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In Boston’s Chinatown, Longtime Residents Face An Uncertain Future

The Kensington apartments and Millenium Place condominiums, behind, tower over Chinatown at the intersection of Stuart, Kneeland and Washington streets. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The Kensington apartments and Millenium Place condominiums, behind, tower over Chinatown at the intersection of Stuart, Kneeland and Washington streets. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Boston’s Chinatown was built on wasteland — tidal flats and landfill.

Over the decades, cheap rents made the neighborhood an attractive place for waves of immigrants — Irish, Italians and Jews. At one time the area was even called Syriatown.

But today, the neighborhood of low-rise buildings is in high demand. New luxury apartment buildings are driving up property values, and driving out longtime residents. They’re being displaced by a new wave of immigrants — wealthy entrepreneurs, from China.

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WBUR Cheap rents are a thing of the past in Chinatown. Over the last decade, construction of high-rise, high-end residential buildings along the periphery of the neighborhood has dramatically driven up property values and the cost of apartments.


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Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer is co-hosting Radio Boston while Meghna Chakrabarti is on maternity leave.

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