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Roslindale is on the fast track

A father and his sons play in the Arnold Arboretum.Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

In the 1950s, Roslindale was a thriving commercial hub bustling with mainly Irish and Italian families. But with the advent of shopping malls and the suburban sprawl that ensued, people began flocking to nearby Dedham, Milton, and Quincy, and the neighborhood fell to neglect. Its turnaround started in the mid-1980s, but is really on a fast track now.

“There are more than 1,000 units in 11 or 12 developments going through proposals or zoning right now just in the Forest Hills area,” says Josh Muncey, an agent with RE/MAX Destiny in Jamaica Plain. Though the Forest Hills T stop is technically in Jamaica Plain, Muncey says there will be spillover. “Restaurants and shops should follow, all up and down Washington Street and Hyde Park Avenue.”


Eric Madsen, an agent with the Vogt Realty Group in West Roxbury, agrees. “Roslindale is having a resurgence in the past 20 years or so,” he says. “It’s going through a lot of growth but continuing upward. It’s definitely a neighborhood in transition.”



Year it was “christened”

Roslindale was originally part of western Roxbury, which was settled in 1630. In 1870, when the community applied for a post office, its name, South Street Crossing, was rejected. A resident suggested “Roslindale” in part because the area reminded him of Roslin, Scotland. The name was submitted and a post office established on March 15. The town was annexed to Boston three years later.


Acres of green space

That includes 65.6 acres of the Arnold Arboretum, the oldest public tree garden in the country, established in 1872 by the trustees of the will of New Bedford whaling merchant James Arnold and maintained by Harvard University.


Increase in median single-family home price from 2012 to 2013

That’s almost triple the 8.21 percent for Boston as a whole in the same period.



Minutes from downtown Boston

Roslindale offers the best of both worlds, especially to young families. Single-family homes make up a quarter of 97 listings currently on the market, yet you still get that city vibe, making Roslindale the perfect blend of urban and suburban. “It’s the best of both worlds,” says Eric Madsen, an agent with Vogt Realty Group.



Roslindale has dozens of eateries, including some gems: Try Shanti
for Indian, Delfino for Italian, Sophia’s Grotto for Mediterranean, and Suya Joint for Nigerian specialties (pepper soup and fufu, a dumpling served with dipping sauce). There’s also a popular farmers’ market on summer weekends.


Jamaica Plain’s Forest Hills Station, on the Orange Line, is the only T stop near Roslindale. Many residents take the Commuter Rail, which goes into Roslindale Village (just four stops from South Station),and there is bus service, of course.


Diversity reigns in “Rozzie.” The 2010 Census showed an ethnic breakdown of 55 percent white, 18 percent black or African-American, and 21 percent Hispanic or Latino.


Because Roslindale’s still in transition, there remain pockets of grittiness and houses in need of renovation. But that also spells opportunity for savvy investors.

Susan DuPont, of Roslindale, encouraged her dog Leroy to wait patiently while she popped into Fornax Bread Company. Dina Rudick/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Sebastian's Barber Shop.Dina Rudick/Globe Staff
The public art sculpture "Traffic" by George Greenamyer is viewed against the backdrop of Saint Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church in the square. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Corinth Street in Roslindale Village.Dina Rudick/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Birch Avenue is lined with cute shops and restaurants.Dina Rudick/Globe Staff
Flowers pour out of a box on Hewlett Street. Dina Rudick/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Elizabeth Gehrman is a regular Globe contributor. Send comments to