City: Decision on Uphams Comfort Station coming soon

A long-vacant, city owned building on Columbia Road could be awarded to a private developer by the end of next week, according to the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development (DND). The old Uphams Corner Comfort Station next to the historic Dorchester North Burial Ground was built in 1922 to provide shelter and restrooms for streetcar commuters. These days, the building is a boarded-up eyesore— and it’s been like that since 1977.

Last fall, the city put the one-story stucco building “out for bid” with an asking price of just $100. But there’s a catch: Since the comfort station is on the National Register of Historic Places, whoever buys it will have to keep it largely intact.

Last week, about 50 people attended a community meeting at the Strand Theatre to hear from prospective developers. One party that had expressed early interest in the site was missing: The owner of 224 Boston Street— the popular bistro and bar— has decided not to pursue the property, according to DND Deputy Director Donald Wright.

Two proposals remain on the table, said Wright. One is a plan by local resident Abram Auguste to re-use the building for a day-care center for children ages 2-5. A second plan advanced by the American City Coalition and Historic Boston, Inc. would use the space for a new business, Bike Kitchen, a combination café and bike repair shop. The two non-profits have partnered with the Bowdoin Bike School, whose owner Noah Hicks would operate the bike shop.

City offers vacant parcels for sale

The City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development has released the first batch of “Request for Proposals” (RFPs) for a new Neighborhood Homes Initiative— a component of Mayor Walsh’s housing plan that seeks to offer up city-owned parcels for re-development. The city-owned properties posted for sale this week include parcels on Capen, Dyer and Thetford streets.

The initiative will offer financial support to qualified developers to build “moderate and middle income homes” using a “model home” design already approved by city officials and civic groups. The city’s DND will offer single subsidy grants and assist in marketing the homes for sale. Copies of the RFPs can be reviewed online at or call 617-635-4828 to have a copy mailed to you.



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