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Condos or the Collins? South Boston Mansion Fight


The battle over the James Collins Mansion in Southie is reaching a fever pitch. On one side is a developer who just wants to make money on his investment while following the rules; on the other are angry residents and the politicians not afraid to publicly agree with them.

In December, developer Rocco Scippa bought the 1867 estate at 928-930 East Broadway, which includes a separate three-family house as well as the main house with around 22 rooms, for $2,200,000 (a relative song given its listing in early 2012 for $2,450,000). He then announced plans to demolish it and create 11 market-rate condos. Given the community opposition that's arisen, Scippa tells The Herald he's happy to consider preserving the main house; but he wants those 11 condos either way: "It doesn't make sense. It's probably the best property in South Boston besides the Seaport area."

So what might happen to the James Collins Mansion? Probably demolition, despite the community opposition and support for it from local pols. You remember that lesson we gave as part of Curbed University on historic preservation? Of course you do. The Boston Landmarks Commission is considering the demolition as the mansion is at least 50 years old. But will they designate it historic and therefore save it? Meh. The chairman of the Suffolk U. history department puts it this way: "Legislation does specify that something has to have local, regional or national importance, and the Boston Landmarks Commission does tilt toward national importance."
· Battle for Historic Manse [Herald]
· On Fearing a Southie of 'Yuppies and Puppies' [Curbed Boston]
· Boston Historic Districts and You [Curbed Boston]