On Tuesday, a demo-delay hearing is scheduled with the City of Boston Landmark’s Commission on the demolition of the Gate of Heaven School
. Back in January, it was reported
that the the Archdiocese of Boston plans to knock down the building and turn it into a parking lot. 40 parking spaces would be available for rent. The plan is the cash from the rentals
will be used to help with the upkeep of the Gate of Heaven Church.
Since 2014, The Gate of Heaven School building has been in and out of the news for its development proposals.
Initially, Oranmore Enterprises proposed converting the historic school building into into 31 condos with 40 parking spots. (The proposal was then revised to 26 condos.) The neighborhood erupted in opposition to the condos- and a counter campaign to keep the building a school called Kids Before Condos
formed. The mission of Kids Before Condos was to urge the Archdiocese to reopen the property as a charter school for neighborhood students.
When it was announced that the school would in fact be demolished and turned into a parking lot, the neighborhood seemed disappointed.
Father Casey from the Gate of Heaven Parish told the Boston Globe
it had explored alternatives such as senior housing, but decided against it. “Elderly housing is something we looked at seriously, but it brought financial risk in years to come,” Casey said.
So now with the hearing for demo-delay on Tuesday, everyone involved is being forced to stop and take a second look. Is a parking lot the best idea for the neighborhood? A parking lot that most likely will eventually be developed into condos in the future. If condos/housing will ultimately to be on that parcel – why not keep the historic building?
The initial rejected proposal for senior housing was submitted by a local non-profit. This proposal would be funded through the Seaport affordable housing obligations and create housing for seniors. So what does that mean? Well, it means Gate of Heaven/St. Brigid Parish would retain ownership of the building and could create income from rent in addition to renting some of the parking spots on the property. It would be a win/win for the parish and the community. Rental income could help with the upkeep of the church and seniors in the community would have access to affordable housing. Seems like a better plan than just a parking lot.
What do you think?
The Boston Landmark Commission will hold its monthly hearing in room 409 of City Hall on Tuesday. The hearing will begin at 4:30pm. The demo-delay is listed on the agenda. You can see it here.