Richard Giordano of the Fenway CDC visited seniors at the Peterborough Senior Center on Aug. 27 to provide an update on what has been happening in the Fenway neighborhood recently.
Giordano discussed the Fenway CDC’s work in 2018, and presented attendees with copies of the 2018 report, which included information about the organization’s housing development and preservation achievements, education and workforce development, neighborhood strengthening, and community events that have been organized by the Fenway CDC.
He talked about the recent bus trip down to New Britain, Conn., to protest the evictions of women from the Our Lady’s Guild House. Giordano said that the Attorney General is investigating “because it sounds like there is discrimination against women and [the owners] may be violating their charitable mission,” which is to provide affordable housing for women. Though some of the women have left the house, “a lot of the women are staying and fighting,” he said. They expect to hear back from the Attorney General in October, he added, and then they will decide what the next steps will be.
Giordano gave some other brief updates, including that the next annual Taste of the Fenway is on Sept. 12. Last year’s event drew 600 people, and this year’s Fenway Ball brought 339 people to the top of the Prudential Tower for a celebration of the CDC’s accomplishments.
The discussion then shifted to development updates. Parcel 12, which has been approved by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), consists of two stories of restaurants and shops with parking on the top level of a two story bridge over the Mass Pike at a section of Boylston Street and Mass. Avenue Developer Samuels & Associates has proposed an office building on the parking lot, widening the sidewalks, a better pedestrian area, and a bigger bus stop as part of the project, Giordano said.
The proposed 5,000-seat Fenway Theater also recently received BPDA approval, which some of the seniors had concerns about. One said that she already has concerns about the outdoor concerts at Fenway Park in the summer, and knick-knacks inside her house rattle from the bass at the concerts. Others say that the concerts are less loud this year, and Giordano said that since the Fenway Theater is an indoor venue, the noise shouldn’t really be an issue in the same way the outdoor concerts have been.
Also approved by the BPDA is a 184 unit hotel at 1241 Boylston St., at the site of the Shell gas station, which will be part of the project. Seniors were upset about this project because they said they have commented on this project and others at public meetings, but they feel that their comments are not taken into consideration as these buildings end up moving forward anyway. Many of them expressed concern with the height of the proposed hotel, and Giordano said that the developers have reduced the height of the project slightly because of the Victory Gardens and its need for sunlight in certain areas. The developers will also be giving money to the Parks Department for a set period of time as well, he added.
Finally, the Millennium Tower Penthouse is back on the market for $45 million, and Giordano said that a possible way to fund affordable housing is to tax sales like these at a higher rate.
State Sen. Will Brownsberger is expected to speak at the Peterborough Senior Center later this month, and there will also be a LivableStreets Transportation Engagement presentation as well.