1/22/2016: Newton Tab article on Cherry St homeless housing project

A nonprofit developer is looking to convert a historic property on Cherry Street in West Newton into rental housing for homeless families.

CAN-DO would need millions in city preservation funds in addition to state tax credits to complete the project at 424-432 Cherry St.

The developer submitted a preliminary proposal seeking $3 million from the Community Preservation Committee, but withdrew the request temporarily last week after telling committee members the plan’s details needed to be reworked.

The initial proposal called for nine individual units to be created inside the existing structure, plus another three newly constructed, three-bedroom units for families.

Josephine McNeil, executive director of CAN-DO, said the Warren administration preferred the project focus solely on homeless families. She is now developing new plans for a family-centered project.

But the project’s fate is still very much up in the air as McNeil waits to hear back from state housing officials as to whether her organization is eligible to apply for certain tax credits. She said the project wouldn’t be able to move forward without the state assistance.

McNeil said the Cherry Street project would be pursued using the state’s affordable housing law, Chapter 40B. She hoped it could be a so-called “friendly 40B,” whereby city officials would endorse the project ahead of the developer’s application for a comprehensive permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

CAN-DO has signed a purchase and sale agreement with the property’s current owner, CRM Management, LLC, to acquire the property for $2.5 million. The property is currently office space, according to McNeil.

The building — constructed circa 1716 — is the third-oldest home in Newton, according to research previously provided by Historic Newton.

Previous owners throughout history include prominent Newtonians William Williams, Richard Coolidge, John Pigeon and Samuel Warren.

McNeil said she would be meeting with the neighborhood to discuss the project next week.

She hopes to hear back from state housing officials about eligibility to apply for funding by the end of the month.

CAN-DO, or Citizens for Affordable Housing in Newton Development Organization, Inc., has completed roughly a dozen small affordable housing projects in Newton over the last two decades, according to its website.

By Jonathan Dame

1/21/2016: Breakfast at Moody’s 

Went to Moody’s this morning for breakfast. Not for me. For you – the readers. Hope you guys appreciate my level of commitment to America’s Favorite Street (.com).

Moody’s is not just big breakfast sandwiches – like the pork roll. Which was awesome.

They also have coffee, lattes, tea and fresh muffins. Something for everyone.

The real star is the homemade donuts. These were legit. Chocolate, glazed, plain – warm and deep fat fried. And yes I walked back to the kitchen to take this pic. Moody’s is open 7am Monday – Friday for breakfast.

1/18/2016: Management guest blog – MLK’s ties to W. Newton

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Many of you probably know that Dr. King had strong ties to Boston. In the 1950s, King studied at Boston University, where he earned his doctorate, and met his wife, Coretta Scott, a student at the nearby New England Conservatory. He returned to Boston in the 1960s on multiple occasions to address the State Legislature, lead a march from the South End to Boston Common during the early years of the public school crisis, and, later, to donate the bulk of his personal papers to BU.

But did you know he also had ties to West Newton? Our town and its Baptist churches actually have a long and rich history of connections to civil rights movements dating back centuries. Remember Nathaniel T. Allen, the abolitionist that owned the large yellow historic property on Webster St? Many of his friends were part of the congregation at the First Baptist Church, now Lincoln Park Baptist on Washington St. In the late-1800s, some members of First Baptist broke off to form the Myrtle Baptist Church, which is still located on Curve St. In the 1950s, a young Martin Luther King Jr. often attended services at Myrtle, preached from their pulpit, and visited with friends that lived in the surrounding neighborhood. Though Myrtle’s congregation suffered tremendous disruption during the extension of the Mass Turnpike in the 1960s, it remained a politically-active community during the racial turmoil of the later decades of the twentieth century. In 2008, thanks to the efforts of other Boston University students, the Myrtle Baptist Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Check out the resources at the Newton History Museum if you want to learn more about the history of Myrtle Baptist, African-American history in Newton, or Dr. King’s connections to our city!