A notoriously blighted storefront on an otherwise bustling Savin Hill block has been seized by the city of Boston, the Reporter has learned. The long-vacant eyesore at the prominent intersection of Savin Hill Avenue and Sydney Street was secured this morning by workers from the city's Department of Neighborhood Development.
According to officials at the city agency who briefed the Reporter on the action, the storefront at 102-110 Savin Hill Avenue has been "acquired" by the city agency after its owner— Anthony Desmond— failed to pay a tax bill owed to the city.
City workers boarded up windows and doors and affixed a sign to the building that now reads, "This building owned and maintained by the City of Boston." The building will next be subject to a careful inspection since there are concerns about its structural integrity, according to the city's Department of Neighborhood Development.
The one-story property is zoned for commercial use and used to house a popular convenience story, but it was been empty and boarded up for years. Desmond, the property owner, had been in talks in 2012 to lease the space to a new store operator, but the deal fell apart.
In 2012, then state Rep. Martin Walsh, who lives just a block away, told the Reporter that the neighborhood was eager to see the store re-opened.
“You have a building there now that looks like it’s been abandoned,” Walsh told the Reporter in 2011. “It’s been a blight on the community for many years, especially with all the investments that have been made there. It needs to be brought up to community standards.”
Last year, Walsh and his staff joined Councillor Frank Baker in a walk-through of the Savin Hill neighborhood that included a stop at the old variety store building.