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Meeting on development next to South Station ends in neighborhood walkout

Chinatown residents walked out of a meeting with state and city officials over development next to South Station yesterday after learning much of the "affordable" housing there would not be affordable to them and that state plans call for keeping a park at the site the same size rather than ensuring its expansion.

The meeting was the fifth and final meeting called by MassDOT and the BRA over the fate of parcels next to South Station now occupied by a MassDOT offic building, a steam plant and Reggie Wong Park. MassDOT wants to find a developer to turn the 5 1/2 acres of land into a "gateway" project with buildings up to 30 stories tall.

State officials said that up to 20% of any residential units in the project would be "affordable." But with most of those units held for people making 70% or more of the area median income, that means they would be mostly unaffordable for Chinatown residents, residents said.

Residents were also upset that the BRA design guidelines would not require a developer to expand the park or ensure it remains open during construction but would let it move it somewhere else on the site.

In a statement, Karen Chen, of the Chinese Progressive Association, says:

Chinatown is besieged as it attempts to fight back constant encroachment by the accelerating forces of gentrification and displacement. The redevelopment of Parcels 25 and 26 will have an enormous impact on our community for better or worse, with Chinatown’s fate hanging in the balance. As one of the most vulnerable yet beloved communities in Boston and beyond, the Chinatown community was truly disappointed to learn that this process was futile in meaningfully addressing our concerns and only succeeded in wasting their time. As a result, the community was left with no choice but to exit the process by exiting the room.

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Comments

Looking for urban living.

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The number of rich folk and the number of empty 5th residence, empty 90% of the time condos they buy with cash.

GE is forcing a state with major transportation needs to out in a "public" helipad. They're also going to need a place to out up their guests!

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And when that day happens pricing will adjust and joe schmoe will be living in these buildings full of 'luxury housing'

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"Luxury" housing does not downgrade in price in Boston, ever, even if empty for years, particularly when owned by absentee landlords.
It would take deterioration the level of the Bronx in the 1970s to achieve even the smallest price drop.

Essentially the city is permanently screwed because prices would need to fall to under 40% of their current value to be fairly valued. And such will never happen.

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Empty property is a cash sink. Occupied property, even at a lower cost at least keeps the money flowing. If there is one thing to know about investing and investors, it is that the goal is getting money.

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It's not all about profit making investment purposes, it's sometimes about just having a stable asset in another location.

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Downtown will never be affordable and we should give up trying to make it so.

What these luxury building do however, is protect (or slow) outer neighborhoods from gentrification. This hasn't happened in Boston yet--save the response. That is the Jane Jacobs theory behind it though.

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Building more won't prevent that alone.

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It saddens me to see Boston attempt to undergo Manhattanfication (my term for when cities become too overpriced and condensed;only the former for now). It was fun while it lasted,folks.

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Boston isn't building anywhere near enough housing to meet market demand. The problem is the BRA/the Mayor's other goon buddies are more concerned with extorting every last dime and keeping a full payroll of loyal bureaucrats than the overall welfare of the city.

Projects which would be approved in a matter of weeks or months in other cities take YEARS in Boston and that jacks up costs on top of market rates.

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Joe Schmoe won't be living in those buildings (unless something like the 1970s happens to cities again) but all of the doctors and lawyers who can't afford to live there now, or on beacon hill, will be able to afford to live there and will slow down buying property in the nicer neighborhoods, and then Joe will be able to afford to buy there again. But that will take a long time because for the past 25 years we have failed to allow enough development to happen to absorb the enormous economic boom that is going on in the greater Boston tech/science/health/robotics/finance/legal sectors.

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It's Urban Lifestyle, not Urban Living. It's a Lifestyle.

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I too thought that the number of rich people was finite. However, I also thought that Clarence Thomas would never be a Supreme Court Justice, OJ was guilty and Trump???!!!?? These folks buying the 6 and 7 digit condos are not like you and me but seem to be proliferating like the Tribbles on Star Trek.

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Is it just a buzzword used to sell a development project? I seem to recall that term applied to other projects. How many of them does the city need?

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Is there an available list if agenda, which I'm sure branches out well beyond Chinatown community interests?

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BRA will probably stipulate provisions to ensure affordable living quarters in the park.

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So 70% of the local area's median income is too rich? What number was the association's counteroffer?

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