Housing Dreams Dashed on Mass/Cass as Hospital Potentially Looks at Key Property

By Seth Daniel

Officials from the Newmarket Business Association reported to the South End Forum Opiate Working Group that hopes for supportive housing at the corner of Melnea Cass and Hampden Street are likely dashed with reports of a pending sale to a Boston-area hospital.

Sue Sullivan, director of Newmarket, told the Working Group on Tuesday afternoon that the expansive property that once housed Bay State Spring and also a scrap-metal yard is said to be under agreement to an entity related to Children’s Hospital.

Children’s Hospital did not return an e-mail in time for comment on this development.

It had been a prime location scouted out by the group and Newmarket to potentially develop supportive housing to address the homelessness and addiction situation in the Mass/Cass area.

“We understand that property is now under agreement with a hospital of some sort – an entity with an affiliation to Children’s Hospital,” she said. “We had been looking at that as a significant development site on the corner of Melnea Cass,” said Sullivan. “I would never say residential, but this is an exception and great for residential along Melnea Cass and light industrial areas behind it. That would be great and a perfect fit for workforce housing. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going that way. It think it’s going to be a hospital.”

Sullivan said there was no way to know what the price was in the agreement, but she said the properties have been marketed in recent months for about $12 million.

For the Working Group, one of the hopes has been to create affordable, workforce housing and supportive housing with addiction services along the edge of Melnea Cass – taking what has become the face of the opiate epidemic and turning it into a solution with housing and services.

One of the key sites was at the Hampden corner.

For Sullivan, agreeing to any housing has been tough as Newmarket is voraciously protective of its industrial and commercial status – it being one of the few strictly industrial zones left in the city.

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