BPDA approves new affordable housing in East Boston, Mattapan, Mission Hill, and South Boston

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The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors Thursday approved five new development projects representing approximately 272,507 square feet (SF). The new projects will create 233 residential units, 87 of which will be designated income-restricted, and will support approximately 247 construction jobs and seven permanent jobs. These projects will make Boston a more resilient, affordable, and equitable city.

Planning & Zoning

Board approves Demonstration Project Plan to facilitate office to residential conversions

The BPDA Board approved a demonstration project plan in Downtown Boston which will help to facilitate the conversion of offices to residential buildings. The plan area encompasses the Downtown/Financial District, Chinatown, the Bulfinch Triangle Historic District, the Leather District, and the Fort Point Channel Historic District. In light of increasing office vacancy rates and the resulting reduction in foot traffic within the plan area, the BPDA approved incentives for office to residential conversions. Projects seeking conversion support outside of the plan area will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Board authorizes release of RFP for Allston Brighton Community Plan

The BPDA Board authorized the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for consultant services to help in creating an Allston Brighton Community Plan. The Allston Brighton Needs Assessment, which is currently underway, will serve as the existing conditions analysis for this plan. The goal is to form a long-term, comprehensive plan for Allston and Brighton which includes equitable planning and design guidelines, as well as simplified zoning. The intent of this RFP, which is being funded in part by mitigation from the Harvard Enterprise Research Campus Phase A, is to allow staff to more quickly and thoroughly develop this plan for the neighborhood, create new zoning guidelines, and recommendations for implementation.

Board authorizes release of RFP for Citywide ADU “pattern book”

The BPDA Board authorized the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a consultant to create an illustrated guide, known as a “pattern book,” that will serve as a guide for the most feasible options for property owners in Boston who may want to build Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs) on their property. The selected consultant will create new zoning recommendations necessary for updating the residential zoning code to allow for this type of housing growth, and to support the as-of-right development of ADUs throughout Boston that will complement residential building styles. This RFP is part of city-wide zoning reform, which will help to update the code to break down barriers to, and allow for more housing throughout the City of Boston.

Real Estate

Board approves final designation of the Frederick Douglass Peace Garden

The BPDA awarded final designation to the Frederick Douglass Peace Park Stewardship Committee and the Boston Food Forest Coalition Inc. to redevelop the Frederick Douglass Peace Garden into restored open space. Over the last several years, the land located in Roxbury has fallen into disrepair, following the expiration of a temporary license agreement with the South End Lower Roxbury Open Space Land Trust. The BPDA began a public process to designate the land for redevelopment into multifamily housing and a park/garden in 2019. The project and discussion with the community was put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The conversation restarted in 2021, focusing on open space as the only use. The Frederick Douglass Peace Park Stewardship Committee and the Boston Food Forest Coalition Inc. were the only respondents to the RFP and were selected in 2022. They propose redeveloping the Frederick Douglass Peace Garden into outdoor space that will be used for performances, community meetings, and farmer’s markets, a lawn for recreation and picnics, and a peace and healing space.

Board approves tentative designation of 7–9 Westminster Terrace in Roxbury

The BPDA Board approved the tentative designation of the Planning Office of Urban Affairs (POUA) and the Roxbury Stone House to redevelop the parcels at 7-9 Westminster Terrace into affordable housing. The POUA is a non-profit housing developer affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston, and the Roxbury Stone House is a non-profit organization that cares for and protects parents and child survivors of domestic abuse and helps them rebuild safe, secure, and independent lives. The proposal is for this land to be redeveloped into a six unit residential building that will provide emergency shelter in coordination with the Roxbury Stone House. There will be four two-bedroom apartments, one three-bedroom apartment, and one one-bedroom apartment. This will allow the Roxbury Stone House to expand its shelter services to the residents of this new development so that they can receive case management, group services and other community activities. Like all BPDA-owned parcels in the City of Boston, the selected development team will be required to meet the BPDA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion evaluation criteria, and outline commitments to including Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBEs) in all aspects of their development process.

Board approves public-private partnership and investment in new campus for Franklin Cummings Tech

The BPDA Board approved a partnership with Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology, known as Franklin Cummings Tech, which will allow the construction of the school’s new campus in Nubian Square to break ground in the coming months. FCT is an educational institution that serves primarily minority students who will support the City’s economy as tradespeople in technology, healthcare, and other prominent sectors in Boston. The school has been located in the South End since its founding. In order to expand and enhance its operations for its student body, Franklin Cummings acquired land at 1003–1013 Harrison Avenue in Roxbury. In 2021, the BPDA Board approved the new Franklin Cummings campus, which will consist of a new, three-story building containing 20 indoor technical education labs, eight general classrooms, meeting and study rooms, a central student lounge, administration and other offices, as well as support spaces. The construction of the new campus is dependent on the sale of the former campus at 41 Berkeley Street to an affiliate of Related Beal, who will build a mixed-use project that was approved by the board in December of 2022. Therefore, the BPDA will enter into a series of transactions with Franklin Cummings and Related Beal, including a payment in lieu of taxes or “PILOT” agreement and a grant agreement, to support FCT’s future in Roxbury.

Development Projects

2 Shawsheen Road project will bring all-affordable housing to East Boston

Live: 57 income-restricted units, 22 income-restricted homeownership units, 35 income-restricted rental units
Work: About 74 construction jobs
Connect: Close proximity to the Orient Heights MBTA Station
Sustain: 100% electric, Passive House Certified

Two residential buildings will be constructed at 2 Shawsheen Road, creating a total of 57 residential units. One building will contain 22 income-restricted homeownership units with indoor bike parking. The second building will contain 35 residential units with a bike room located off the entrance lobby. The project significantly advances high-level planning goals outlined in the ongoing planning initiative PLAN: East Boston, including expanding access to housing options that are affordable, stable, and able to meet households’ needs as they change over time, and the production of publicly accessible open spaces that are active and connected. There will be open space between the two buildings reserved for the future implementation of the Winthrop Greenway, a shared-use path that will connect the Orient Heights Station, the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway, and the town of Winthrop. In the meantime, the open space will provide a lawn, pedestrian path and benches for residents. The project will involve several improvements to the surrounding streets including new sidewalks, street trees, bike racks and a dedicated passenger loading area. This is a transit-oriented development, as the site is close to the MBTA Blue Line’s Orient Heights Station and several bus routes are nearby. In support of the city’s resilience goals, the project is designed to be all electric.

Project at 156 Wellington Hill Street in Mattapan approved

Live: 27 home-ownership units, including four income-restricted units
Work: 38 construction jobs, retail space
Connect: Traffic calming measures, raised crosswalks and plaza area at the intersection
Sustain: Green roof, development will preserve much of the existing structure

This project will incorporate three levels of an existing building into a new four-to-five story building on Wellington Hill Street. It will provide 27 condominium units and over 1,000 square feet of retail space for the Mattapan neighborhood. Four of the units will be income-restricted. The creation of homeownership units at this project is in line with the goals of PLAN: Mattapan to provide residents with opportunities to create generational wealth through homeownership. The intersection of Greendale Road and Wellington Hill Street will be improved with the expansion of sidewalk space and the creation of shorter, more visible pedestrian crossings. The larger sidewalks will allow for a plaza-like space in front of the retail. At least five street trees will be planted where possible. The project will contribute $7,859 to the Boston Transportation Department in support of the city’s bikeshare program.

1558 Tremont Street project will bring new housing to Mission Hill

Live: 95 residential units, 16 income-restricted units
Work: 64 construction jobs, 5 permanent jobs, retail space
Connect: Close proximity to multiple transit options
Sustain: Zero net carbon, LEED Gold, passive house design

Located in Mission Hill, this project will convert a vacant three-story building into a six-story multi use building that will house 95 residential units and 3,228 square feet of first-floor retail space. The apartments will consist of 59 studios, 22 one-bedroom units, and 14 two-bedroom units. Sixteen of these units will be income-restricted. The project will improve the public realm with new sidewalks, new street trees, and streetscape improvements. The project will contribute $49,000 to the Boston Transportation Department to support the city’s bikeshare program. Space will also be provided to put a 15-bike docking station on site. This is a transit-oriented development, as the site is close to the MBTA Green Line Brigham Circle, Longwood Medical Area, and Fenwood Road. There are also multiple bus routes nearby.

South Boston project at 118 B Street to create new housing in neighborhood

Live: 33 homeownership units, six income-restricted units
Work: 43 construction jobs
Connect: 34 bike parking spaces, close proximity to MBTA Red Line Broadway Station
Sustain: LEED Silver, all electric design

This project will create a five-story building with 33 homeownership units, including six-income restricted units. There will be an indoor storage room with space for 34 bikes. This project will be a transit-oriented development, as it is in close proximity to the MBTA Broadway Station, serving the Red Line and several bus routes. New, wider sidewalks will be constructed around the project, to accommodate new and existing foot traffic. At least six new street trees will be planted. The project will contribute $33,000 to the Boston Parks and Recreation Department for the upkeep of nearby Flaherty Park. In addition, this project will support the city’s transportation goals with a $9,075 contribution to the Boston Transportation Department to support the city’s bikeshare program.

27 Farragut Road project will build new housing in South Boston

Live: 21 residential units, four income-restricted units
Work: 28 construction jobs
Connect: $30,000 to be invested in public realm improvements
Sustain: LEED Gold, carbon neutral, all electric building

The 27 Farragut Road project will bring 21 housing units to South Boston in a four-story building. Four of the units will be income-restricted. This is a transit-oriented development as it sits along several MBTA bus routes. Pedestrian-safety improvements will be made to the intersection of Farragut Road and East Second Street. This, along with new curb extensions, will allow greater access to public open space, recreational amenities, and the waterfront across the street. At least two street trees will be planned and an existing tree will be protected. The project will contribute $5,775 to the Boston Transportation Department to support the city’s bikeshare program. Additionally, $20,500 will be contributed to the City’s Fund for Parks which will be used to maintain the green space and facilities at Christopher F. Lee Playground nearby.

Planned Development Area (PDA) Plan Approvals

(individual development projects to be approved separately at a later date)

On the Dot Master Plan PDA approved for 475-511 Dorchester Avenue

Live: 1,460 residential units, 248 income-restricted units, 94 senior living units
Work: Approximately 6,000 new permanent jobs, commercial space, local retail shops
Connect: More than three acres of open space, close proximity to the MBTA Red line and several bus routes
Sustain: All electric, passive house, LEED Platinum, 150+ new street trees

Located just outside of Andrew Square, the Master Plan Planned Development Area for 475-511 Dorchester Avenue, also known as the On the Dot development, would create 11 new buildings including office, life science, residential, retail, restaurant, commercial, and community uses. Given the size of this development, it will be initiated in phases. There are planned to be approximately 1,450 residential units within five residential buildings, 17 percent of which will be income restricted. Within that retail space, the project will allocate 20 percent of ground floor retail/commercial space to be affordable for local, diverse, independent small businesses. As part of the community benefits for this project, it will support affordable housing with a $30.7 million linkage payment, and jobs training with a $5.6 million linkage payment, as well as $18.9 million in transportation mitigation. In addition, this project is estimated to contribute $1.2 million to the bikeshare program. Along with this development would be the creation of an extensive new street system to accommodate the increase in pedestrian, bicycle, and car traffic. This new street system will also allow for the connectivity and community of mixed-uses called for in both PLAN: South Boston Dorchester Avenue and the PLAN: South Boston Dorchester Avenue Transportation Plan. In support of sustainability goals, the project will be designed to minimize or eliminate the use of fossil fuels on site. In addition, first floor elevations for the buildings will be set at or above the required sea level rise design flood elevation, and with elevated grades to protect against future flooding. Each building will also include bicycle storage for residents, employees, and visitors that comply with the City’s bike parking guidelines. The project will also include public bicycle racks and up to 15 bike sharing stations. More than three acres of the site will be designated for public realm improvements or public open space, including 200 trees to reduce urban heat island effect.

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