A group of ten citizens - six of whom live in the same West End building - last week sued the Boston Landmarks Commission as part of a bid to save three buildings left over from the destruction of the West End that Mass. General wants to raze so it can build a 14-story clinical center along Cambridge Street.
The residents, many of whom live a couple blocks away from the proposed new building, at 150 Staniford St., sued the city commission for refusing to consider their petition to grant landmark status to the former Winchell Elementary School and the West End House on Blossom Street and the West End Tenement House on North Anderson Street.
In their lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, the ten citizens ask a judge order the commission to hear their request for landmark status for the three buildings, which are among the three that survived the BRA-led demolition of the West End in the 1950s and 1960s to make way for the "If You Lived Here" towers.
The Boston Preservation Alliance, while not a party to the suit, has expressed its concern about the potential loss of the buildings:
The West End neighborhood still suffers the effects of Urban Renewal and we feel that is important for MGH, both as good neighbors and stewards of some of the last remaining buildings from pre-Urban Renewal, to make every effort to preserve West End history, memory, and sense of place.
In its recently filed construction plans with the BPDA, the hospital said it would make up for the loss of the three buildings through several steps, including: Helping to fund construction and maintenance of a new West End Community Center, in hospital space at 75 Blossom St., with the possibility of moving out Mass. General departments as the community center grows; by providing funds to help run the West End museum; by funding some historic preservation and programs at Old West Church; by helping fund programs at the Museum of African American History and by making contributions to the Boston Preservation Alliance and the Boston Legacy Fund.
The hospital did not set dollar amounts on the grants and contributions, but noted they are subject to its building plan winning official approval.