For Immediate Release
March 29, 2014
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Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Department of Neighborhood Development Director Sheila Dillon joined the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), Hyde Jackson Square Main Street, local business owners, and residents on Saturday to celebrate the completion of new neighborhood retail space and the grand openings of seven new businesses on Centre Street in Hyde/Jackson Square: Centre Street Sanctuary, Massachusetts Bay Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, The Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center, Peak Performance Chiropractic, Family Caregivers, Re/Max Destiny and Tails.
Today’s ribbon cutting ceremony also marked a major milestone in the revival of Jamaica Plain’s Hyde/Jackson Square Main Street District with full occupancy of 7,500 square feet of new retail space developed by the JPNDC and New Atlantic Development Corporation. The mixed-use building at the corner of Centre and Creighton Streets is part of the partnership’s $50 million redevelopment of the campus of the former Blessed Sacrament Church, one of the largest closed churches in the United States to be redeveloped for community use.
“Small businesses are the backbone of Boston’s neighborhoods. Today, we’re celebrating the evolution of the Blessed Sacrament parish site, and the new life that these seven new businesses bring to the streetscape, the Hyde Square neighborhood, and the community at large,” said Mayor Walsh. “The progress that has been made at this once vacant church site would not be possible without the tremendous commitment of Hyde/Jackson Square residents, JPNDC, Hyde/Jackson Square Main Street, Hyde Square Task Force, New Atlantic, and their partners. I also have to commend the business owners we met today for their dedication to bringing new, quality, goods and services to Jamaica Plain community.”
These businesses opened with over $10,000 of investment from Hyde/Jackson Square Main Street and the City’s Office of Business Development that leveraged over $800,000 in private investment. The opening of these establishments marks another milestone for the thriving Hyde/Jackson Square business district having created more than 31 new jobs.
Hyde/Jackson Square Main Street is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to the revitalization of Hyde/Jackson Square neighborhood commercial district. Since its designation as a Boston Main Streets District in 1998, Hyde Jackson Square Main Street has guided development along Centre Street by mobilizing hundreds of volunteers and working through partnerships with JPNDC, the Hyde Square Task Force, neighborhood groups, real estate developers, government, and business entities.
The JPNDC, a 37-year-old non-profit community development corporation, partnered with New Atlantic in 2005 to purchase the 3.2-acre Blessed Sacrament campus. The Archdiocese of Boston’s closure of the 115-year-old Blessed Sacrament parish in 2004 prompted parishioners, residents and small businesses to work with the City and local organizations to develop a suitable plan for its reuse. More than 1,400 signatures were collected in support of affordable housing and other uses that would benefit the Jamaica Plan community. Since 2005, the JPNDC/New Atlantic Development partnership has developed 81 affordable homes and new green space, as well as the retail space celebrated today.
Only one month ago, another milestone was reached when the Hyde Square Task Force, a non-profit serving 500 youth weekly, purchased the former church building for redevelopment as cultural and civic centerpiece for Boston's Latin Quarter. The Task Force already owns one of the parish’s former schools, where it operates numerous programs, including dance and music studios.
“We’re thrilled at how much the businesses in the new retail space really fit in, how much they complement ‘Boston’s Latin Quarter,” said JPNDC Executive Director Richard Thal. “When we started marketing this space, our country was in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. So the process took nearly four years—but our goal was to recruit independent small businesses and we never lost sight of it,” he added.