Opinion » Letters

Dear Owners of the present Alexandra Hotel

by Randi Grohe Lathrop
Thursday Dec 14, 2023

Dear Owners of the present Alexandra Hotel,

Our family has been residents of the South End since 1986. My paternal great grandparents along with my grandfather and seven siblings arrived from Baden Baden Germany in 1870 and called this area their home. So I guess my roots and dedication to this area has been in my blood for a very long time.

As a community activist for most of my life, former president of Blackstone Franklin Neighborhood Association, was chair of the Washington Street Task Force under the late Mayor Thomas M. Menino, was the Deputy Director of Community Planning at the Boston Redevelopment Authority for 16.5 years now called the Boston Planning and Development Agency, was chair and board member of Washington Gateway Main Street for 17 years and now a board member of the South End Business Alliance. No one else understands Washington Street area and the importance of the corner of Washington Street and Massachusetts Avenue. I have dedicated my personal and professional career to the redevelopment of the Washington Street area.

The present site of the vacant Alexandra Hotel is a disgrace. Repeated attempts to develop this building have been attempted by many developers and been vacant for over 50 years as you are aware. Also thousands of hours have been dedicated to improving this corner by many volunteers over the years.

The present condition is an embarrassment since this truly is a gateway coming into the South End and the City of Boston. You've allowed the graffiti to grow, expanded to other properties in the area, the graffiti is now on the boarded up plywood on the hotel, the present scrim on the front has graffiti on it and is torn in many places. The graffiti grows since this building is covered with graffiti and unwanted advertisements, continues to deface this historic building.

It's your responsibility to take down all the unwanted posters and paint over the graffiti on the plywood and doors etc with a dark color. Post " no advertising " on the plywood. Put up a new scrim on the front of the Alexandra Hotel on Washington Street. Hire a company to power wash the sidewalks around this site and in the alleyway. The present condition of the building is making the area feel very unsafe for our businesses, nonprofits and residents of the area. I understand taking off the graffiti on the stone surfaces is problematic, however the rest can be removed by simply painting off the graffiti and spending some money to improve this site.

I also understand that your investment is once again for sale, however why would a buyer purchase this building in this condition? As I tell my clients that when you are going through an approval process and after, you need to be good neighbors and keep the building and the perimeter in good condition

This site is a blight on the area. Action and commitment to this historic building needs to be taken NOW.

Sincerely yours,
Randi Grohe Lathrop