Neighbors Ready to Organize on Action Regarding Alexandra Hotel Impasse

By Seth Daniel

With time being of the essence on the blighted Hotel Alexandra, and a purchase recently falling through, neighborhood leaders in the South End are ready to begin organizing around a possible eminent domain taking.

Steve Fox, South End Forum moderator, said he and a group of neighbors have organized a meeting with city councilors, the Mayor’s Office, Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) Director Brian Golden, BPDA Planner Jonathan Grealey and others.

He said they plan to have the meeting shortly to discuss.

“We’re going to meet to talk about options,” he said.

He said that if there is some serious discussion in the neighborhood about eminent domain, given that the sale of the property by the Church of Scientology recently fell through due to what many believe is an unreal expectation regarding price.

Fox said if there is going to be the use of BPDA tools, such as eminent domain, that has to happen within the next few years before the six-year Urban Renewal extension expires. He said that few believe the South End will remain in an Urban Renewal area beyond the extension, which has only five years left now.

The BPDA had said during the renewal process last year that it wanted to keep the South End within Urban Renewal in order to clear up land titles on some Land Development Agreements (LDAs). That exercise has now been completed, and Fox said time is ticking.

“In five years, all indications are the Urban Renewal designation for the South End will go away,” he said. “Before that happens, let’s take advantage of these tools that the BPDA always says are available…We said the Hotel Alexandra will be our Avatar for how well or how poorly Urban Renewal tools are used in the South End.”

An attorney for the Church of Scientology indicated this week that there is nothing new to report on the status of the Hotel Alexandra.

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