Friendly Aid Acquires Wellesley Community Center Building

Friendly Aid issued this press release about its acquisition of the former Wellesley Community Center building.

Recently, Peter Johannsen, Vice President of Wellesley Friendly Aid (WFA), sent a letter to Meghan Jop, Executive Director of the Town of Wellesley, and to the Wellesley Board of Selectman in which he announced:

"I am pleased to report that on September 11 of this year, Wellesley Friendly Aid acquired ownership of the Wellesley Community Center (WCC) building from the WCC.  This action followed notification from WCC that it had terminated the ground lease as of September 1, 2020."

The Wellesley Friendly Aid Association, a 111-year-old Wellesley-based charity, focuses on neighbors helping neighbors.  The non-profit supports residents in a variety of ways, including providing emergency financial aid to families, lending residents medical equipment at no cost, supporting college-bound first-generation high school students through Wellesley Connects, assisting children with summer camp tuition, and hosting programs for seniors, including the Friendship Circle. 

In a 1977 ground lease, Wellesley Friendly Aid provided the land upon which the Wellesley Community Center stands.  The building is attached to the Wellesley Friendly Aid house at 219 Washington Street, located at Routes 16 and Route 9.  Under the ground lease, WFA reserved the right to require the WCC to demolish the building if the WCC terminated the lease.  However, the WFA board decided to maintain the structure as a resource to the Town and other non-profits.

The Wellesley Theatre Project (WTP), which has been in the Wellesley Community Center for several years, will continue to lease the lower floor for the upcoing year.  The WTP, a non-profit, offers a range of theatre-related classes to children, teens, and adults.  According to its website, it is "devoted to cultivating education and participation."  WTP currently offers both in-person and virtual classes and programs.

"We now have unoccupied space on the second floor, consisting of a large hall suitable for rehearsals and performances, several small conference rooms and office space," said Johannsen.

"We hope to safeguard this resource and partner with the Town and non-profits for future utilization," said WFA President Deb Cogill.  "Inquiries from arts or other non-profits that wish lease space for a period of time will be welcome."