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Dorchester’s Uphams Corner due for major gentrification protection from city

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Boston buying up properties

Matthew in Boston/Flickr

The City of Boston and its partners are buying up properties in Dorchester’s Uphams Corner to protect the enclave from what the city says is a looming wave of gentrification sure to sweep longtime residents right out.

To that end, the city and its partners, including the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, have bought sites such as the former Bank of America building on Columbia Road and the former Citizens Bank branch across the street. The city also owns the Strand Theatre and a parking lot.

These sites are slated to become below-market-rate housing, and they might host a public library branch, too, as well as retail and community space.

It’s not clear, though, if such efforts to direct Uphams Corner’s housing stock and neighborhood fabric from City Hall will work. A similar effort in Roxbury’s Dudley Square has had uneven results.

It’s also not clear what, exactly, the city has in store for the sites it owns. The library, for instance, is speculative; and the amount of housing—and its location(s)—is still up in the air.

Also unclear: Whether building lots of market-rate housing instead wouldn’t lower rents and prices much more quickly as inventory in Uphams Corner bounces to satisfy demand. Stay tuned.