Children’s home to sell campus

S. HUNTINGTON AVE.—The Home for Little Wanderers announced earlier this month that it is putting its 3.5-acre campus up for sale.

The children’s home sought to redevelop the 161 S. Huntington Ave. facility, known as the Knight Children’s Center (KCC), three years ago. But now the Home is developing a site in Walpole instead.

“The costs of renovating or replacing the Jamaica Plain campus would be prohibitive,” said Pam Herbst, vice-chair of the Home’s board, in a press statement.

“It’s important for people to realize this is all going to take time,” said Home spokesperson Heather MacFarlane in a Gazette interview, explaining that the KCC is “not going to be gone tomorrow.”

MacFarlane said no buyers are in place yet, and the sale is expected to take 18 to 24 months. The KCC site was assessed by the city last year as worth about $8 million.

Redevelopment could undergo special city and state reviews. The KCC includes a historic 1914 school building built by the Home, which was founded in 1865. The back of the property abuts the Jamaicaway, a historic state parkway.

The Home is based in the Fenway and operates a wide variety of programs for troubled youths across Greater Boston. It is unknown whether any program locations would remain in Jamaica Plain after the KCC sale.

“We are actively looking for rental space in JP or nearby” for some of the programs, MacFarlane said.

For now, everything is staying the same, including the Home’s annual toy drive, said MacFarlane. The Home also continues to work with JP clients in homes and Boston Public Schools.

KCC serves youths ages 5-13 who have “emotional, behavioral, educational and psychiatric needs,” according to a press release. The site includes a Home-run private school.

The move to the Home’s Longview Farm in Walpole will place the children in a more “bucolic” setting, said John Hailer, the Home’s board chairman, in a press statement.

Ground has broken on expansion at the Walpole site, MacFarlane said. That will include a new school building and residences.


Updated version: This version corrects the timeframe in which the campus sale was announced.

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