In Banker & Tradesman: This Month in History: Roxbury Defeats the BRA

01.04.2022

To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Banker & Tradesman is highlighting significant moments in the history of Massachusetts’ real estate and banking industries. To suggest a topic, email editorial@thewarrengroup.com.

What: Madison Park Development Corp. Is Born
When: Jan. 5, 1967
Where: Boston  

On Jan. 5, 1967, representatives of the Lower Roxbury Community Corp. and powerful Boston Redevelopment Authority Director Ed Logue signed a memorandum of understanding setting aside part of a 57-acre swath of Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood for new homes. 

The area, surrounding Madison Park, had been neglected by city officials for years and slated for demolition as part of a giant, new high school and the failed Inner Belt freeway project. That is, until neighborhood residents revolted, organized themselves into the Lower Roxbury Community Corp. and with technical help from Harvard, MIT and Brandeis urban planning faculty, pitched the city on a plan for 400 new affordable homes. 

The LRCC later won the right to develop those homes and evolved into the Madison Park Development Corp., becoming one of the largest nonprofit developers in Boston and one of the biggest investors in both Roxbury’s built environment and its people. 

“It never had been heard of before…. We said no! We said, we could develop this housing and we could help the community develop it, and they could own it. People said, ‘Could you own it?’ We said, ‘Watch!’ And the rest is history.” 

— Organizer and early LRCC leader Alex Rodriguez, said to Northeastern University oral historians Ronald Bailey, Diane Turner and Robert Hayden for “Lower Roxbury: A Community of Treasures in the City of Boston” 

Read the entire article as it originally appeared in Banker & Tradesman here.