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To: Mayor Michelle Wu, City of Boston and the Boston Planning and Development Agency

Preserve a JP Landmark & Create a More Affordable Jamaica Plain!

Preserve a JP Landmark & Create a More Affordable Jamaica Plain!

The Monastery of St. Clare, also known as Poor Clare Nuns Monastery, is located in a 90-year-old purpose-built structure located at 920 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, Boston. This beautiful and historic building is at risk of demolition, so that a private developer can build expensive, exclusive luxury buildings—rather than what the community really needs: more affordable housing.

We are calling on the City of Boston, the Landmarks Commission, and the Boston Planning and Development Agency to:
- Preserve and protect a Jamaica Plain landmark with rich regional and national significance;
- Conduct an equitable and accessible community planning process for the re-use of 920 Centre Street;
- Take into account the strong need for affordable housing in the Ponds/Hills section of JP as it considers proposed future plans for the building and the parcel; and,
- Require that housing on the parcel include at least 25% affordable units at deeply affordable levels.

The current structure and any new construction on this parcel of land must include substantial affordable housing, in line with the inclusionary zoning requirements adopted by the JP Neighborhood Council, to preserve the diversity and meet the needs of Jamaica Plain and Boston.

Why is this important?

There is a serious shortage of affordable housing across Boston, especially in the Pondside and Jamaica Hills sections of JP, where the monastery is located. In 2021, the City of Boston committed to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, and now requires that developers analyze and account for the history of racial exclusion and segregation in any new housing development. The monastery offers an opportunity to realize fair housing principles and create housing for folks that have been historically excluded: working class, people of color, and/or people with accessibility needs.

If the city allows Holland Development to demolish the monastery, they plan to develop 26 market-rate condominiums. Under the city and neighborhood inclusionary policies, we might achieve a few affordable units. However, if we can preserve the building and win a robust planning process, then there is room for more creative re-use and more affordable housing.

The City of Boston and the Landmarks Commission must put the needs of the community ahead of developers. Many community members would like to see the building preserved for its historical and architectural associations with Jamaica Plain’s development, Boston’s religious history, the significance of this Poor Clare Monastery in the history of the Order in the United States, and its organizing and charitable work domestically and abroad. The parcel at 920 Centre Street is large - nearly three acres. The wider community should have a voice in the future of this prominent, large and unique parcel. In the process of responding to the owners’ demolition request, the Boston Landmarks Commission staff has also determined that the monastery building (built in 1932) itself has historical significance.

The current structure and any new construction on this parcel of land must include substantial affordable housing, in line with the inclusionary zoning requirements adopted by the JP Neighborhood Council, to preserve the diversity and meet the needs of Jamaica Plain and Boston.

How it will be delivered

We will delivery signatures via email to Mayor Wu and the Director of the Boston Planning and Development Agency. We will also send signatures to the Director of the Boston Landmarks Commission and other relevant city officials, as well as city councilors and state legislators who represent JP. We also need people to turn out for the Boston Landmarks Commission Hearing, coming up soon. To receive the date and more info, sign up at bit.ly/PoorClaresSignup

Updates

2022-05-15 21:08:08 -0400

100 signatures reached

2022-05-09 12:43:16 -0400

50 signatures reached

2022-04-27 19:54:09 -0400

25 signatures reached

2022-04-27 08:34:34 -0400

10 signatures reached