By Seth Daniel
The old Sonny’s Pizza location on Main Street isn’t an easy residential conversion project, but City leaders are giving kudos to Newton developer Charlie Zammuto for taking on the project – which is now in the framing stage and just taking shape.
After getting approvals in 2016, Zammuto has set to work in the first quarter of 2017 and is busy converting the one-story commercial building – known as the Everett Parking Garage and Sonny’s Pizza – into a multi-story residential building with first floor parking.
Zammuto said he typically does most of his development in Somerville, Chelsea, Cambridge, Natick and Boston, but saw a good opportunity in Everett.
“I’ve been looking for something here and this is a great City,” he said at the site on Monday. “I’m looking for more opportunities to develop here…Everett is up and coming and they are changing things for the better. Even without the casino in the picture, this is a great city. I don’t know how much the casino will affect things, but I saw this as a great opportunity on its own.”
Building Inspector Jim Soper said he gives credit to his staff and to Zammuto for taking on the redevelopment.
“That’s a very hard project,” he said. “It’s not easy to come in and build over an existing one story structure, but he’s doing things the right way…I have to give credit to everyone here at the City and on the staff for being open minded and being willing to see someone’s vision. Those things are what brings these kinds of projects to us.”
Zammuto said he plans to build 18 units of apartments, with garage parking on the first floor for around 30 vehicles. He said originally he had called for commercial space on the first floor, but neighbors had concerns that it would cause parking issues.
So, now he said he will re-face the front of the building so it will look like commercial spaces, but actually just be parking.
Right now, he said the framers are working on the upper levels and he’s pushing them to finish as soon as possible.
“I’m shooting for the completion to be at the end of the year,” he said. “I’m pushing for the framing to be done and we can get out of there and get this done by January.”
City officials said they have been happy to work with Zammuto on the project, and noted that he has agreed to donate street trees for Main Street from the Malden line to Sweetser Circle.
“I just wanted to give a little back to the community and make the street look better,” he said.