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Inside a famed North End home, pre-renovation

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You can call it a comeback

Michelle & Chris Gerard

Last fall, this North End home, formerly owned by Joe Louis’s primary manager John Roxborough, went up for sale for $90,000. We were intrigued by the history and the lack of photos. The house just sold for $45,000 and when the previous owners contacted us, we knew we had to stop by to see the inside.

We’re so glad we did.

The previous owner acquired the house through Fannie Mae in 2015. They intended to rehab, but distance, resources, and family helped them decide to put it on the market. They had read on Curbed about the Joe Louis house that had been recently renovated in nearby Boston-Edison and contacted Josh Kushnereit, who rehabbed that home.

Kushnereit, owner of Metro Holdings LLC, along with his friend Steve Streit of Streit Construction, are now planning a six-month rehab of the unusual and incredible home.

From records and chatting with neighbors, there’s an estimate that the house has been vacant for around 15 years. Along with the usual wear and tear from vacancy, a significant amount of water damage is present, due to the gutters running inside the walls down the sides of the house.

When it was occupied by Roxborough, we can imagine the grandeur of the home. The previous owners were able to find a New York Times article on the house, reflecting on that time.

This house has a few key features. The basement is set up for entertaining. There’s a bar, benches, fireplace, and a lot of room. It will be restored with much of the historic elements kept in tact. Electricity is not turned on yet in the house, so we had to use flashlights. We can imagine Joe Louis hanging out down here.

The master suite has a sitting room and a step up to the main bedroom, with a balcony overlooking the backyard.

There’s a sitting area over the garage overlooking the yard. A stone wall surrounds the back, and you can see a fountain at the back of the property.

Kushnereit says that they’ve already removed about three dumpsters full of garbage, debris, and drywall, and he estimates the renovation could take about six months. Neighbors stopped by while we were visiting, happy that someone was finally rehabbing the house. We’ll be back to see the transformation. Here are more photos from in and around the home.