Dear Billy and Somerville News Weekly Speak Up Line,
OK, so… Word is that the School of Nursing and its neighboring parking lot has been sold by Cambridge Health Alliance. The price I’m hearing is $4.5 Million. That’s only hearsay, however.
Maybe more, maybe less? The building cost $600,000 to build in 1967 on land the hospital already owned. The adjacent parking lot was a home lot that was obtained a few years after that. No idea what the price was at that time, but I would say that $50,000 would have been on the extreme top end of it.
My point is that whomever bought the building and land got it for a veritable steal in today’s insane real estate market, even allowing for a structure (7-story cast concrete) that may or may not be converted to another use. If it’s not, and ends up being razed, I would find it hard to believe that a structure or structures of a similar height would go in its place.
All of this speculation is overarched by my profound dissatisfaction with Cambridge Health Alliance’s general lack of communication with the neighbors. CHA is a non-profit which receives significant public funding and which is custodian to a long-time public institution in Somerville. This has hardly been a transparent process, especially when you consider that CHA’s Chief Community Officer and Foundation President is, herself, a Somerville native who is touted as having “deep and long time relationships” with Somerville and its various community organizations and body politic. To a reasonable degree of tolerance, I feel they should have been a little more open about this sale, which I believe can and will have a significant impact on the neighborhood. That they have proceeded this far along with the sale with so little information being meted out to the neighbors is somewhat troubling to me. I cannot speak for others, however.
The only physical street address for this property shown is on Belmont Street and that’s # 78. Since it is not on the tax rolls, there’s no value on it. The yard in front on Lowell Street is not shown as a separate address even though it’s shown as a separate lot. Valuation book section 43 of the City Assessor’s map, lot No. 26 is the only designation. All available on line, so it’s public knowledge.
I’m told that the parking lot on Belmont Street where the old First Baptist Church used to be was also sold, but I don’t have any details on that.
Bottom line? I’m watching. I hope others on Spring Hill are watching also.
John Alan Roderick