The Church of Scientology of Boston has purchased the Alexandra Hotel at Washington Street and Massachusetts Avenue, a former luxury hotel that first opened its doors in 1875.

In what is becoming a Scientology tradition, the Boston Church plans to fully restore the hotel for its new headquarters in Massachusetts.

Over the past few years Scientology churches have executed similar projects in other major cities such as London, San Francisco, Madrid, Berlin and New York. The name for this kind of work is "adaptive reuse," an efficient and environmentally responsible trend in architecture, which retains the classic features of historic buildings while converting them for new uses. As with these churches, the new Boston church will include a large public information exhibit, facilities the community can use for meetings and events, and greatly expanded resources for its own outreach and social betterment programs.

The Church's architectural philosophy in renovating older structures is that these buildings serve as a link to the past that can project a vital and strong future

The Boston project will consist of the restoration of the former 50-room hotel and another adjacent building. "This is a very prominent building," said Brian Smallman, Vice President of Staubach Co. of New England LLC, the company that advised the Church on the purchase. Smallman went on to say "It could be an absolutely gorgeous building by the time they're done with it, and they do everything first rate." Staubach will be project manager on the design and redevelopment of the building.

Scientology has been active in adaptive reuse for over 30 years. Last year the Church of Scientology International was one of the winners of the Los Angeles Business Journal's Real Estate Award for similar projects in Southern California. Kip Rudd of the Hollywood office of the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles described the Church as a pioneer in the restoration of historic structures.

In addition to the services it provides its members, the Church of Scientology of Boston established a volunteer ministry four years ago to assist the community with its most serious problems—crime and violence. The ministry has programs to tackle the factors underlying these social calamities—illiteracy, drugs and immorality.

Located at 1783 Washington Street in Lower Roxbury, a mile and a half from the Hotel Alexandra, one of this volunteer center's most successful activities is a reading and study skills program, which they offer to people of all ages. The ministry is staffed entirely by volunteers and its services are provided free of charge to members of the community.

The ministry also sponsors a drug education and prevention program called "Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life." They hold lectures and events to bring the truth about drugs to kids in the community. Last summer the ministry hosted a block party in honor of "National Night Out," a nation-wide night against drugs and crime, and they sponsor a chapter of the Drug-Free Marshals, a drug prevention program that helps youngsters commit to living drug-free lives.

In addition to the work Boston Scientologists do to help their own city, the Church organizes teams of Scientologists to help in times of disaster. For example, Scientology Volunteer Ministers from Boston went to Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 and to South East Asia to help those devastated by the December 2004 tsunami.

The Church is looking forward to being able to expand its community programs with the acquisition of this new property. The Scientology religion was founded by author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology of Boston was founded in March 1971.

Author's Bio: 

Ms. Wieland is an editor of the Scientology Press Office web site