The fight over the old St. Augustine's Church and School at 225 Dorchester Street in Southie has turned existential. A recent meeting between developers and residents seemed to hinge on why it was still there at all. As developer Bruce Daniel put it: "It seems to me the overwhelming sentiment is you want the church restored, so we're restoring the church. That's in it for you. You don't want to take the church down but you don't think restoring it is of any value to you. You can't have it both ways."
Daniels and his partners, however, are leaning toward preserving the church, though that, they warned residents, may mean fewer parking spaces at the site. It will also mean fewer luxury condos (25). No matter. Residents want the 139-year-old church, shuttered in 2004, to stay in some capacity, even though they have no use for it, really. Per Greg Turner and Ira Kantor in The Herald:
Incensed Southie residents at a crowded community meeting at the South Boston Boys and Girls Club lashed out at Daniel when he referred to both properties as "abandoned buildings." "It's not abandoned buildings, it's South Boston history," yelled one resident.
As for the adjoining old St. Augustine School, that's becoming condos, goddammit: two three-story residential complexes encompassing 48 units likely selling for somewhere in the ballpark of $450,000 to $500,000 apiece (with some percentage set aside as affordable housing). Predictably, the condo construction caused its own head-shaking among Southie residents, despite Boston's chronic housing shortage amid steady population growth. As Ed Flynn, son of former Boston Mayor (and, for that matter, ex-Vatican Ambassador) Ray Flynn, put it re: the developers' agreement to preserve the unused church: "This is only a small step. ... We have huge issues with not enough parking as it is. I live in this area, I see it every day. Adding more luxury condos is not the answer for this area."