One of my favorite Boston neighborhoods and a booming Boston Real Estate neighborhood is our very own Chinatown.
The empty lots, the tangle of highways above and below ground, and the power plant may not look like much. But everyone agrees it’s prime real estate.
Residents of Chinatown next door see the 20 acres called the “Chinatown Gateway” on zoning maps as their best chance to develop much-needed affordable housing and alleviate a severe housing crunch.
But the city’s redevelopment authority has dubbed the area “South Bay” and envisions a new downtown district with upscale apartments, hotels, and offices.
This struggle in Boston is the latest in a land squeeze that is changing the nature of Chinatowns across the United States. As America’s downtowns become hip again, urban real estate is becoming so valuable that ethnic enclaves find it increasingly difficult to survive as the first stop for new immigrants, usually with few skills and no English.
Once a fixture in most major US cities, many Chinatowns have ceased to exist as magnets for new arrivals. San Diego’s Chinatown is now a historic district. A coalition in Phoenix is trying to save the last remaining Chinatown structure from becoming a luxury apartment building. Four of the enclaves in the 10 largest cities in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia are now commercial areas. Dallas, which never had a historic Chinatown, designated a retail center as “Chinatown” in the 1980s. Other Chinatowns in Seattle, Detroit, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., are today primarily tourist spots. Continue.