GentriWatch: Thanks to Luxury Condos, Small Business Could ‘Meat’ Its Demise

KO Pies in South Boston is fighting for its life, while a beloved Chinatown bakery is closing after 33 years.

Welcome to GentriWatch, where we look for signs of gentrification happening around the city.


 

AFTER JUST FIVE YEARS in business, Australian meat pie peddler KO Pies in South Boston could soon be snuffed out by luxury condominiums, in a scene ripped from Pixar’s Up.

KO Pies, located at the corner of A and West Third streets, is situated in the middle of a Boston Redevelopment Authority-approved, 100-unit complex with retail planned for the first floor.

“Here’s this modern, brand-new building, and then there’s our little old building,’’ owner and Wollongong, Australia native Sam Jackson told the Boston Globe‘s Thomas Farragher. “It doesn’t make any sense. You don’t have to be an architect or a city planner to look at it and go: What’s that?’’

Jackson, 37, and developer Spaulding & Slye Investments met, but failed to reach a settlement for either a buyout or better integration into the design.

“When a community group was formed by local officials to review plans for the development, Jackson and his partners weren’t on it. Jackson said he tried—and failed—to get the attention of South Boston City Councilor Bill Linehan,” writes Farragher, who similarly failed to receive a response from the City Council president.

• • •

ONE OF LINEHAN’S campaign posters hangs on the side of Coffee House in Chinatown, which has shuttered its doors after 33 years.

As the Fort Pointer notes, this is only the latest in a series of closings in Chinatown due to surging rents.

• • •

CURBED ISSUED ITS list of predictions for the Boston real estate market this fall, as the city’s appetite for luxury housing peters out. From the eventual topping-off of the Millennium Tower to the Green Line extension (if ever completed), there will be plenty to watch for.

“Why is the approximately 690-foot Millennium Tower that important?” Tom Acitelli writes. “Well, the Manhattan-esque prices for one thing. For another the spire’s potential to transform the surrounding Downtown Crossing neighborhood once and for all.”

• • •

THE BRA IS making nice with the neighborhood it helped raze to rubble a scant few decades ago.

In an attempt to extend its authority 14 active urban renewal zones, the BRA is collaborating with the West End Museum for an exhibition titled “Dewey Defeats Truman/The Housing Act of 1949.” It will feature maps, archival photos, and documents detailing the passage of the landmark legislation, which gave rise to the controversial strategy known as “slum clearance.”

“Regardless of how well-intentioned federal urban renewal may have been, the ultimate result for the West End was the complete destruction of a vibrant, tight-knit community and the displacement of thousands of families who called that neighborhood home,” West End Museum curator Duane Lucia said in a release.

The BRA’s mea culpa comes ahead of the Boston City Council, BRA Board of Directors, and the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development vote on extending its urban renewal authority, which expires next year.

Notice something changing in your neighborhood? Let me know: [email protected], @KyleClauss.