The Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF) has hired urban planning and development consultant Beverly Gallo to lead the organization’s efforts to restore the historic Blessed Sacrament Church through a new initiative that would revive the Jamaica Plain landmark through a combination of uses that may include community, events and arts space.
Gallo is a principal at Peregrine Urban Initiative, which works on development projects in emerging, transitional and underdeveloped urban neighborhoods with a specific focus on mixed-use/mixed-income housing and economic development. Gallo has led successful projects in Boston neighborhoods including Dorchester and Roslindale.
“We are excited to bring Beverly Gallo on board to support the Hyde Square Task Force as we develop a proposal that can save the historic Blessed Sacrament Church, deliver much needed public, and cultural spaces to the neighborhood and in a comprehensive approach that is economically sustainable into the future,” said HSTF Executive Director Celina Miranda.
HSTF purchased the landmark Blessed Sacrament Church in 2014. Studies and records indicate that the property has been in disrepair since as far back as 1991 and data gathered by the organization has developed a cost estimate of approximately $20 million to restore the structural integrity of the building, and another $4 to $5 million to make the building operational as a community space.
The prohibitive nature of the costs led leaders of HSTF to conduct a lengthy fact-finding period, speaking with community members and other stakeholders, as well as more than a dozen experts in the fields of real estate development, historic preservation and non-profit management.
Gallo will assist HSTF in developing an RFP that is scheduled to be released to the marketplace in early June. The prospective developer will have a complex task of balancing restoration, and community needs to ensure the project and HSTF embark on a financially sustainable initiative with far-reaching benefits to the neighborhood and the city.
“I am excited to join the HSTF team in the effort to move the restoration of Blessed Sacrament Church forward so that it serves both the history of Jamaica Plain, and surrounding Hyde Square community,” said Gallo. “This is a complex project, but also an exciting opportunity to work with the City of Boston and the community on a project that offers a range of benefits as envisioned by HSTF and its stakeholders.”
Gallo holds two master’s degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one in Real Estate Development and another in City Planning. She is also a principal at Byer Gallo Associates, a real estate development consulting firm specializing in the creation and preservation of affordable housing and community economic development.
Gallo’s expertise includes real estate development, project finance, public/private partnerships, public subsidies, non-profit organizations, affordable housing, and urban planning.
About Hyde Square
HSTF’s mission is to amplify the power, creativity, and voices of youth, connecting them to Afro-Latin culture and heritage so they can create a diverse, vibrant Latin Quarter and build a just, equitable Boston. HSTF was founded in 1991, when a coalition of neighbors and community leaders felt a sense of urgency to address the growing violence, economic, and social challenges facing the Hyde/Jackson Square neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. Now known as Boston’s Latin Quarter, our community has transformed into a vibrant neighborhood. Despite the progress, like in other urban neighborhoods, our youth continue to struggle with high levels of poverty, community violence, and low educational attainment. HSTF now engages more than 800 children, youth, and young adults each year through our Jovenes en Accion/Youth In Action, College Success, and Creative Development and Community Engagement work.