By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Since yesterday’s blog, several other news sources have reported additional details about the gruesome murder of Richard Field and Lina Bolaños in their South Boston penthouse condominium last Friday night.
We now know the name of the condominium: Macallen Building, located at 141 Dorchester Avenue in South Boston. The luxury condominium was constructed within the past decade, and is renowned for its innovative LEED certified design. It boasts first class amenities including a pool terrace, an underground parking garage, and 24-hour doorman/concierge service. Sale prices begin at $500,000 for a one-bedroom unit. Many of the units are leased to tenants, with rents starting at $2,000 per month.
According to the Boston Globe, Field paid nearly $2 million for the penthouse unit in 2013.
Also, according to reports, 30-year-old suspect Bampumim Teixeira had previously worked at the 148-unit Macallen Building as a security guard employed by Palladion Services. On its website, Palladion describes itself as a “full-service company in the contract concierge and security services industry.”
Although the company proclaims that “each prospective security officer undergoes one of the most thorough pre-employment selection processes in the security industry,” there is no specific mention of background screening of potential employees. Does the company require drug testing? Clearance of criminal background history? Review of registered sex offender lists? Does Palladion thoroughly verify qualifications and speak to references from previous employers or military service?
As for concierge services, note the company’s philosophy “Security through Service.” The description below states that the concierge is the “person in charge of the keys” for the buildings of clients they serve.
The only way to enter the 11th floor penthouse unit at Macallen, according to residents and investigators, was with a dedicated key.
Given that the suspect was formerly assigned to Macallen in either a security or concierge role, one has to wonder if it explains how Teixeira was able to get his hands on keys to the elevator and penthouse. These facts are most likely a focus of the ongoing criminal investigation.
The Boston Globe has also reported that Teixeira was employed by Palladion Services around the time he was being investigated for two bank robberies. His former co-workers identified the suspect at the time. Teixeira was ultimately sentenced to less than a year in prison in connection with those bank robberies. He had been released from prison in April.
Investigators have reported to numerous sources that a black bag of jewelry, presumably belonging to Baloñas, was found at the scene of the crime.
New Concierge service hired in Feburary 2017
Also according to the Boston Globe, Macallen condo association terminated services with Palladion and contracted with Highbridge Concierge about three months ago. According to its website, Highbridge Concierge does not provide security services. The Boston Globe reports that Macallen does not currently employ a doorman, despite the fact that Macallen’s website lists Doorman/Concierge as one of the building’s amenities.
Were there any witnesses to this crime?
This is another unanswered question. So far, there have been no reports of unusual sounds coming from the penthouse unit. Even though the building consists of 140 units, at any given time, several condo units will be vacant. On a Friday night, neighbors might have been out enjoying an evening in town. That is the reason many buyers like the idea of someone to monitor who comes and goes through the lobby at all hours of the day or night.
We have yet to hear what, if anything, the concierge employed by Highbridge saw on the night of the attack.
Moving forward, what challenges do condo owners face?
Obviously, because of the brutal nature of the crime, residents are more likely to consider moving out of Macallen, particularly tenants. Some residents may never feel safe or comfortable in their homes, especially if they have previously been victims of crime, having moved to a high security building for the primary purpose of safety and security.
On the real estate market, Macallen Building now faces the stigma of being the site of a brutal double murder. And given that the event occurred in a penthouse unit – the crown jewel of most luxury condominiums – the negative publicity is likely to steer buyers to competing luxury condominiums, at a time when the luxury market is slowing down in many large cities.
The condo association also faces the very real possibility of one or more liability lawsuits filed by the estates of the two prominent anesthesiologists who lost their lives. After all, Macallen condo association has the authority to hire staff and contract with vendors. That includes the decision to sign a contract with Palladion Services. No doubt, the family members of Field and Baloñas will want to know: Did the condo association perform its own background screening of staff assigned to Macallen? Did the Association have a sound security protocol, including a strict process for keeping track of keys to various parts of the building? If not, why not?
All of these factors are likely to have an adverse effect on the marketability of condo units. That could lead to decreasing rents, falling property values, and difficulty collecting assessment revenues.
At Macallen Building, hiring a private security company may prove to be more of a liability than an asset for the condo association.
4 unanswered questions about the South Boston double murder
The Globe reported that Teixeira was identified in surveillance images connected to the bank robberies as a former employee of Palladion Services, which provided security services for 141 Dorchester Ave. until February 18.
What we know about the South Boston double murder (Boston Globe, with video of Teixeira’s arraignment from his hospital bed.)
Macallen Building named