Our City

Tsunami of Luxury Development

What can be done to stem the tide?

by

Boston is no stranger to Luxury Development and Gentrification. I am not an expert on the full history or current statistics but I am going to speak to what I see happening around me to myself and my friends.

In my opinion, working class people, people of color, artists, musicians, and alike are all under attack! The leaders of this attack are Mayor Marty Walsh, the Boston Development and Planning Agency, the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals, the Luxury Developers, and a whole host of self serving “upwardly mobile” who care nothing for what makes Boston great, and only for how they can benefit from it.

One Neighborhood Story: Jamaica Plain

I’ve lived in Jamaica Plain since 2000. I have loved this neighborhood because of it’s amazing diversity of cultures and economic strata, the mom and pop shops, the artists, musicians, grass roots organizers, non-profits, and the overall non homogeneous melting pot of people. I’ve watched gentrification creep in slowly over the years, and then spike up in an uncontrollable speed in the past 2 years. A Whole Foods Market moving into Hyde Square was basically the introductory death-knell of this neighborhood.

Age old question: Why live in a neighborhood if all you can do is live there?

Gentrification is a highly nuanced and complicated thing, but on a street level, what I see is people wanting to move to a neighborhood to take advantage of its arts and cultural heritage, funky restaurants and shops, and bars etc. But, the uncontrolled and unregulated actions of luxury developers leads to a ton of upwardly mobile people moving in, displacing the people who already live in the neighborhood, including the people that were responsible for making it a desirable place to be. More and more cookie cutter white bread people and less and less cultural diversity, arts, and local flavor. WTF?!

Why am I speaking out now? Because my block of JP is on fire and we need a bucket brigade of support to help keep what makes JP great from being wiped out!

This is what’s happening now!
120 Brookside JP: Longtime home of small independent businesses, artist studios, and diy practice space is being turned into Luxury Housing. Where did those people go? The overwhelming majority of them moved out of Jamaica Plain. Read More
128 Brookside: 40+ Artists (including amazing music and community venue “The Space”) have been evicted during the impending sale to a developer who wants to turn it into Luxury Condos. Most of these artists have to move their studios out of JP. Read More
***BTW THIS IS RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO 120 BROOKSIDE!
3353 Washington St/203 Green St: – Just around the corner, Jobs for Justice, the Somali Development Center (helping refugees), and other amazing nonprofits were evicted to make way for 45 Luxury Apartments. Read More
**Luckily a group of people on Green Street (including myself) are suing developer Mordechai Levin and the ZBA to delay this development.
****btw Mordy is the one that kicked 20 businesses and 50 artists out of 59 Amory st., which is still mostly empty 10 years later.

3371-3375 Washington St./197-201 Green St: City Realty wants to build a massive Luxury Complex around Mordechai’s building (above) and will be kicking out El Embajador Dominican Restaurant, and De Chain Auto Service to do so. Read More

4 Luxury Developments all within one block of where I live. And it’s only getting worse: This does not include two more massive Luxury Developments being planned also within one block radius of where I live.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING!? WHAT CAN WE DO TO AFFECT THIS?!!
 
Volunteer and/or donate to these orgs and causes:
Green St Renters (3353 Washington St): The four Green St. Renters that are taking on Mordechai Levin and the Boston Zoning Board of appeals need to raise a lot $$$ to keep the legal suit going. Please visit their Gofundme page and support!

**Full disclosure, this is my legal suit

Creativity over Condos (128 Brookside): Help them fight to turn the building into affordable mixed used artist live work space.
 

Keep It 100 Egleston – They work tirelessly to keep housing affordable in Roxbury and JP.

City Life/Vida Urbana – They provide free guidance for people facing foreclosure or eviction, and advocates for sustainable, accessible, and affordable communities.

Keep your eyes open people – its not just in JP; it’s in Cambridge, Somerville, East Boston, South Boston, Dorchester, Chelsea, basically everywhere around here. Get involved!!!

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Image by Pat Falco: Luxury Waters – Incredible Art Work by Pat Falco the sums up the abomination of Luxury Development happening in Boston and surrounding areas. The show is no longer up but definitely visit the website.

Big Shout Out to Boston Hassle – Doing more to keep underground non-commercial arts and community thriving in our fair cities.

Much love and respect ~ Jonah

 

ps – Hey Cambridge peeps, this one is for you:
Save the EMF Music and Arts Community from Eviction! 
Long time home to artists and musicians in Central Sq. Cambridge. The Middle East Club and other venues aren’t the only thing that make Central Square a vital cultural resource in Cambridge It’s the actual artists and musicians who make that part of the city great. And now they are being shoved aside for Luxury Development.
http://www.cambridgeday.com/2018/04/03/emf-building-buyer-will-talk-with-tenants-and-city-will-ask-about-buying-it-from-him/
**At least in Cambridge there is some talk of the city purchasing the building so that the arts and artists can stay in Cambridge.
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