The mysterious stall of the Mission Church complex redevelopment has left Smith Street stuck with the worst of both worlds—grand, yet boarded-up, buildings that could be good for a million things. It’s time for some authority to give the owners an official tap on the shoulder and see what the problem is.
Community planning on the project was a typical Menino-era muddle of controversy, illegal secrecy and fuzzy numbers. Nonetheless, a plan resulted and sits on a BRA shelf. The City should find out whether anything can be done to help it happen, or perhaps help find a new developer to take over.
Maybe everyone has feared reopening this particular can of worms. But the City’s leadership is in a new era. So is Mission Hill’s development, as evidenced by the consensus-driven plan for the Clutch Works site—or, for that matter, Harvard’s attractive use of one of those old church buildings.
Let’s extend a helping hand instead of continuing to avert our eyes.