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Major projects coming to Jamaica Plain

Jeremy C. Fox | 4/14/2010, 6:03 a.m.
An architect’s rendering of the planned Arboretum Place development, to be built south of Forest Hills station (Image courtesy of WCI Corporation)

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An architect’s rendering of the planned Arboretum Place development, to be built south of Forest Hills station (Image courtesy of WCI Corporation)

photo

An architect’s rendering of the planned Arboretum Place development, to be built south of Forest Hills station (Image courtesy of WCI Corporation)



Jamaica Plain’s main thoroughfare, the Centre Street/South Street corridor, has undergone profound changes as the neighborhood has developed from a Victorian streetcar suburb to the culturally and economically diverse community it is today.

But recently city agencies and local developers have begun planning and construction on a variety of development projects and infrastructure improvements along that corridor that, if they all come to pass, will change the appearance, demographics and flow of life in the community in dramatic new ways.

As reported in the Banner earlier this month, some of the biggest changes are coming to Jackson Square. A local consortium of for-profit and nonprofit developers are launching a series of construction projects there that are planned to add more than 400 units of mixed-income housing, along with ample retail, recreation and community spaces.  

But follow Centre and South Streets as they curve southwest through the neighborhood, and several other projects promise their own significant changes.  

Just a few blocks down Centre Street, between Jackson and Hyde Squares, the campus of the former Blessed Sacrament Church is in the midst of a remarkable reconfiguration.

Sold in 2005 by the Catholic Church to the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) and New Atlantic Development for $6 million, the seven-building campus has been under construction for well over a year and already boasts one project that’s completed and inhabited.

Creighton Commons, a complex made up of the former rectory and a new building that together include 16 below-market-rate condominium units, opened late last year.

Right next door, at the intersection of Centre and Creighton Streets, another new building is steadily taking shape, one that will include 36 units of cooperative housing above ground-floor retail spaces, and is planned to be finished by October of this year.

On the other side of Creighton Commons, at the corner of Creighton and Sunnyside Streets, the developers plan to convert a former convent to 28 single-room occupancy units to be made available to the formerly homeless and operated by the Pine Street Inn. That project is intended to be completed by March of next year.

The former church building may soon become a quasi-communal “cohousing” development of 37 condos (four would be “affordable” and the rest sold at market rate) and shared community spaces.

Late last year, Stony Brook Cohousing and Rees-Larkin Development signed a purchase and sale agreement for the church, and in January they selected Mostue and Associates as architects for the project, which is scheduled to begin construction in December.

Just a block from the Blessed Sacrament campus, Hyde Square may soon see a variety of changes under the Centre/South Streetscape and Transportation Action Plan, a project funded through the city’s capital plan that will bring improved sidewalks and plantings, new benches and a variety of other changes to the corridor.

The plan is a collaboration between the Boston Transportation Department, the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services. They are now largely focused on making changes to the Hyde Square rotary and the Monument Square intersection at the far end of Centre Street’s commercial strip, two places where planners say streets are wider than necessary and some of the area could be used to increase pedestrian safety and add more green space.