Lottery sale price is $283.3k for rehabbed, city-seized home

This home at 88 Milton Street, center in green, is being renovated and prepared for a sale through lottery next month. Photo by Ed Forry

A longtime eyesore on an otherwise desirable Cedar Grove side street is getting a complete makeover this month and will soon be sold to a first-time homeowner. The small, single-family home at 88 Milton St. is part of an initiative by the Walsh administration to target prominent eyesores that can be reclaimed by new owners.

The Milton Street home was seized earlier this year through a joint effort of the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) and the Corporation Counsel’s office in suing the former owners for their failure to pay taxes on the property. The house has been unoccupied and boarded up for a number of decades, its ownership involved in a probate dispute. In recent years, the unpaid tax bill had mounted significantly, and city attorneys took action.

DND chief Sheila Dillon explained that the city issued a request for proposals (RFP) to find a developer to renovate the building and received five proposals before selecting Escazu Development, owned by My Lam. “He bought the property and is renovating it. He will turn around and sell it to a first-time homebuyer,” she said. The renovated three-bedroom home will feature central air and heat, new energy-efficient windows and appliances, and off street parking.

As part of the agreement with the city, Lam must sell the property for a pre-arranged price of $283,300. The buyer will be determined through a lottery administered by DND, which is currently accepting applications. The city requires applicants to be first-time homebuyer who have completed an approved course prior to closing and who meet income requirements. The maximum income for a two-person household is put at $75,300 and the figure scales upwards based on household size. The deadline to send in an application, which can be downloaded at bostonhomecenter.com, is June 6; the lottery will be held on June 20.

“It’s a good starter house for a young couple or maybe people who just want to get together and stay in the neighborhood,” said Sean Weir, president of the Cedar Grove Civic Association. Neighbors had long hoped for a city intervention and are “ecstatic” that finally relief has come. “Most neighbors kept up the property, mowed the lawn, just trying to make it as nice as possible,” said Weir. “It’s a good opportunity, especially these days. A lot of younger people can’t afford to live here.”

Dillon said that DND intends to target other homes that can be re-purposed and re-sold through a public-private initiative. Mayor Walsh has been very focused on the problem properties,” she said. “We just had another meeting about it (on Tuesday]. He very much wants these buildings renovated and put back into productive use.”