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Planning the Fairmount Corridor at Upham's Corner - Leon Building

Posted: June 7, 2012     Nancy J Conrad Click here to Add Comment
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The PPS WorkshopKroc Center
Upham's Corner Train Station
Dudley Terrace
Nonquit Green
Leon Building


This monstrosity (the Leon Building) is the ugliest, most derelict building in Upham's Corner, and the empty lot across the street doesn't help. What a total waste of community asset. 

Is it any wonder that Terrance Jones was murdered outside the Leon Building?  Both he and his murderer didn't choose to open fire at the Pilgrim Church in the midst of their gardens or on Saturday while Community Lunch was being served.

"Private Property" is the by-word, the lens we see the world through.  Boston's Inspectional Services can only go so far in trying to convince an owner to improve their property which is permission for the owners to continue to "dump" on our community, or do nothing.

How about replacing the ugliness with some beauty.  How about creating a SOWA style Open Market across the two spaces.  That's the idea posed by Javier Torres from the Boston Foundation.

The sign on the building says "Public Scale, 50 Ton, Fairbanks Morse, Printomatic."  The uppermost label on the building is  "Allied Van Lines, Long Distance Moving."

What we now refer to as the Leon Building is probably the most decrepit site in all of Upham's Corner.  It is seven stories high without any aesthetics including the grounds which are secured by a rusting chain-link fence..  Most of the windows are boarded up.  The front entrance on Dudley Street is that of a derelict, run-down, abandoned building.

In fact the building is in-use by Leon Electric and is used for electrical equipment storage.  On occasion, waiting for the in-bound train, you may find the loading docks (accessible from Humphreys Place) open, with workers loading electrical equipment onto trucks.

Project for Public Spaces - Leon Building Project for Public Spaces - Leon Building
Project for Public Spaces - Leon Building
Because the Leon Building abuts directly up to the train station property, its building forms the backdrop to the entry way for the in-bound train and from the west side of the tracks the Leon Building forms the backdrop to the image of the train station. 

Project for Public Spaces - Leon Building Project for Public Spaces - Leon Building

As you walk towards Upham's Corner from the train station, the first place you quickly pass by is the boarded up front entryway to the Leon Building, then the rusting chain-link fence and the weeds growing out of cracks in the asphalt covered yard.

Upham's Corner residents have learned to turn a blind eye to how this place looks but it is embarrassing to bring visitors past this location.  It is not often that we look up to the full height of the building because the aesthetic impact is primarily at ground level.


Project for Public Spaces - Leon Building Project for Public Spaces - Leon Building Project for Public Spaces - Leon Building

The workshop attendees looked at both the Leon Building and the empty lot directly across the street.  Just imagine, they said, if Leon Electric were to remove the fence from around the building and allow the community to create a Sowa type Open Market on both sides of the street modeled on what is currently so popular in the South End.

Sowa Open Market Website

Project for Public Spaces - Leon Building


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