmen would live to support the nearby businesses.)

From the exterior, it looks like the four houses at 2-8 Brimmer were constructed at the same time because their design is symmetrical, with hooded entrances at 2 and 4 Brimmer and again at 6 and 8 Brimmer. A single dormer is set in each mansard roof. The entry doors with glass insets have transoms.

At 2 Brimmer, a four-story oriel overlooking Pinckney Street rises from the second story to the top floor.

What is distinctive about these floor-through apartments (except for the studio) is the original detail that has survived. Many of the units have white Carrara marble mantelpieces, 11-foot-high ceilings with crown molding and hardwood flooring. Some have parquet floors.

Both the kitchens and baths in all the units are compact, allowing for more space in the main living rooms and bedrooms.

The first-floor apartment at 4 Brimmer St. stands out, however, as it has its own private entrance. The doorways to the vestibule and to the reception hall are mahogany. The stairs have been removed, generating more living space. The living room is on the right and features a handsome marble fireplace and wainscoting; and in the back are a large bedroom with another marble fireplace and a linear kitchen.

Between the kitchen and bedroom is a doorway with a transom to exchange light, and the bath can be accessed from both the main reception hall as well as the bedroom. Like all of the units, the kitchen stove is electric.

The basement apartment at 2 Brimmer has a bedroom at the front of the house with three closets, and a large room at the back which has a compact kitchen open to the living room. It

has 829 +/- square feet. An exit door leads to a private brick courtyard.

The basement unit at 4 Brimmer St. is a 418-square-foot studio created at the front of the building. At the back are two rooms; one serves as a laundry for the residents at both 2 and 4 Brimmer and as the place for the mechanicals of the buildings. Earlier this year, the owner converted the steam boiler from oil to natural gas. The other room at the back is vacant; it previously held the oil tank.

The one-bedroom basement apartment at No. 6 has 564 square feet space. It is smaller because there is a laundry on this level off the common hallway, which also gives access to an enclosed brick courtyard.

The floor plans at 2 Brimmer St. contain between 625 +/- to 798 +/- square feet of living space. Because the first floor includes an entry and staircase, with its original newel post, the apartment is slightly smaller, although it contains two bedrooms at the back.

The upper floors enjoy a three-window oriel, which expands the kitchen space and draws in lots of natural light. The apartment on the second floor has one bedroom, plus a study, while the others in this building have two bedrooms. The study has no closet.

At the top of the staircase at 2 Brimmer is a large skylight that brightens the fourth and fifth floor halls.

In 1938 the second floor party wall between Nos. 2 and 4 Brimmer St. was opened to give access to the upper floors in No. 4 and keep the first floor residence as a private entity.

These residences also have similar floor plans, designed with a large living room in front and a master bedroom in back. Off the living room is another bedroom, except on the second floor, which is a small study. The linear kitchen is in the back of the building.

The apartments in No. 6 are fairly similar to those in No. 4, mirroring the location of living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens. The units on the second floor have a study instead of a second bedroom.

In Unit 3 at 6 Brimmer, the kitchen has black and white checkerboard floor tiles that complement the smaller black and white tiled backsplash. The checkerboard backsplash is found in several other apartments as well.

These buildings are close to the Charles River Esplanade, and from the higher floors, you can glimpse the Charles River or, in the other direction, Beacon Hill rooftops and the steeple of the Church of the Advent, which was built in 1883.


Address. 2, 4 and 6 Brimmer St. Beacon Hill

BR/BA. 27 bedrooms, 18 baths

Size. 16,834 total gross square footage, 11,852 total net square footage

Age. Circa 1890; recent updates

Price. $6,750,000

Taxes. $76,784

Features of building s: Three buildings, separately deeded, each with six apartments; new gas furnace; new rubber roof installed on all buildings in 2011; rebuilt pilings, foundation and basement units in 2002-2003.

Close by. Charles River Esplanade, Church of the Advent, Public Garden, Boston Common; boutique shops, art galleries and antique stores; easy access to MBTA Red Line at Charles/MGH Station or Green Line at Arlington Street, Storrow Drive, Route 93.

Contact. Diane Pienta, Beacon Services Inc. 52 Beacon St. Boston, MA 02108. Phone: 617-794-8555. Email:

This property may be seen by appointment beginning Tuesday, April 2.

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