Hey, there! Log in / Register

Abandoned Jamaica Plain church starts to crumble

Fallen coping stones at Sacred Heart Church in Jamaica Plain

It's a good thing it's too cold to sit on the steps of the former Blessed Sacrament Church on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain: The Boston Fire Department reports coping stones near the roof line plunged to the steps today.

No injuries were reported, the department says.

The Archdiocese of Boston shut the church in 2002. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp. and a private developer bought the church and its grounds in 2005 and converted some of the buildings into housing.

The Hyde Square Task Force in turn bought the former church from the JPNDC in 2014, with plans to turn it into a community center, but it was unable to raise funds for that and was having to spend $100,000 a year on at least some maintenance. Earlier this year, the task force started looking for a buyer.

Look to the right for where the fallen stones used to be (photo by BFD):

Inspecting the roof line of the church



Crumbling, much like the church administration.

Voting closed 19

The Archidiocese hasn't owned the church since 2005?

Voting closed 25

I clicked on the article looking for dates and I'm shocked.

Voting closed 9

It's a metaphor.

Voting closed 30

“The Hyde Square Task Force in turn bought the former church from the HPNDC in 2014...”
Do you mean JPNDC?
Buildings shouldn’t be allowed to get to this dangerous state. Know what you’re getting into when you buy a property like this and have or raise the funds to make it, at a minimum, safe. At the very least, put a freaking fence around the property to keep people at a safer distance away. There’s a lot of failure here on many people/ groups.

Voting closed 24

Typo fixed, thanks!

Voting closed 10

Please, JP, can we let the HSTF go ahead with the sale now? They got in over their heads (different Director and Board at the time) and now the current Director and Board have to deal with a crumbling money sucking building, taking funds away from their important youth programming. I know people got married and baptized in that church and the memories flow, but we have to move on, people. It should have been sold to the private market and developed years ago, preserved or not.

Voting closed 37

Gone, but not forgotten as the damage he did outlasted his interest in the neighborhood. Just another un-elected political grifter in Boston.

Voting closed 10

HSTF is already proceeding with the sale and the building is on the market. Question is not whether they are going to sell it but whether they are going to sell it to a market rate condo developer without restrictions as currently proposed, or ensure that the new owner includes community space and affordable units in keeping with the mission and goals of the organization. The statement "It should have been sold to the private market long ago..." conflates the safety issue presented by a crumbling building with the desire by some for selling off the building to the highest bidder for market rate housing. That outcome would go against the efforts of many residents, merchants, alumni of HSTF programs, ex-parishioners and others who are engaging HSTF (and will engage whoever buys the building) to make sure that whatever is built there doesn't create a gated community in the middle of Boston's Latin Quarter and doesn't further contribute to displacement of low- and moderate-income families from the neighborhood they have worked so hard to revitalize. By all means, immediately fence off the site and make it safe until a sale goes through, but don't use this incident to push a pro-market rate housing agenda.

Voting closed 6

I doubt that this would happen. When being sold with a community space and affordable housing in mind, non-profit organizations have to get in line for COB/DHCD/HUD cycled funds (city/state/feds), while it is quite easier for a private developer with good credit and track record to get financing and MOVE it. Develop it! I live RIGHT HERE and I am done caring about the past and history of this building. I want to see activity there. I don't care what kind. I want to see something. It's sad and depressing as is. P.S. It is not on the Colliers website as being "on the market" yet so while I agree that they are proceeding with the sale, their "summer" then "fall" sale timeline has yet to be met due to the emotions of the community. Enough.

Voting closed 18

Agree it is sad and depressing as is, and now we can add public safety hazard to the list. Also share your sense of urgency to make something happen at the church, as many residents, merchants, ex-parishioners etc have been waiting for since HSTF purchased the property, although a sense of urgency shouldn’t be an excuse to sell it to a developer who doesn’t share HSTF values or commitment to the neighborhood. The reality is that even private developers with good credit and deep pockets are going to be unlikely to line up to buy the church because they would need to spend a ton of money even to maintain the facade. Given the fact that the Landmarks Commission wouldn’t let JPNDC take down the rectory building back in the day, they are very unlikely to allow razing of the church, which is the only way a developer could fit enough condo units to make the kind of money they can make more easily with their 40-50 unit projects elsewhere.
To make something happen quickly there will require the City and others to get back involved (HSTF got some City $ to help with purchase from JPNDC). A good start could be the Archdiocese investing the estimated $1 million fund they took when they closed the church, funds that had been left to them by a deceased parishioner for maintenance and upkeep of Blessed Sacrament. Here’s hoping that political leaders and angel investors and responsible developers come together to create something at Blessed Sacrament that will allow it to once again be a jewel in the middle of the neighborhood instead of a crumbling, empty building.

Voting closed 1

...beyond the "i was married there" arguements?


Give the owners 90 days to start work or raze it.

Voting closed 14

More fell overnight. There looked to be a team performing initial assessment (via binoculars and not a lift) this morning at 8.

Lucky this didn't happen during their Summer Wednesdays where many gather on the steps to play and listen to music, perform poerty slams, sing, dance ... Oh crap! They didn't happen this year thanks to COVID. 2020, peeps. 2020.

Voting closed 9