Letters to the Editor

JPNDC Outlines Their Efforts

Dear Editor,

With tremendous disappointment, we are writing today to let community members know that despite Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation’s best efforts, 21st Century Foods will no longer operate out of JPNDC’s Brewery Small Business Complex.

21st Century has been producing tofu and tempeh for more than 40 years, and we wanted them to stay at The Brewery. We gave the owners nearly four years’ notice (in 2019) that we would eventually need their space to develop the Center for Equity & Prosperity. Over the past two years, here is what we did:

•    Offered a Brewery space 55% larger than their current space, with no rent increase the first year and only modest increases in following years

•    Kept the available space vacant nearly two years despite interest from other potential tenants

•    Hired an engineering firm and met numerous times with 21st Century to plan a design that would not only meet the precise requirements of their business, but also include new food preparation, refrigeration, and temperature control equipment – at JPNDC’s expense

•    Provided free technical assistance (as we do for any small business) connecting them to two grant opportunities

•    Affirmed, in a formal Letter of Intent (LOI) in January 2023, that JPNDC would (1) pay all relocation, tailored build-out, and new equipment costs; and (2) maintain lease payments far below market rate for five years.

Although the owners did not allegedly respond for three months, we rejoiced when 21st Century signed the LOI in April. However, instead of responding to the lease we sent in May, they threatened legal action against JPNDC for “unfair and deceptive business practices.”

Few other commercial landlord would offer anything close to the generous, flexible, and patient terms that JPNDC has been extending for nearly two years so that a business’ relocation would be as painless as possible.

We will soon begin construction of the Center for Equity & Prosperity. JPNDC’s own staff has been relocated, so 21st Century is now the sole occupant of the building that will be renovated.

JPNDC has an obligation to support other entrepreneurs. Our staff has invested so heavily in this one business that it has prevented us from helping other existing and prospective Brewery tenants. So, after two years of unsuccessful negotiations, we are no longer able to offer 21st Century Foods space here.

The Center for Equity & Prosperity is just one of the many strategies needed to turn our city’s trajectory toward one of racial and economic equity. It will be the beautiful new home for JPNDC’s empowering services for people who deserve a chance in our city – including more than 150 BIPOC-owned small businesses each year.

We invite anyone to reach out to us via [email protected].


Anne Gelbspan and
Charles Hills,
JPNDC Board  Co-Chairs

Teronda Ellis, JPNDC CEO

Supports William King Fort District 6 Councilor

Dear Editor:

As a Boston Public School  parent, former city housing official, proud progressive, I am proud to support William King for the District 6 City Council seat. Our city is still reeling from the Trump era of divisiveness.

Our own district seems to be pitted against each other when our shared values should bring us together. Every issue should not come down to JP versus West Roxbury or vice versa.  I met and married my husband in JP. I bought my first home in Roslindale and am raising my children in West Roxbury.

Our children go to school in JP. I know the neighborhoods well.  All of us want a safe place to live and raise our family.  We want clean air and good schools.  We are open to new ideas and respectful of how difficult the process of implementing meaningful change can be. District 6 and Boston are better than the recent headlines and controversies that have stifled a once promising city council.

Affordability is the biggest problem facing our city and our district and I know that William’s common sense and uncontentious approach to governing will yield positive results for our community.  Our city is governed by the Mayor and the City Council’s main role is to vote on the budget and provide stellar constituent services. Rent stabilization has already passed through the City Council. The “Road Diet” is happening and it will be ok.

We do not need to agree with every single position our elected officials have on issues but we do need a Councilor that will listen and respect all sides. Like all of us, William and his wife have made District 6 their home and both are committed to the greater good.

I am certain that if William is elected, he will work with city offices, stakeholders, and most importantly residents across the district to ensure that families and seniors can afford to stay in the district.  He will work for all of us and everyone should root for his success. We need a leader that will build bridges, bring incremental change, and always have our back. We need a good neighbor that is committed to helping others.  In other words, we need to reject purity tests and go back to the basics of good governing.  Let’s send a message and vote for William on September 12 and again in November.

Katie Forde

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