The Boston Globe

Newton family offers city nearly 15 acres for $24 million

Halsey Fulton, Fishhawk Films
A Newton family is offering the city nearly 15 acres of land near Newton South High School for $24 million. In this photo illustration provided by LandVest Real Estate, the property's boundaries are highlighted by an outline. Brandeis Road and the high school can be seen in the lower part of the photo. HALSEY FULTON, FISHHAWK FILMS


A Newton family is offering the city the chance to buy about 15 acres of largely undeveloped land for $24 million — and local officials are soliciting developers’ proposals on partnering with the city to make a deal.

The property, located close to Newton South High School, stretches between Dudley and Brandeis roads, and a majority of the site already is zoned for single-family housing, according to Mayor Ruthanne Fuller. But the city is considering whether the property could be used for public open space, affordable housing, or for the schools.

Fuller said the city is exploring the potential of joining with a developer to purchase the property.

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“This approach, which has been used successfully here in Newton and elsewhere, may provide us with an opportunity to achieve both some of the City’s desired outcomes for the property and at the same time partner with a developer to submit a competitive acquisition offer,” Fuller said in a statement.

The property is currently owned by longtime Dudley Road residents Dr. Lois Slovik and Dr. David Slovik, who have owned the bulk of the land since 1979.



In addition to an undeveloped 13-acre parcel, the Sloviks own a 1912 Colonial-style home at 85 Dudley Road and a 1965 raised ranch at 132 Brandeis Road they purchased in 2011. All three properties are included as part of the proposed sale to the city.

The couple declined to be interviewed and asked LandVest Real Estate to serve as their representatives, according to David A. Rosen, the company’s chairman.

Both have deep ties to Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Lois Slovik is a psychiatrist and the director emeritus of the Couples and Family Therapy Program at the hospital, and is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the medical school.

David Slovik is a hospital endocrinologist and an associate professor of medicine at the medical school.

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In a statement to the Globe, Rosen said the Sloviks know that the property has “significant development potential.”

“They wish to give the City of Newton and Newton Conservators the opportunity to purchase the property before putting it on the market in order to see whether the property could be used for” purposes like the expansion of open space, the school district, recreation, or other municipal uses, according to Rosen.

“They would particularly like to see the property used for public purposes as open space,” Rosen said.

Large blocks of undeveloped land do not come to market often in Newton, and when they do, the city has to contend with the astronomical value of local real estate, which is far higher than in most of the region.

In the Garden City, the median single-family home price was about $1.6 million in September, up nearly 25 percent from a year earlier, according to Redfin. By contrast, the median single-family home price in Eastern Massachusetts climbed to $900,000 earlier this year.

Under the city’s current zoning rules, the 15-acre property could be used to create about 20 single-family homes, Fuller has said.

In Newton, the closest example of what this sort of arrangement might look like was the purchase of 40 acres of Kesseler Woods land off Vine Street in 2003.

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At the time, the city worked with a developer to put up the roughly $15 million purchase price — the city’s share was about one-third of the cost — in order to preserve about half of the land as open space. In 2015, the city approved 88 rental apartments for the remainder of the property, including about a dozen affordable units.

The last time the city acquired a large swath of land was in 2019, when it used eminent domain to take about 15 acres of Webster Woods from Boston College. The city announced it would pay the university $15.2 million for the Hammond Pond Parkway property, which Fuller said would be preserved as open space.

But the university has opposed the taking, and the sides have been wrangling in Middlesex Superior Court over the land’s value.

Meanwhile, Fuller is making the case for a $15 million tax increase to help fund city services and schools, plus school building projects.

Fuller said the city has not yet determined how it would fund any purchase from the Sloviks.

“We look forward to seeing the responses to the request for Expressions of Interest [from developers] and what a potential partnership might be, before determining how or whether the City might choose to fund this potential project,” Fuller said in a statement to the Globe.

Developers have until Dec. 1 to make their proposals to the city, and those concepts will be reviewed by a team of city housing, school, and environmental officials.

The group also includes Rick Lipof, the City Council’s vice president and a city councilor from Ward 8, where the property is located.

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If the city and a developer partner were to ultimately acquire the site, any potential development would still fall under the review of city boards and departments, according to Lipof.

“The interest will guide where we go. We can tell people what we want to see and the components that we welcome. But we’ll have to see what comes forward,” Lipof said.

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