While paying a visit to The Foundry on Northampton Street last weekend, I came across this house located directly across the street that was in the middle of a serious renovation. The house is one of the ten houses being rehabilitated by Belmont Shelter in Masten Park with a total budget is $3.5 million (contractor is Burke Brothers). The house seen here was headed for demolition, but was eventually removed from the demo list when some pressure was applied by concerned parties. The Victorian house was in fair condition.
Mike Gainer wrote about this in a blog post at Net Positive
- The article is posted below, along with an image of what the house once looked like...
And Another Kind of Green - Michael Gainer
Another example--I live two doors down from a local house renovation, a project I'm ecstatic is happening. It's exactly the type of project we want to support. Housing redevelopment, on the East Side, utilizing existing housing stock, taking a house off the City's demolition list, and making sure the final product will fit nicely within the existing neighborhood--these are all tremendous things. They're rehabilitating nine similar homes in our humble Masten Park neighborhood and I'm undoubtedly happy it's happening here.
That being said, I learned the other day the budget was approximately $350,000 per home. Again, it's difficult for me to understand how this is a sensible expenditure, particularly in a neighborhood where housing values average $35-$40,000.
I understand the subsidy system, I understand the motivation, I strongly support local jobs, I'm even hopeful this investment will create other economic benefits at the neighborhood level. All the contractors are doing excellent work, but when I hear the price tag, I can't help but dream about the possibilities of how to spend three million dollars in one neighborhood, SENSIBLY, if we were given free innovative reign.