In JP, luxury condo developer fights luxury condo development

The Jamaica Plain Gazette explains how the builder behind the Blessed Sacrament project in Hyde Square is fighting the Home for Little Wanderers project on South Huntington Avenue.

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*scratching head*

Luxury condos at the old BS in Hyde Square? Luxury condos roughly 6 or so blocks from the Bromley Heath Projects? And a developer has financing for this?

Whatever.

No different from the Brewery

No different from the Brewery site on Heath st. It's very close to the Longwood district, and a quick Orange Line ride to downtown. The South End isn't exactly crime/poverty free, is it? The developers are betting against you with their own money. How much will you put up to bet against them?

More discussion

I'd like to hear people's thoughts on the whole Wandering People site prospects. I'm a member of the BPA and also a preservationist by occupation. It sounds like the area needs more rentable housing, so maybe that's not the issue. Does anyone here on UH want to discuss his/her thoughts on tearing that building down?

So much of "green" building involves tearing down existing structures to make "green" ones. It seems like the embodied energy in the existing building isn't taken into account. I'd like to see the current building stay and used as part of the final plan.

What say you all?

Depends on the building

Some old buildings before codes were not constructed so well. Others were overbuilt and more worth keeping. Most new housing construction I've seen looks ugly and is built worse, with a veneer of granite counter tops and stainless appliances (think polished turd). I like lots of sunlight despite every window losing more heat than an insulated wall. Light is more important than ultimate energy efficiency.

The building is not

The building is not particularly old, not particularly beautiful, and not particularly 'historic.' If preservationists started preserving every building in Boston in the late 1800s, the city would be a tourist trap and nothing else now. Take away every building over five stories and what have you got? Preservationist need to know when to say 'tear it down' just as much as 'keep it.'

Rosi transfer station

I agree. The Rosi substation on Cummins is another example. It could be neat if saved, but lacks any real significance and isn't financially viable apparently to get converted to usable space. Instead of trying to save every old building, I would love to see a push for more design contests to encourage interesting additions to the city, instead of hulking charmless buildings like the new Social Security bldg.

Liberty Mutual

Just be careful about painting all preservation-minded folk with the same brush. And as for when to tear down vs when to try and save, two notable examples of 'important' buildings that were torn down recently are the old Salvation Army building in the Back Bay (new Liberty Mutual behemoth - not a design slam, it's just absolutely huge) and the Dainty Dot building in Chinatown. It's not just about saving old buildings per se, but important or maybe just plain old usable buildings.

The Wandering People buildings aren't landmarks, but they're part of the neighborhood and have been for 90+ years. They're in good shape and it seems a shame to tear them down when they could be incorporated into new design.

That all being said, thanks to folks for chiming in. It's what I was hoping for and glad to hear it.

Glad you asked...

I'm glad you asked and in the spirit of getting my facts straight, I've been searching the interwebs for the exact information I needed, but have come up empty handed. I'll keep looking but for now, I hope you'll be ok with hearsay. (It was pretty good hearsay - a Boston Society of Architects meeting a few years back.)

You're right, The Salvation Army building was no beauty, but it was the last example of [fill in architect's name _here_] pre-war architecture. In the end, the preservation community decided to document the heck out of the building and let it go instead of chaining themselves / ourselves to the building. I felt like this was a good compromise as you can't save them all.

It's odd and maybe somewhat annoying that the neighboring "Salada Tea" building was slated to stay. Lord knows I'm not a fan of concrete monsters, but I do think it's important to keep a couple around so that people don't make the same mistake again.

Suppose I should get back to my actual job working on repairing a building that may or may not be in Cambridge that a world-famous architect was asked to design for an educational instutiton who spent a lot of money on a building that leaks a whole bunch. :-)