By Seth Daniel
The most recent struggles over the long-blighted Hotel Alexandra could be coming to an end soon, as an attorney for the Church of Scientology announced Tuesday night that the hotel property had been sold to Common Management Corporation of Cambridge for an undisclosed amount of money.
Attorney David Suny alerted community members on Tuesday night of the sale, and confirmed it Wednesday morning to the Sun via e-mail.
The Common Management Group, based on Lexington Street in Cambridge, has a very low-profile online, and is headed by Eric M. Hoagland – who happens to be the son of CVS Pharmacy founder Ralph Hoagland.
Suny said they own other properties in Cambridge, and they planned to close on the property within 12 months.
At the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association (WSANA) meeting Tuesday night, the mood upon hearing the news was rather upbeat as the hotel has been blighted for decades – and the heat has been on the church over the last year to get rid of it or face possible eminent-domain proceedings by the city.
“It sounds like good news, but 12 months seems rather long for closing on the property,” said President George Stergios. “When you close on a condo, it’s about 45 days, so I’m not sure about that.”
Others echoed the sentiment, and some where skeptical of the deal due to the long lead time for closing on the property.
Carol Blair, president of the Chester Square Area Neighborhood Association (CSANA), was one of the first to ignite the fire of eminent domain for the building when she suggested to Brian Golden, director of the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), last year that he look into taking it.
This week, she said it sounded like good news, but the 12-month closing left a lot of time for something to go wrong.
“It sounds good, but I wonder why the sale is expected to take a year,” she said. “Are there conditions attached to the agreement? If so, is it likely those conditions could be satisfied? I’m quite curious to know more about this deal.”
South End Forum Moderator Steve Fox said he has heard those concerns and shares some of them as well, but in general, he said the announcement was very good news.
“The question everyone is asking now is why it’s going to take 12 months to close,” he said. “The Treaty of Versailles didn’t take that long…Maybe they want to have conversations with Landmarks about what they will be requiring them to do…Given the condition of the property, this is tremendously good news if it is true…Given the fact that have a name, that’s ample evidence that it is valid. The question now is what level of preservation requirements will they hold them to on preserving the façade…That’s a concern at the end of the day because it’s such an historic property. Will there be a condition that will affect the salability of the property?”