archBOSTON.org

Go Back   archBOSTON.org > Boston's Built Environment > Development Projects

Development Projects New urban and/or architectural developments in Boston metro.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 02-10-2008, 03:50 PM   #41
nico
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Chelsea
Posts: 413
Re: Alexandra Hotel

Thanks again Toybug.
If you go to Google maps' street view, from 360 Main St. to 400, you'll see the remaining commercial space that I'm talking about. From 340 to 356 are the commons w/the town hall and fire dept behind. If you look Ron, you can tell from the trees that the common is young. On the back side the remaining commercial and residential is 22-26 Central St. We?re literally talking a few houses on either side that lead up to a handsome brick/stone buildingin the square, the Dow building. It would have created a nice wall for the common.
I do believe that there was some commercial space that was razed for the common as well, so the whole situation just doesn?t make sense to me, but that?s Stoneham for you.
nico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2008, 06:50 AM   #42
stellarfun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: salem ma and washington dc
Posts: 4,418
Re: Alexandra Hotel

Quote:
Dozens of masked protesters blast Scientology church

Web-based foes guard IDs, assert risk of retribution

By John S. Forrester, Globe Correspondent | February 11, 2008


A group of more than 50 masked protesters gathered yesterday outside of the Church of Scientology of Boston headquarters on Beacon Street to demonstrate against the policies of the church. Protesters said the event was part of a worldwide demonstration against the church by Anonymous, an informal Internet-based group.


Donning Guy Fawkes masks modeled after those worn in the 2005 film "V for Vendetta," or face coverings improvised with T-shirts or scarves, participants began to assemble in front of the building at the corner of Beacon and Hereford streets around 11 a.m.


The story of Fawkes, an Englishman sentenced to death for attempting to blow up the House of Lords with kegs of gunpowder in 1605, was revived in the fictional "V for Vendetta," in which a crowd of people wear identical masks to challenge the government.


Yesterday, the group, chanting slogans and holding signs bearing anti-Scientology messages, urged passing cars to honk in support.


In a statement, the Church of Scientology of Boston said that Anonymous is "a group of cyberterrorists who hide their identities behind masks and computer anonymity" and target Scientology "for no reason other than religious bigotry."


Gerard Renna, director of the Church of Scientology of Boston, said in an interview yesterday that church services were not affected by the protest. Members of the church continued to enter through the front entrance as two Boston police officers stood outside the door. The church hired four officers for private details to ensure that parishioners and people in the neighborhood were safe, according to a Scientology spokesperson.


The group Anonymous has never protested in front of the Boston location before, Renna said.


The Detriot Free Press reported on its website that members of Anonymous protested in front of a Church of Scientology in Farmington Hills, Mich. About 200 protesters gathered outside a church in Clearwater, Fla., according to the Associated Press.
Nearly all Boston protesters interviewed said they did not know anyone else at the event, or know who was leading the group. "That's Anonymous. There is no hierarchy. Everyone is in charge of themselves," said a 20-year-old from Cape Cod who declined to give his name.


Five of six people interviewed refused to give their names, saying they feared retribution from Scientologists. One protester, Netanel Ganian, a 24-year-old student at Berklee College of Music, said he did not like some of Scientology's practices and defended Anonymous.


"It's a bunch of people. It's a convenient bubble to form under. There's no leader," he said.


Word about the event spread through online videos on YouTube, message boards, and websites critical of Scientology, protesters said.


The 20-year-old said he attended "to protest the greed of the church and how the church acts towards its members."


None of those interviewed said they knew why so many attendees were wearing the Fawkes mask.


"I can't say, not having contact with the inner circle - wherever they are," said one protester who declined to be named.


"But I can say the image of people marching towards Parliament in the spirit of protest, that wall of masks, had a certain resonance amongst those who held negative feelings about organizations such as Scientology but also towards the government."

No arrests were made in connection with the protest, according to Boston police.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/art...tology_church/
__________________
A man gazing on the stars is at the mercy of the puddles in the road
stellarfun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2008, 07:38 AM   #43
statler
Moderator
 
statler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Approaching a City
Posts: 7,545
Re: Alexandra Hotel

^^ They're just being glib.
statler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2008, 02:51 PM   #44
InTheHood
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 103
Re: Alexandra Hotel

Quote:
Originally Posted by tobyjug
You may misunderstand the full import of the theory behind tax assessment, but you are right to say that commercial properties tax assessents are not reflective of the market values when a real estate market is rising. This can been particularly acute for commercial properties, which are typically valued by the income approach..
Actually, I think I understand the theory quite well, and I stand by my point: it doesn't work, and it's a joke.

The problem is with properties held for speculation, which by definition yield little (parking, perhaps a legacy tenant) or no income. An income approach is clearly irrelevant to such properties. The fact that the income approach continues to be (mis)applied is the problem.

While no one claims that assessments are a perfect guide to value, in the residential world, where valuations are based on precedent transaction, it's difficult for assessments to be off by orders of magnitude from valuation. In the commercial world, this happens frequently, and the phenomenon is most acute for property held for speculation - income is not, and never will be, the point for owners of property like the Alexandra.

Moreover, it's not just a factor of "when markets are rising" - because these properties aren't run for income, tax valuations can be out of whack for decades on end. Which just encourages the owners to continue to hold on - as the tax burden is trivial, the value can just be accumulated over time as unrealized (and therefore untaxed) capital gains.

Indeed, other things (such as the zoning climate or local economy) being equal or improving over the long term, it makes sense to sit on such properties forever ... over the cycle, the value of the prospective redevelopment tends to increase. The owner potentially has much more to gain from a redevelopment in 2020 than a redevelopment now, even presuming that means riding out a cycle or two or three. Indeed, several of the most notorious vacant lots downtown have been handed down through generations of the same family! The development opportunity is "always there," silently appreciating, untaxed.

For this reason, the principle of taxation on basis of income ought to be abolished for any property that is severely underutilized.
InTheHood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2008, 07:42 AM   #45
statler
Moderator
 
statler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Approaching a City
Posts: 7,545
Re: Alexandra Hotel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banker & Tradesman
City Officials, Residents Set To Battle Scientology Plan
By Thomas Grillo
Reporter


B&T staff photo by Thomas Grillo
The former Alexandra Hotel in Boston has been sold to the Church of
Scientology for $4.5 million. Neighbors prefer retail on the first floor that would
serve the area while the church wants a bookstore featuring Scientology
materials.


The Church of Scientology?s newest convert will be a former grande dame of Boston?s Washington Street.

Plans are under way for the church to restore the dilapidated Hotel Alexandra to its original luster. But city officials and residents of the South End and Lower Roxbury neighborhoods are preparing to battle the church over the first-floor uses of the 5-story landmark.

After more than a decade of promises by its owner to rehabilitate the building, Peter Bakis has sold the landmark at Washington Street and Massachusetts Avenue to the controversial church, best known for celebrity members such as actor Tom Cruise, for $4.5 million. The attorney representing the Church of Scientology said the church plans to renovate the building and convert the first-floor space to a Scientology bookstore and a caf?.

While the sale has brought relief to the neighborhood that the eyesore will finally be reborn, residents prefer ground-floor uses that will attract a broader crowd. ?The neighborhood has its share of problems with crime, homelessness, blight and boarded-up buildings, so many of us would like to see retail that brings people to the neighborhood,? said Christos Hamawi of the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association. ?A restaurant would work well or a small supermarket would be perfect. There?s potential to create jobs and provide retail that would be heavily used.?

Hamawi insisted that the neighborhood does not object to the church and he would make the same request of any new owner. ?It doesn?t matter what the organization is,? he said. ?This historic building is such a pivotal part of the neighborhood and what happens here can spur development all the way to Dudley Square. If not done right, it?s an opportunity lost.?

Randi Lathrop, the Boston Redevelopment Authority?s (BRA) director of community planning, agreed. She has talked to the church?s attorney and encouraged him to consider uses that would be more compatible with the area.

Former Boston City Councilor Michael J. McCormack, the lawyer for the Church of Scientology in Boston, confirmed that the church?s vision for the former hotel is to create a first level for visitors to browse Scientology books while having a cup of coffee in the caf?.

?The church has done more than 200 renovations of elegant buildings that have fallen into disrepair all over the world and they create a very welcoming place,? he said. ?They want you to come in, browse, and if you like what you see, ask questions; if not, you leave.?

Asked whether the church would meet the neighborhood?s and the city?s request for non-church-related retail, McCormack said it was too early to say.

?There have to be trade-offs,? he said. ?We are taking a building that was falling apart and will make it beautiful by activating the cityscape. To the extent that we can accommodate the neighborhood and the city, we will do it. But this is a church and not a commercial venture.?

Construction of the Hotel Alexandra in the mid-1870s was a speculative venture by Caleb Walworth and Emil Hammer, executives of the Walworth Manufacturing Co. in South Boston. The Alexandra was a residential hotel with commercial space at street level, a common building in the 19th century that provided wealthier urban dwellers with sprawling, well-appointed apartments in multi-unit buildings.

The building featured marble staircases, an elevator and metal-clad bay windows. The 2,000-square-foot apartments offered 12-foot ceilings, plaster crown moldings, steam heat, cast-iron columns and glass transoms for ventilation.

The Alexandra?s richly patterned sandstone facade provided a bold contrast to the brick row houses on Massachusetts Avenue. Its prominent corner location also created a gateway to Chester Square. The district retained its cachet as a fashionable residential neighborhood of single-family homes through the 1870s, at a time when much of the South End had converted into boardinghouses for immigrant and working families.

By the turn of the century, the fortunes of the Alexandra had changed. It too had become a boardinghouse, and construction of the Washington Street line of the Boston Elevated Railway in 1899 had obscured the building?s facade and turned the street into a noisy, less desirable place to live. The noise and intrusive design of the elevated streetcar brought a slow decline to the hotel and the neighborhood.

In January 2002, the BRA approved construction of 20 condominiums at the hotel. But Bakis showed no intention of moving forward with the project. As a result, Housing Court Judge Manuel Kyriakakis appointed a receiver to supervise the redevelopment. Since then, at least three offers were accepted, but none of the potential buyers could convince the owner to sign a purchase-and-sale agreement, a source close to the deals told Banker & Tradesman.

In 1993, a six-alarm fire of suspicious origin swept through the building. Later, a group of demonstrators occupied the upper floors in an effort to draw attention to the city?s homeless. They hung a banner from the top floor that said ?Housing Is a Human Right.?

Over the years, Bakis vowed to complete the renovation. But little was done to improve the building and promises to refurbish the Alexandra were broken, residents and officials said.

Since 2000, more than $650 million has been invested by public and private partnerships in the area. The Alexandra is one of the few blighted buildings on its block.

After years of stops and starts, at least one member of the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association is skeptical that the blighted building will be renovated. ?I don?t believe this will happen,? said Ray Lussier. ?We?ve been through this too many times and hopes have been raised and dashed too often for me to get excited about it. Perhaps the church has more credibility than previous buyers, but who knows??
NLA
statler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2008, 10:23 AM   #46
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,399
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Re: Alexandra Hotel

Quote:
"But this is a church and not a commercial venture."
Actually, it's a very lucrative commercial venture that falsely bills itself as a church.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2008, 11:05 AM   #47
nico
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Chelsea
Posts: 413
Re: Alexandra Hotel

Couldn't the same arguement be made for many other churches?
nico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2008, 11:48 AM   #48
ablarc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,528
Re: Alexandra Hotel

^ The problem's been around for a while:

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

"It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer', but you are making it a den of robbers."
ablarc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 12:24 PM   #49
Boston02124
Senior Member
 
Boston02124's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dorchester/Boston
Posts: 5,813
Re: Alexandra Hotel

maybe this is finally going to happen? taken today. 2
Boston02124 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 12:34 PM   #50
statler
Moderator
 
statler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Approaching a City
Posts: 7,545
Re: Alexandra Hotel

You took a picture of their sacred space?!?

Now you're screwed.
statler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 12:54 PM   #51
Boston02124
Senior Member
 
Boston02124's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dorchester/Boston
Posts: 5,813
Re: Alexandra Hotel

I was driveing by! now I,m screwed! oh well better screwed than not!
Boston02124 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 01:17 PM   #52
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,399
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Re: Alexandra Hotel

I wonder how long that sign remains untouched by creative graffitists.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 02:23 PM   #53
unterbau
Senior Member
 
unterbau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 548
Re: Alexandra Hotel

Can't they fight the Scientologists after the building is restored?
unterbau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2009, 10:20 PM   #54
JohnAKeith
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 4,175
Re: Alexandra Hotel

Article in this week's Boston Courant.

They don't publish online, here's the 411.

Church of Scientology will list its Back Bay headquarters next month. Once it has, it will then file "final architectural plans" with the BRA for its new South End home, located at 1759-1769 Washingon Street, in the South End.

The Back Bay headquarters is assessed at $3.6 million but the church's attorney believes its value at around $17 million.

The church is proposing the addition of a floor on the five-story Alexandra Hotel. (I'd support that.)

It won't present its plans to the BRA, etc., until its Back Bay property is listed for sale, presumably because it can't move until it has the money to renovate or at least a signed P&S.
JohnAKeith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2010, 11:15 PM   #55
commuter guy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 798
Re: Alexandra Hotel

Boston.com article:

Restoration on the corner
Church of Scientology reveals its plans for Hotel Alexandra
By Robert Preer, Globe Correspondent | January 23, 2010

The Church of Scientology plans to open a street-level cafe, bookstore, and chapel as part of its renovation of the 19th-century Hotel Alexandra, a long-faded Gothic beauty that for years has sat mostly empty at a prominent Boston crossroads.

The revived building would add more street life to a corner of the South End that is seeing more activity, and signals that the city?s desire to have the neighborhood revitalized after the removal of the elevated Orange Line on Washington Street is finally coming to pass.

The neighborhood is slowly beginning to take on the trappings of the more gentrified parts of the South End, though the area remains dotted with empty storefronts. A number of new restaurants, including fine dining venues, recently opened on Washington Street, adding to the South End?s reputation as a haven for foodies.

Residents and merchants said fixing up the Alexandra is key to solidifying the neighborhood?s makeover.

?It is going to add to the neighborhood and complete the corner,?? said Bill Raymer, owner of Restoration Resources antique store on Washington Street. ?It will look like it did in the 1800s. It?s an eyesore now.??

The church bought the building two years ago to be its New England headquarters. It now expects to submit a renovation plan to the city in early spring, and has already given neighborhood and business groups previews. The church will restore the elegant facade, which has columns framing the ground-floor entrances and sandstone blocks in contrasting shades above. The upper floors will have classrooms, a library, and meeting spaces, and the Scientologists plan to add a sixth floor that will be set back from the front of the building.

?This is going to revive a building that has been largely abandoned and empty for over 30 years,?? said Marc LaCasse, the church?s lawyer. ?It will activate the street with pedestrians and lights. People will be coming and going seven days a week.??

While a construction timetable has not been established, Church of Scientology officials expect work to begin shortly after city permits are granted.

When it opened on the corner of Washington Street and Massachusetts Avenue in 1875, the Alexandra was a meeting place for Boston high society at the junction of the city?s then most important thoroughfares. In the early 20th century, the property fell into decline and was turned into a rooming house.

A 1993 fire damaged the interior, and the upper floors are boarded up. South End residents, community leaders, and city officials have long felt the neglected building was a detriment to revitalization of the area, particularly the stretch of Washington Street that leads into Roxbury?s Dudley Square.

Linda Rubin Royer, executive director of the Washington Gateway Main Street program, said the restored building will make the area safer. ?They will have people there at all hours, and that will mean less crime.??

The Church of Scientology has rehabilitated a number of historic buildings in US and European cities for use as church centers. Scientology?s first church in Boston opened in the Back Bay in 1971. It plans to sell its current building on Beacon Street after relocating to the Alexandra.

The preference for restoring old buildings is symbolic, according to Graham Parker, executive director of the Church of Scientology-Boston. ?Scientology itself is about restoring life,?? Parker said.

Founded in the early 1950s by author L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology stresses the betterment and rehabilitation of the human spirit. Some of Scientology?s beliefs and practices have been controversial, in particular its stance that psychiatry is destructive and should be abolished.

The cafe and bookstore in the restored hotel will be open to the public. Parker said that while information about Scientology will be available in the cafe and store, he expects the establishments to draw people who are not necessarily interested in Scientology. ?I don?t think we?ll compete with Dunkin? Donuts, though,?? he added.

Joe Bornstein, owner of Olympia Flower Store on Washington Street, said, ?I would have preferred to see more of a retail presence on the first floor, but at this point, any renovation is a good thing.??

The Church of Scientology has been working to connect with the South End for several years. The church opened a storefront tutoring center next to the Alexandra several years ago and also runs a gun buyback program. Volunteers from the church helped with a recent park cleanup.

Residents and merchants said they have no issues with the church?s ownership, and are instead focused on the benefits they see coming from the renovation.

?Once the building is renovated, it will be a good thing,?? said Natalie van Dijk Carpenter, owner of Lekker Unique Home Furnishings on Washington Street.

?What I think about Scientology doesn?t matter.??

Robert Preer can be reached at preer@globe.com.

photo essay of south end which appeared with article:
http://www.boston.com/business/gallery/southendboston/
commuter guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2010, 11:22 PM   #56
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,399
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Re: Alexandra Hotel

Sad to see the Globe publish such a glowing article about a forthcoming source of blight.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2010, 08:13 AM   #57
ablarc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,528
Re: Alexandra Hotel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Newman View Post
... a forthcoming source of blight.
What blight?
ablarc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2010, 09:08 AM   #58
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,399
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Re: Alexandra Hotel

Scientology is a blight, since it is a fraudulent and dangerous organization. It should never be welcomed into any urban neighborhood.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2010, 10:08 AM   #59
tobyjug
Senior Member
 
tobyjug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: downtown
Posts: 3,186
Re: Alexandra Hotel

Well, as of this morning it is still a wreck.
tobyjug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2010, 12:01 PM   #60
czsz
Senior Member
 
czsz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: brooklyn
Posts: 6,052
Re: Alexandra Hotel

I think Christian Science is crazy, but their center is hardly a blight on Boston.

I really don't mind insane religions spending money to improve Boston. If/when reason puts them out of business, we'll inherit their handiwork.
czsz is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Washington Village | Andrew Square | South Boston racerc03 Development Projects 110 12-09-2018 10:03 PM
Six West Broadway Hotel |South Boston Rafal Development Projects 122 11-20-2018 03:43 PM
Boutique Hotel at 88 North Washington St | Bulfinch Triangle | West End datadyne007 Development Projects 42 01-23-2018 11:38 AM
Yotel Hotel | SPSQ parcel J | 65 Seaport Blvd | South Boston Waterfront BeeLine Development Projects 221 11-30-2017 12:00 PM
Gillette Plant Renovation (South Boston) statler Boston Architecture & Urbanism 8 09-14-2007 02:13 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:01 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.