Sales pitch: Buy two houses, tear them down

John Ruch

Gazette Photo by John Ruch The houses at 387 (left) and 381 Hyde Park Ave. are being sold as tear-downs for possible redevelopment.

WOODBOURNE—The city-led planning effort to redevelop the area around the Forest Hills T Station isn’t even done yet—but the attempts at spin-off redevelopments have begun.

Two solid-looking houses about a half-mile down Hyde Park Avenue are being marketed to developers as “teardowns” because they are close to “the burgeoning Forest Hills neighborhood redevelopment zone,” according to the property listing with Jamaica Plain’s Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

The houses at 381 and 387 Hyde Park Ave. and their land, along with an adjacent lot fronting on Larch Place, are being sold as a package for a $1.4 million asking price.

A large for-sale sign in the front yard of 381 notes that the land is zoned for three-family residential use—much denser than the existing single-family houses.

The parcels, which back up to the commuter rail lines, amount to about 7/10 of an acre combined. They are right next door to the dense condo complex at 391 Hyde Park Ave.

Paul and Marie McDonough are the owners of all three parcels, according to their son Frederick, who spoke to the Gazette during a visit to the property last week. He said his parents live in 387 but have decided to move out, a process that appears to be under way.

Frederick McDonough said his parents inherited the other property on the death of its former owner, who is still listed in city Assessing Department records as Martha Magoch. The 381 house indeed appeared to be vacant at the time of the visit. The Gazette was unable to locate any Martha Magoch.

Frederick McDonough said his parents were out of town last week. They did not respond to a Gazette message left at the house.

From the outside, both houses do not appear to require demolition. Both appear to be in good shape, with 387 sporting a small deck and other amenities. Assessing Department records describe the condition of 387 as “average” and 381 as “average” to “fair.”

All of the yards include large trees.

Frederick McDonough said it is his understanding that demolition of the houses is not a certainty.

Asked if he would miss his parents’ house if it were demolished, he said, “A little bit. But if they tear it down, they tear it down.”

He said he was not aware of the marketing of the property as related to the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s (BRA) Forest Hills Improvement Initiative, a massive community process for planning the redevelopment of three MBTA parcels around Forest Hills Station, along with related improvements and possibly other properties as well.

“It’s not our intention, throughout our planning process, to encourage people to sell off their lots and tear down their homes,” said BRA spokesperson Jessica Shumaker, when asked about the marketing of the Hyde Park Avenue properties. “We would not be in favor of encouraging that.”

The properties are listed by two Coldwell Banker agents. Diane Pienta was reportedly on vacation, and Joe Stier did not return a Gazette phone call for this article.

Shumaker noted that combining the three lots for one large project would require zoning Board of Appeals review. Otherwise, she noted, under zoning code, a three-family dwelling could be built on each lot.

The 381 house was the site of a violent home invasion in 1981, according to Boston Globe archives. Sisters Martha and Wilma Magoch, reportedly aged 69 and 65 at the time, were attacked by two male burglars.

Police reportedly caught one burglar in the act of choking Martha Magoch while beating her with a stick. Both women survived the attack. The two burglars were sentenced to life in prison.

At that time, Wilma Magoch told the Globe that the sisters had lived in the house for 60 years.

She added that they had fought successfully to keep their home in the 1960s when the state and city were seizing land by eminent domain in the failed attempt to build a 10-lane highway along what is now the Southwest Corridor—possibly the last large-scale development shake-up in the neighborhood.

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