Jul 29, 2022 - News

Boston's nastiest eyesores

Illustration of buildings drawn in an ugly, sloppy style and a sun that doubles as a smiley face with its tongue sticking out.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

As pretty as Boston is, with its harbor, rivers and enviable parks, it can also be downright gross when you look at its dilapidated or neglected buildings and infrastructure.

State of play: We asked readers to suggest some of the worst offenders around the area, and boy did they deliver.

  • We received dozens of suggestions for Boston's worst eyesores, and will name and shame some of them today, and as a recurring feature in the newsletter.

Why it matters: Decrepit vacant buildings and underutilized property take away much-needed housing, commercial and transportation opportunities for the people who call Boston home.

That giant post office on the channel

A massive postal facility in Boston.
Dot Ave's only waterfront is restricted to USPS vehicles. Photo: Mike Deehan/Axios

Stretched out across the western side of Fort Point Channel is the immense — and immensely ugly — 16-acre United States Postal Service facility.

  • What makes it worse is the untapped potential of what could be in its place.
  • The building sits on the northernmost stretch of Dorchester Ave., and is at the nexus of Boston's financial district, transit hub and burgeoning Seaport neighborhood.

What they're saying: "Imagine popping out of South Station, walking across the Summer Street bridge, and stepping into a waterfront park connecting a series of green spaces that stretches from the channel's edge toward the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center," the Boston Globe's Shirley Leung wrote last year about the area's possibilities.

The intrigue: There was a potential deal between the federal government and local officials in 2017 to relocate the USPS and free up what would easily be some of the most desirable land in the city. Four years, three mayors and one pandemic later, nothing's happened.

Leon Electric

A derelict building in Boston.
Loft space on top of the T? Nah. Who'd want that? Photo: Mike Deehan/Axios

There are seven stories of vacant warehouse space mere feet from an MBTA station that's an 11-minute train ride to South Station, and it's just sitting there.

  • Neighbors see the potential for mixed-use housing, retail and restaurant space right next to a bustling T stop.

The 50,000-square-foot old Leon Electric building is a holdover from when Upham's Corner and the Dudley Street area were industrial hubs.

Northern Avenue Bridge

A bridge in Boston
This hulking giant should link the city's busiest neighborhoods. But it doesn't. Photo: Mike Deehan/Axios

Another blighted piece of public property along the water, the Northern Ave. bridge connecting the Greenway to the Seaport has been rotting in the middle of Fort Point Channel since 2014, when it was deemed unsafe for pedestrians.

The latest: An ambitious $100 million plan would include a pedestrian-only lane and another lane exclusively for shuttle buses and bike traffic. No private cars would be allowed.

  • But the pandemic and changing leadership at City Hall have stalled the plan.

Know of another eyesore we should spotlight? Let me know on Twitter!


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