The Boston Globe | By Katherine Conti
February 9, 2017
Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, the last immigrant enclave in the heart of the city, has been under siege from the building boom that has swept the city with glittering luxury towers and the gentrification that comes with them.
Now residents say they are facing a new threat: hotels.
Developers have proposed three more hotels in Chinatown on dilapidated or underutilized properties, among them a former rooming house on 25 Harrison Avenue that was abruptly evacuated one night five years ago after the building was found to be structurally unsound.
“There are three hotel proposals in Chinatown right now at the same time we’re having this housing crisis,” said Lydia Lowe, co-director of the Chinese Progressive Association, which organized a protest Wednesday afternoon outside the Harrison Avenue property to draw attention to the neighborhood’s need for affordable housing.
“We don’t want a hotel there,” she added. “We would like it to be single-room occupancy housing, which it was before; it’s really needed.”
Property owner and developer Sing Ming Chan and his representatives met with various neighborhood groups and organizations last year to pitch a 26-story, 132-room hotel on the property, which deeds records indicate he purchased in 2014 for nearly $5 million.
Chan could not be reached for comment, and his attorneys did not return calls for comment.
Two other hotels have been proposed in the neighborhood. A proposal for a 17-story hotel with 250 rooms on 73-79 Essex St., on the corner of Oxford Street, is under review by the Boston Planning and Development Agency.