BPDA approves new development projects

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BOSTON–The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors Thursday approved two new development projects representing approximately 111,230 square feet (SF).

The new projects will create 82 residential units, 48 of which, or 56 percent of which, will be designated income-restricted, and will support approximately 96 construction jobs and 9 permanent jobs. The Board also approved the Dorchester Bay City Planned Development Area (PDA) Master Plan. These projects will make Boston a more resilient, affordable, and equitable city.

BPDA awards tentative designation for the redevelopment of Parcel P-12C

The BPDA Board of Directors awarded tentative designation to the Asian Community Development Corporation and The Community Builders for the redevelopment of Parcel P-12C at 290 Tremont Street in Chinatown. This site was previously tentatively designated, but after that development did not move forward due to financial constraints brought on by the pandemic, the BPDA restarted a community process in 2022 to imagine what could be developed on the site. This site was also identified as a high-priority opportunity site for community planning in the City’s 2022 land audit. Following years of community engagement, the objective for the redevelopment of the site is to create a dense, mixed-use development that prioritizes affordable housing and activates the streetscape. This development is a long-awaited opportunity to create a significant number of income-restricted units in an area that has experienced market-rate development pressures. The development team proposes 119 total income-restricted units, which will be a mix of rental and homeownership opportunities. The development would also include community or commercial space on the ground floor. 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 criterion, and outline commitments to including Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBEs) in all aspects of their development process. This project has also been identified as a potential recipient of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds through the Mayor’s Office of Housing.

BPDA approves release of RFP for Boston Water and Sewer Commission Parking Lots

The BPDA Board of Directors approved the release of an RFP to redevelop 17 parcels which exist as five parking lots in Roxbury known as the Boston Water and Sewer Commission Lots. This site was identified as a high-priority opportunity site for community planning in the City’s 2022 land audit. The BPDA seeks to convey the property to allow mixed-use development that will fulfill the property’s potential to address the City’s most urgent needs including affordable housing, community development, and climate resilience. The RFP seeks proposals which will create opportunities for wealth generation for the residents of Roxbury. BPDA staff held five community meetings to inform the draft of the RFP to ensure that this project is community led development in action. From those engagements, and in concert with the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan and PLAN: Nubian Square, the development objectives for this RFP include: equitable and affordable housing and wealth creation, bolstering of community infrastructure such as small business development, daycares, laundromats, etc, addressing urban heat island effect, and development without displacement. Like all BPDA RFPS, the selected development team will be required to meet the BPDA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion evaluation criterion, and outline commitments to including Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBEs) in all aspects of their development process. The future redevelopment at this site has also been identified as a potential recipient of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds through the Mayor’s Office of Housing. The RFP will be issued in the coming weeks.

Development Projects

Project at 2 Ford Street and 970 Saratoga Street moves forward to bring new housing to East Boston

Live: 41 residential units, seven income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 42 construction jobs, approximately eight permanent jobs, commercial retail space
Connect: Close proximity to public transportation, public realm improvements
Sustain: Mitigation towards heat island effect, climate resiliency measures

This project in East Boston sits on two separate parcels of land at 2 Ford Street and 970 Saratoga Street and will consist of two separate four-story, mixed use buildings. The building at 2 Ford Street will contain 27 residential units and retail space, and the building at 970 Saratoga Street will contain 14 residential units and retail space. Seven units will be income-restricted; at least one other will be considered for the City of Boston Voucher Program. The units will be a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom units. The retail space is intended to be tenanted by local residents from the East Boston community. This will be a transit-oriented development, as it is in close proximity to the MBTA Blue line, and will have space for bike parking for residents and visitors. This project is located within the boundaries of PLAN: East Boston, the BPDA’s ongoing neighborhood planning initiative. As one part of the planning process so far, BPDA staff delivered draft recommendations for all squares and corridors in May 2021. These recommendations include active ground floor uses supported by added height and density and transformational public realm improvements, which this project will deliver. During the review of this project, staff focused on ensuring the buildings are sensible to the neighborhood’s character, and securing street and sidewalk improvements that include safer and accessible crosswalks, wider sidewalks, and an expanded public realm to make space for street trees and green infrastructure. A financial contribution of $50,000 will be used toward making these pedestrian improvements, adding an art installation, and upkeeping Noyes Playground or another East Boston public park. A final portion of the contribution will go to the Boston Transportation Department to support the bikeshare program.

1471 Blue Hill Avenue project will bring new income-restricted housing to Mattapan

Live: 41 housing units, 100 percent income-restricted units
Work: 1,400 square feet of community space, 54 construction jobs
Connect: Bike parking, walking distance to Commuter Rail, MBTA bus services
Sustain: 48 percent on-site renewable energy, all electric design, rooftop solar

This project at 1471 Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan will convert a vacant lot into a five-story residential building with 41 energy-efficient and income-restricted rental units. The units range from one-bedrooms to three-bedrooms. There will be bicycle parking spaces for residents and for visitors. In addition, this project will contribute a bike-share station on site. There will also be a community art and workroom on site. Approximately 43 percent of the project site will be open space, and there will also be a publicly accessible pocket park on site. The project is within the boundaries of PLAN: Mattapan, approved and adopted by the BPDA Board in May 2023, by encouraging transit-oriented development of affordable housing and by improving nearby streetscape. Nine new trees will also be added along the street. Blue Hill Avenue is an important corridor identified in PLAN: Mattapan. Corridors are envisioned for denser residential development, commercial uses, and community-centered amenities due to their rich transit resources and high degree of accessibility. This project is consistent with the PLAN’s recommendations for public realm investment and green infrastructure, as it will have a small community garden, a publicly accessible pocket park and new street trees on Blue Hill Avenue. The proposed project leverages taller heights encouraged for PLAN: Mattapan corridors to bring people closer to existing transit access, retail, and community resources. The creation of a ground floor community use supports the vision for corridors to be places of gathering and public life.

1000 Washington Street project will convert building from office to life science

Live: Support for Friends of Peters Park, Pao Arts Center
Work: Approximately 276 construction jobs, approximately 790 permanent jobs, vacant office space converted to life science uses
Connect: New terrace space to gather and connect, reduced parking and vehicle trips
Sustain: LEED Gold,100 percent renewable electricity & carbon offsets to achieve Zero Net Carbon, 40 percent carbon reduction, critical building infrastructure elevated

Located in the South End, this project will convert the existing building at 1000 Washington Street from an office into new life science uses. The changes will primarily be interior to the building, but will also include some exterior changes as well including: new thermally efficient windows; substantial changes to the exterior envelope at the eleventh floor and expanded mechanical penthouse and rooftop mechanicals; increased energy efficiency measures; and minor changes to the loading dock. In addition, this project will contribute approximately $1,976,83 towards affordable housing and approximately $395,841 towards jobs training. The project will also contribute $20,000 in funding to the Friends of Peters Park and $20,000 in funding to the Pao Arts Center. In addition, the project will deliver another $10,000 in funding to the BPDA to be distributed to the community.

In addition to these projects, the Board approved:

  • An update to the previously approved Allston Square project to change a portion of the project from homeownership units to rental units.
  • An update to the previously approved Nubian Square Ascends project at 2164 Washington Street to increase the number of income restricted units from 10 to 15.
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