News Briefs

January 25, 2018
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HOTEL ALEXANDRA NEWS

Developers of the Hotel Alexandra, community members and the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) are working on a very creative solution to help the old hotel on Washington Street overcome some major hurdles that have cropped up.

At the South End Forum this month, Moderator Steve Fox said it has become apparent that the hotel – which everyone knew was difficult – cannot be developed on its own and be financially feasible. However, it appears that creativity could save the day.

“Everyone’s objective is to renovate the Hotel Alexandra, but overcoming some issues makes it that as a single project, it’s not financially viable for any developer,” he said.

As a solution, the BPDA is working with the developer to identify a second parcel to become part of the project – which would allow more of an economy of scale and thus help the renovation project succeed.

Apparently, the BPDA is looking for parcels nearby that could be included as new construction in tandem with the Alexandra.

The problem with the renovation is that the building is in such disrepair, and the restrictions of it being a Landmark also factors into the costs.

The push continues and there is hope the new solution could succeed, said Fox.

 

BEEHIVE TO HOST BENEFIT FOR USES

On Sunday, Jan. 7, a pipe burst at United South End Settlements’ (USES) South End House, causing extensive damage to each floor and displacing over 100 children from early-childhood education and after-school programming.

USES has created an emergency fund to support families with financial assistance, cover the costs associated with equipping a temporary space, and assist USES with expenses related to rehabbing our building that are not covered by insurance.

USES has secured a temporary space for programming, as demolishing and rebuilding the interior of the building is expected to take 12 – 18 weeks.

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, neighbors and supporters are invited to stop by the Beehive and enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres between 6 – 8 p.m. and make a financial contribution to USES and/or drop off new and gently used toys and books for USES’s classrooms. In addition, the Beehive will donate 100 percent of food sales on USES dinner reservations Feb. 5, 6, and 7. (Be sure to use code ‘USES’ and book a separate reservation on the Beehive’s website or call 617-423-0069).

The mission of USES is to harness the power of the diverse community to disrupt the cycle of poverty for children and their families.

 

NEW STOPLIGHTS COULD BE PROBLEM

Members of the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association (WSANA) were surprised to see a new, large traffic-light configuration pop up on Washington Street and East/West Concord recently.

It was particularly troubling as they hadn’t been consulted about the change, and the infrastructure didn’t match other lights in the area.

“I’m not necessarily against it, but rather it just happened,” said President George Stergios. “I was surprised no one gave us a head’s up.”

While many said it was a good idea and they have supported the addition of a traffic signal there – as it is the longest stretch of Washington Street without a light – they said they would have liked to have a discussion about it.

Some said they actually didn’t support the light there, and would have liked to see other alternatives before a large traffic light.

“That’s right in our area; that’s Worcester Square. That’s our square,” said one resident. “They should have asked us.”

The greatest objection, however, was the look of the equipment – which was a large set of poles that don’t match other Landmark’s District infrastructure.

WSANA member, and Landmarks member, Peter Sanborn said the South End Landmarks does have jurisdiction over the poles, and they had no petitions in front of them regarding the poles.
He said he has sent out a letter about the situation.

Meanwhile, other traffic lights began their useful life in the South End this week, with the new light at Malden Street and Albany going live this week.

 

SOUTH END DATES

  • Harrison Albany Block Project update meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 6:30 p.m. in the second-floor Community Room, Boston Police Station D-4 (640 Harrison Ave.)
  • Help Clean up the Neighborhood in Blackstone and Franklin Square Parks: Tidy Up Tuesdays from 7-8 a.m. will take place on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month to help clean the beloved parks.
  • Annual Scholarship Fundraiser for the Blackstone/Franklin Square neighborhood association will take place on Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. in Estragon Spanish restaurant at 700 Harrison Ave. The annual event gives some extra support to the youth in the city by making their lives a little easier as they begin college. Visit blackstonefraklin.org to order tickets today.
  • The Friends of O’Day Park are looking for volunteers to help invigorate the West Newton gem of a park that has made a big comeback. In the spring, they will be holding a bike tune-up event with the Boston Police and need volunteers. Those interested can e-mail ntruppin@comcast.net.

 

ANNUAL PROGRESSIVE DINNER RETURNS

The Ellis South End Neighborhood Association will hold its 13th Annual Ellis Progressive Dinner on Monday, Feb. 5, from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. It’s a marvelous way to meet new neighbors and sample gourmet offerings from our neighborhood restaurants – all at a very reasonable price.

The group will meet at the Beehive at 5:30 p.m. for a welcome reception. Participants will enjoy three additional restaurants, two assigned on a random basis from an “electronic hat,” so you will spend the evening with neighbors that you may not have had a chance to meet and restaurants that you may not have visited. The groups will separate to their two restaurants and then reconvene at Barcelona for dessert and coffee.

Some of the restaurants participating include Banyan, Beehive, Barcelona, Boston Chops, Cinquecento, Coppa, Gaslight and Tremont 647.

Space is limited, so reserve on the Ellis website: www.ellisneighborhood.org. Tickets are $85 for members and $95 for nonmembers.

 

FENWAY FUNCTIONS

  • The groundbreaking of the first phase of the Fenway Center project on Beacon Street will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at the corner of Beacon and Maitland streets at 11 a.m. Meredith Management, Gering Edlen and TH Real Estate along with Gov. Charlie Baker, and Mayor Martin Walsh, will take part of the groundbreaking celebration.

 

RED SOX SUMMER CONCERTS

The Red Sox have filed for their licensing application with the City of Boston for their planned 2018 summer concert series. A public hearing date is set for Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 11:30 a.m. at Boston City Hall in room 809A.

Live Nation, which are hosting the concerts at Fenway Park, are hoping to have a total of 12 dates listed for this summer. Most shows will run from 4 and 5 p.m. and all end by 10:30 p.m.

The full list of proposed concert dates are as follows:

Thursday, June 14  – Friday, July 6       – Thursday, Aug. 9

Friday, June 15       – Saturday, July 7   – Saturday, Aug. 11

Saturday, June 16   – Saturday, July 21 – Sunday, Sept. 2

Thursday July 5      – Sunday, July 22    – Tuesday, Sept. 4

 

CHARLESGATE ALLIANCE FUNDRAISER

The Charlesgate Alliance will host an awareness and fundraising event at 400 Commonwealth Ave., on Sunday, January 28 from 3-6 p.m. In addition to wine and cheese, the event will include a silent auction to raise money for the Alliance.

This event will also include an overview of the history and possible future of Charlesgate Park in the area around and under the Bowker Overpass.

If you would like to make any type of contribution, please contact Maddy Segal at abbyreichl@aol.com or 781-820-6792. You can R.S.V.P. online at Eventbrite through the website at charlesgatealliance.org.

 

WSANA DONATES TO SOUTH END LIBRARY

The Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association voted on its annual $1,500 donation to the neighborhood at its Tuesday meeting, and this year they have agreed to give it to the South End Library’s renovation fund.

Every year, WSANA holds a large raffle that is their lone fundraiser, and helps them pay for summer concerts and the donation.

This year, they decided that a good cause would be to contribute to the library, which has widespread usage in the area.

 

CONDO TO RENTAL         TO CONDO

The developer of the Immaculate Conception Church on Harrison Avenue, Bodwell Pines, announced recently that they were once-again changing the plan for their 60-unit renovation of the old IC.

The change involves simply converting the project from rental units to condo units. That change follows a change last year where the developer changed form condo units to rental units.

The newest configuration would also add five, new leased spaces from St. James Garage.

A meeting was supposed to take place with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), but the developer cancelled it last minute. A date has not yet been set for re-scheduling the meeting, but the comment period has been extended out to March.

A particular concern for residents at the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association (WSANA) on Tuesday night at their monthly meeting was parking and the placement of the mechanicals – which is on the side of the building right where they were asked not to put it.

Landmarks did reject a plan to put a generator in front of the building on Harrison Avenue, and a revised plan has yet to come.

“We need people to come out in big numbers to support us on the things we’re pushing for – the parking situation and the noise from the placement of the mechanicals,” said one neighbor.

 

MASSPORT AIRPLANE NOISE COMPLAINT LINE

Residents who are being disturbed by airplane noise are encouraged to call the MassPort Noise Hotline 24 hours a day. The phone number is (617) 561-3333.

 

DEOMOCRACTIC CAUCUS

Boston Ward 4 Democratic Caucus: The Ward 4 Democratic Committee, which covers precincts in Back Bay, Fenway, and the South End, will be hosting its 2018 caucus to elect delegates to the 6/2 Massachusetts Democratic Party convention in Worcester on Feb. 10 at 10a.m. at the South End Library. Doors will open at 9:30a.m. All registered Democrats living in Ward 4, as well as anyone interested in newly registering as a Democrat, are welcome to participate. Delegates will vote on gubernatorial and other statewide candidates. Questions? Email ward4dems@gmail.com.

Boston Ward 5 Democratic Caucus: The Ward 5 Democratic Committee, which covers precincts in Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Fenway, Bay Village, Chinatown, the South End, and the West End, will be hosting its 2018 caucus to elect delegates to vote on statewide candidates at the June 2, Mass. Democratic Party convention in Worcester. The caucus will be held on Saturday, March 3 at 10 a.m. in the Guild Room of Old South Church (645 Boylston St., Boston). Doors will open at 9:30a.m. All registered Democrats living in Ward 5 are eligible to participate, as is any Ward 5 resident interested in newly registering as a Democrat that day. Please e-mail ward5boston@gmail.com with any questions.

 

OPPORTUNITY FUND WORKSHOP

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture is holding a workshop in Fenway at the YMCA of Greater Boston, 316 Huntington Ave, Classroom 3, on February 7 from 6 – 8 p.m. to discuss the Opportunity Fund, which provides grants to support meaningful one-time opportunities for artists to further develop their career and expand the reach of arts opportunities in Boston’s communities. The City’s Artist Resource Manager, Julia Ryan, will host the workshop and she will go over the application process as well as answer any questions people have about the grant.

A registration link can be found on eventbrite.com.

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