When JP's one skyscraper was built

The Jamaica Plain Gazette offers up some history on that 30-story tower (now a rare co-op building) off the Jamaicaway that sometimes makes people go "what the hell is that doing there?" Let's just say the BRA's tactic of declaring an area "blighted" to get what it wants is nothing new.

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      "Blighted"

      The "blighted" declaration is a tune I've heard before, yes. I'm familiar with the lawsuit they mention, since the building is near my house. To provide some back story: there's a vacant facility on Walnut Ave across from Franklin Park, which was formerly for long-term homeless care until they moved all the residents out 6 or 7 years ago and abandoned the building. In 2010, they tried to get a zoning variance to expand the facility and re-open; when the neighborhood association raised some concerns about parking and delivery trucks, the BRA played the "blighted" card and refused to discuss it further.

      I don't really have any skin in the fight, but it was a pretty spectacular act of hubris for the BRA to claim that they should get to ignore zoning laws because the property was derelict and a blight on the area, when they were the ones who abandoned it and stopped doing the maintenance it would require to stop it from becoming blighted. Makes me wonder if I could let my house fall down from neglect, then come back ten years later and insist on turning it into a high-rise.

      Montebello Rd.

      Yes, the residents on that street have been treated like garbage by the BRA and Pine Street. They have valid concerns and were villainized by people who don't live on that street or who don't plan to stay for more than a few months and will leave when they get their degrees in Art Therapy from Emerson and can finally move to Portland because Boston is sooooo boring. That neighborhood contains a great deal of subsidized housing already and I don't know what the residents of that proposed facility are meant to do up on that hill--are they going to be providing all of their meals b/c it is far away from any food source unless you can drive or get it together to haul groceries from the T--something I would assume medically involved homeless people might not be up to. There are centrally located properties in JP center that would be better for residents--but those very well organized and wealthy neighborhoods would die if they had a facility for homeless people nearby--but b/c Montelbello is near Franklin Park people up there are just expected to take whatever they get.

      umm...

      There's no "art therapy" major at Emerson College. Didn't wanna go for the usual film student jab, I take it...

      According to BRA most of downtown is blighted

      One of the reasons they cited for giving Liberty Mutual a tax break on their new building was because the old building was constructed on wooden pilings and therefore blighted. All the local residents at the BRA meeting almost keeled over from laughing so hard (until the BRA said they were serious and gave away tens of millions of our tax dollars to one of the richest companies on the planet).

      Imagine what those places in Beacon Hill, Back Bay and the South End - among others - would be worth if they weren't blighted!!!

      I guess some version of the golden rule. Give your gold to the mayor and he'll make the rules?

      Blight cures everything

      I think they may have declared the area blighted - not a particular building. There was a famous CT case a few years ago where the judge said that if a property is not in "highest and best use" then it can be declared blighted - there's a lot of wiggle room in that and the BRA uses it every chance they get. A blight declaration gives them almost carte blanch to do whatever they want - including hand out tax breaks to all the old FOTs (Friends of Tom).

      A friend told me that a BRA official said some years ago that they exist to make legal what is otherwise illegal. Nice attitude.

      Eban Jordan built a huge

      Eban Jordan built a huge house in Brookline - Comm ave, I believe. It was one of the first along that stretch, and sat alone for a while. Shortly after he built it, his father died, and he moved back into Boston to run the company. There's a photo of the house in the Brookline book of the Images of America series.