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Goddard House puts Jamaica Plain property on market; seeks buyers who won't raze site

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  March 6, 2013 10:49 AM

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The Goddard House nursing home property along South Huntington Avenue in Jamaica Plain was put up for sale this week.

The board of the nonprofit that owns the property will give priority to offers that would spare the 86-year-old building in some fashion, according to Diana Pisciotta, a spokeswoman for the board.

“We have let the real estate community know that we would be eager for proposals that really share our belief that the building itself is a valuable asset,” she said by phone Tuesday. “Our understanding is that the building itself has quite a bit of potential for adaptive reuse.”

The spokeswoman said the board expects it will be several weeks or longer before bids on the property are submitted. After bids come in, the board will review them.

She said no asking price or timetable have been set. The property was put on the market on Monday.

Pisciotta said the board is also moving forward on a process to see how the nonprofit, a 164-year-old organization that also runs a senior care facility in Brookline, can find other ways to carry on its mission by filling gaps in the care available to seniors in the area. She said the board expects to finish that process in several months.

The board decided to sell the Jamaica Plain property because “it seems unlikely that we’re going to need the building to carry out our mission,” Pisciotta said.

The Jamaica Plain Gazette first reported this week that the property was for sale.

The building at 201 S. Huntington Ave. housed what was the state’s oldest nursing home until it shut down in September.

The two-acre property is located along a stretch of South Huntington Avenue where recent property sales, construction and major development proposals have stirred controversy in JP and nearby Mission Hill.

Most opposition to the projects has come from Jamaica Plain residents, while most support has come from residents of Mission Hill.

Because of that debate, the city’s redevelopment authority in December launched an ongoing study of the South Huntington Avenue corridor.

Officials at the authority have said they do not want the study to stop or delay development proposals.

The study aims to focus on development issues including: housing mix and affordability, transportation, parking, historic preservation, open space, access to green space, and the height, density, setbacks and use of buildings, officials have said,

In November, the city gave final approval for a project at 161 South Huntington to demolish a 98-year-old special education school building to construct a residential building with about 196 units and around 156 parking spaces. The Home for Little Wanderers, which operated its well-known Knight Children’s Center on that a 3.5-acre property, recently relocated some programming and services from the center to a larger campus it owns in Walpole.

In December, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council filed a lawsuit against the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals and the project’s developer in an attempt to overturn the board’s approval of the plans. The lawsuit remains in the early stages of the court process.

City regulators are reviewing another housing proposal nearby at 105A S. Huntington, that would clear a 1.1-acre wooded lot for a 12-story, 195-unit building, with a parking garage and retail.

Many have anticipated that the Goddard House property might be the next site on South Huntington to see significant change.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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