GentriWatch: Mayor Walsh Considers Rewarding Boston’s Good Landlords

Plus, all eyes are on Eastie, while a Boston icon is up for grabs.

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


Martin Walsh

MAYOR MARTY WALSH WANTS to reward good behavior among Boston’s landlords.

Walsh’s administration is considering incentives for landlords offering units at below market-rate, including tax breaks and credits, reports the Globe‘s Tim Logan. Details are still hazy, with more information expected in the coming months.

In his State of the City address Tuesday night, Walsh announced the creation of the Office of Housing Stability, aimed at keeping Boston residents in the homes they already have.

“We should help people stay in their communities,” he said. “Tonight, I can announce a new Office of Housing Stability, to do just that. It’s going to develop resources for tenants, incentives for landlords who do the right thing, and partnerships with developers to keep more of our housing stock affordable.”

The office would not only work to increase the city’s stock of affordable housing, but also combat the troubling trend of evictions, particularly in East Boston.

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TO PARAPHRASE MUGATU, East Boston. So hot right now. East Boston.

Eastie was predicted to see the largest spike in home value in 2016. It led Boston’s neighborhoods with an expected home value growth of 4.9 percent, followed by North Dorchester with 4.5 percent and North Harvard in Cambridge at 4.2 percent.

“These people are searching for something more affordable than living in Beacon Hill and Back Bay,” Zillow’s chief economist Dr. Svenja Gudell told Boston.com’s Megan Turchi. “They still want neighborhoods that feel urban, have fantastic restaurants, and are walkable, but are not as expensive.”

Gudell attributed this to the “halo effect,” in which residents of a city’s centermost neighborhood flee to surrounding areas, where housing costs have yet to skyrocket.

• • •

A BOSTON ICON is up for grabs.

The Citgo sign that’s illuminated Kenmore Square since 1965 is for sale—or, more accurately, the building beneath it and eight others are for sale. Boston University enlisted the help of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank to sell off 334,000 square-feet of commercial space and cash in on Boston’s red-hot housing market.

“We want to promote development that makes Kenmore Square an even more vibrant part of the city and gateway to the BU campus,” BU president Robert A. Brown said. “That goal will be the guiding principle as we consider all the options available to us.”

The story on BU’s marketing site alludes to the transformation the once-seedy Kenmore Square underwent, as well as the role the university played in the “positive city building” that occurred. Also mentioned was the 2012 sale of Hotel Commonwealth, “which the University built on a block on the south side of Kenmore Square that had been home to head shops and raucous bars.”

Head shops and raucous bars? Heaven forbid.

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