May 2019 Neighborhood Newsletter
|New England Conservatory, New Neighbor
The New England Conservatory (NEC) purchased 10 Claremont Park this past month. This building will be renovated and used as the NEC President’s residence. Claremont Neighborhood Association (CNA) board members will meet with New England Conservatory on June 4 to better understand the change and timeline. With this change, sadly, we lose our long time neighbor and friend, Reverend Maya.
Mary Longley Garden at Northampton Green
Tenants Development Corporation (TDC), Southwest Corridor Park Conservancy, and CNA have teamed up with MA State Representative Jon Santiago to dedicate a section of Northampton Green to TDC founder, housing advocate and gardener Mary Longley. Northampton Green is on the Southwest Corridor Park between Mass Avenue and Northampton Street. The official naming designation by the Commonwealth allows us to begin the work of design and funding. If anyone is interested in participating, please send an email to CNA at email@example.com to join the effort. We have an urgent need to find a Landscape Architect who can donate their expertise and skills.
530 Columbus Avenue, formerly H&R Block, is currently under construction. We understand this will be the new home of a tanning salon. CNA has reached out to the new business owner to understand more about their business plans and will share when we know.
Ilona, formerly Parish Café, located at 493 Massachusetts Avenue will be opening within a month, according to the owner, as they put their finishing touches on the space. The restaurant will serve healthy Mediterranean
food (Israeli & Lebanese) paired with wine from that region of the world. The business will be communicating more details over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
552 Columbus Avenue – Cannabis Retail Store
Residents and friends of 552 Columbus Avenue are circulating a petition to oppose the opening of a retail cannabis business in a very small storefront. There is 100% opposition by the 5 owner occupied residential condos at 552 Columbus Avenue. The condo owners were never consulted by the owner of the retail space. Please support your neighbors by signing the petition when asked and by contacting your local officials. Also visit our neighbors website: no552dispensary.com or email them at 552ColumbusAve@gmail.com.
We will be communicating additional information on this topic over the next few weeks.
Two Significant Developments Coming to CNA
There are two major development discussions underway that will greatly impact CNA: 566 Columbus Avenue (known as Harriet Tubman House) and a proposal by LIHC (Low Income Housing Corp) on Worcester Street. Neighbors need to be aware and fully engaged with both developments to ensure our perspective, input and alignment is reached to protect our historic neighborhood. See details below on each development.
566 Columbus (Harriet Tubman House) — The Harriet Tubman House, which is currently owned by the United South End Settlements (USES), has been sold and will be re-developed as condominiums with commercial and community space at the ground level. The development is being spearheaded by David Goldman at New Boston Ventures. The design for the building is still in its infancy but currently includes ~60-65 residential units (17% of which will be affordable housing), 50 underground parking spaces and bike storage, artist spaces, community space for USES and a cafe that will pay tribute to the very popular Hi-Hat jazz club, a historic venue that resided at this location. The developer does not intend to request any variances; the building will be within the height limit (70 ft) and footprint that are standard for this area. The mural that currently exists on the wall along Mass Ave will be preserved and potentially moved to the USES location on Rutland St. Construction is slated to begin in fall 2019 or spring 2020 although complications with permits and other city processes could cause this date to move. The project is expected to take 18 months to 2 years to complete.
LIHC on Worcester Street – Please read the below statement by LIHC to better understand the Worcester Street proposal. CNA will be arranging a meeting with LIHC in May, prior to the June 4th presentation to the South End Forum.
“LIHC Investment Group owns the two existing buildings at 715 & 725 Tremont Street in the South End. The 725 Tremont Street property includes the parking lot and fenced open space and portion of the alleyway. LIHC has owned the property for 10 years and has continued to invest in both the interior and exterior. These two buildings on Tremont Street are low and middle-income rental housing of 181 units and many of the tenants have lived there for over 35 years. There is a management company owned by one of the partners of LIHC that oversees the property; the management office is located at 719 Tremont Street. The LIHC website is https://lihc.com
Over the last few years, LIHC has renovated all of the kitchens and bathrooms, created/rehabilitated hallways, interior spaces and a renovated community room. In the near future, LIHC will be making positive improvements to the exterior of the buildings by adding planters at the main doorways, metal canopies over the doorways, new exterior signage, and painting the fencing on the front. LIHC is dedicated to improving these buildings and being a good neighbor.
LIHC also proposes to construct a new building where the parking lot is currently located. The project team has been meeting informally with some members of the community in the area and met with the Claremont Neighborhood Association in April. Starting in February, LIHC reached out to neighborhood leaders, some abutters, The Trustee owners of the Worcester Street community garden, elected officials and neighbors that live close by.
The proposed building has not been formally filed with the City of Boston / Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA). No date has been selected for the formal filing with the City.
The proposed building will be the same height as the adjacent height of the townhouses on Worcester Street (approximately 58 feet) and have a landscape border in front similar to what is found on Worcester Street today. The building will have 60 market rate housing units of studios-3 bedrooms. Under the proposed building, there will be 1 level of an underground garage, and angled parking in the rear of the building. Based on the preliminary shadow studies we have done to date, there will be no shadow on the abutters or the community garden. LIHC is planning on making improvements to the private alleyway in the rear.
We look forward to meeting with Claremont Neighborhood Association and others as we move forward in the community outreach before we file with the City of Boston/ BPDA. LIHC will be making a presentation at the South End Forum on Tuesday June 4th at the South End Library at 725 Tremont Street at 6:00 PM.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me: Randi Lathrop, firstname.lastname@example.org, consultant for LIHC.”