4 local buildings on City’s ‘distressed’ list

August 9, 2013
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Four Mission Hill properties are on the City’s latest list of vacant and “distressed” buildings. All of them have been on the Department of Neighborhood Development’s (DND) annual list for at least three years.

The properties include a large brick industrial building at 123-127 Heath St.; a long-vacant commercial building at 6-12 Pontiac St.; a brick building at New Heath and Parker streets at the back of New England Baptist Hospital’s 165 Terrace St. parking lot; and a former auto body shop at 1439 Tremont St. in Mission Hill’s main business district.

They are among 235 properties citywide that made the latest Distressed Buildings Report, which was compiled late last year and recently issued. It lists buildings that appear to be vacant and in some “distressed” condition.

DND compiles the list with the intention of reaching out to property owners to figure out new and improved uses for the buildings.

“The report not only helps us track the city’s individual distressed properties, but also helps us identify underlying trends that we can solve with a combination of on-the-ground services and thoughtful policy decisions,” DND spokesperson Lisa Pollack said in an email to the Gazette.

DND has helped out many property owners over the years. The 2012 citywide total of 235 distressed buildings is the lowest in the 15 years DND has been counting. But solutions also can be difficult. The Pontiac Street property has been on the list from the beginning.

The Distressed Buildings Report also analyzes vacancy trends by neighborhood. But all of that information is incorrect because the report uses an incorrect Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) map of Boston neighborhoods on which Mission Hill does not exist and almost all of its area is called Jamaica Plain. The BRA produced the deliberately incorrect map decades ago to make Census analysis easier and it has infected various City agencies. Following Gazette reports, the BRA is using a more accurate neighborhood map, but the incorrect map lingers, in part because of a lack of staff to redo previous reports to match a correct map.

To see the full report, see cityofboston.gov/dnd.

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