A developer wants to build a 26-story condo building at the corners of Essex Street and the Surface Road, where Chinatown meets the financial district.

Here, density may work: On Chinatown site’s future, a clash over priorities– By Sam Allis, The Boston Globe

Nothing captures the conflicts in Chinatown today better than the saga of the old Dainty Dot Hosiery building at 120 Kingston St.

It’s the one that, depending on perspective, is either on the edge of Chinatown or the front of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The one whose application for historic landmark status was rejected last year by the Boston Landmarks Commission. The one preservationists crave to keep.

The one that Israeli developer Ori Ron plans to replace with a high-end condo maybe 26 stories high. The one that, Ron promises, will lead to 48 units of affordable housing he will pay for nearby.

I don’t think there’s anything worth saving in this building. While it may look “pretty” to some, I’m not sure it’s distinct enough to warrant giving it any sort of historic designation. I mean, you can’t just can’t go around ruling building after building off limits, without reason.

The height is another issue, altogether. It comes down to whether or not you think this building should be required to comply with zoning regulations in that neighborhood. Is it a “Chinatown” building or a financial district building.

In my opinion, it’s a financial district building, and therefore fits in well with other towers in that area. Having residential housing on the Greenway adds to the flavor of the neighborhood.

That the developer has promised “affordable” housing above and beyond what is required by law, is just icing on the cake.

** The Globe columnist, Sam Allis, makes a not-so-subtle dig at City Councilor Sam Yoon, who has not taken a position on whether or not the Dainty Dot building should be replaced.

Yoon states the obvious here, yet refuses to take a stand on the Dainty Dot. “I’m not drafting a letter of support or opposition,” he says. (I find this typical of him. Sam: show me some fortitude. Take a position. Either way, you’ll get scars, but we’re defined by our scars. That’s politics.)

Or, said another way, “Sam, grow a pair.”

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