GentriWatch: Another Hotel for Chinatown?

Plus, the fight over West Roxbury's beautiful Allandale Woods.

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

Rendering via Boston Redevelopment Authority

Rendering via Boston Redevelopment Authority

Fresh off the grand reopening of the newly renovated Godfrey on Washington Street in Downtown Crossing, nearby Chinatown could soon get another hotel.

One of the latest projects under review at the Boston Redevelopment Authority is a striking, 17-story, 250-room hotel on Essex Street. Submitted by New York-based developer Westbrook Partners, the project would replace the existing eight-story, combined warehouse and office building.

“It is anticipated that the hotel will serve a variety of guests, including business travelers as well as those visiting colleges and tourists,” the project’s plans say.

Westbrook credits the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for the uptick in demand for hotels in the area.

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Allandale Woods in West Roxbury has become the latest battleground between a Boston neighborhood’s residents and a developer, with the BRA caught in the middle.

Developer Jacqueline Nunez wants to build 20 residential units embedded along an idyllic stretch that runs through the forest. Community members packed a recent BRA meeting to voice their concerns, as well as their disappointment with the apparent disregard for existing zoning.

“I think this is the point where we, as a city, should say zoning should matter for something,” resident Jackie Lees told WGBH’s Adam Reilly. “It’s a contract with residents. It’s a contract with the community.”

The BRA’s comment period for the project will remain open until May 5. Even if the board green-lights Nunez’s project at 64 Allendale, the Zoning Board of Appeals still must grant a zoning variance.

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Donmatías is a small mountain village in northern Colombia. But there are more Donmatíans living in East Boston than there are back home.

Violence and economic downturn in the 1960s sent Donmatían immigrants packing for Massachusetts. In fact, moving to Eastie became a “coming-of-age tradition” in Donmatías, PRI reports. Catholic mass from the church back in Donmatías is still live-streamed in many East Boston homes.

But neighborhood’s rapidly rising rents and rampant evictions could threaten the Donmatían enclave. “This Latino diversity is what makes this neighborhood nice and rich,” Café Gigú owner Adrián Cadavid says. “That’s beginning to get lost.”

Cadavid says that the only way to keep the neighborhood intact and its poorest from fleeing is for wealthier Donmatíans to resist selling their property to developers, who intend to build luxury condos.

Notice something changing in your neighborhood? Let me know:, @KyleClauss.