With the announcement that the Church of Scientology of Boston has bought the former Alexandra Hotel at Washington Street and Massachusetts Avenue, Scientologists are eagerly planning to relocate their headquarters from Back Bay to the South End.
The move won’t be happening any time soon. As with new Scientology churches opened in other major international cities over the past few years, such as New York, London and Berlin, the Boston Church will undergo extensive renovations before moving to its new home.
The new property is the former Alexandra hotel, a luxurious establishment when it opened its doors in 1875, it faded in prominence when the elevated transit line was built along Washington Street in 1900, closed in the 1960s and was finally gutted by a fire in 1993. It has been vacant ever since.
Advised by Staubach Co. of New England LLC, the church bought the former 50-room hotel, at 1759-1769 Washington St., and an adjacent building on Washington. The church already has a storefront presence a few doors down on Washington. Staubach has done other work for the church around the country and will be project manager on the design and redevelopment.
“This is a very prominent building,” said Brian Smallman, vice president of Staubach of New England “It could be an absolutely gorgeous building by the time they’re done with it, and they do everything first rate.”
“The city’s been tortured with this eyesore for so long,” said Gerard Renna, public affairs director for the Boston church. Renna, who has been with the Church of Scientology of Boston since before it opened its current headquarters on Beacon Street in 1974, did not disclose the sale price, but pledged that the Church will “transform the hotel to its original grace and elegance.”
The Scientology religion was founded by L. Ron Hubbard. The first Scientology church was established in Los Angeles in 1954.