BRA board approves over 1,400 units of new housing


BOSTON–With a full agenda before them to consider, the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s (BRA) Board of Directors approved eight new development projects and a change in one previously approved project this month. The approvals pave the way for 1,415 units of new housing, over a third of which (544 units in total) will be deed restricted as affordable at below market rates, according to BRA.

Two of the approved developments, including an ambitious eight-building, 656-unit project that will transform a light industrial area of South Boston into a mixed-use residential community, are in areas where the BRA is currently undertaking planning initiatives. The projects in South Boston and Jamaica Plain both incorporate a larger percentage of affordable housing than the city typically requires, a goal of the emerging planning studies.

Together, the nine projects approved at the meeting represent an investment of $949.5 million in Boston’s economy, and they are expected to create 1,417 construction jobs.

Below is a summary of the development projects that were approved.

Washington Village project set to reshape five-acre swath of South Boston

Total Project Cost: $400,000,000
Total SF: 977,450
Construction Jobs: 635

After more than a year of public vetting, a transformative residential and retail project that includes over 650 units of housing and 99,000 square feet of retail space won approval from the BRA board. Developer DJ Properties, LLC is set to move forward with the Washington Village project, which will span eight buildings on a 4.89-acre site in South Boston that is roughly bounded by Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester Street, and Old Colony Avenue. The area is currently a mix of surface parking, light industrial and commercial structures, and vacant land.

Washington Village, which will benefit from convenient Red Line access at Andrew Station, is not only among the largest residential developments to be approved recently; it is unique for its mix of housing types and price points. With both rental and homeownership units, the balance of which tends towards ownership, the project will result in 110 units that will be deed-restricted below market rates. By having 17 percent of all the units in the project be income restricted, Washington Village exceeds the city’s typical affordable housing requirements and aligns with the goals of the ongoing PLAN: Dot Ave initiative. Studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units will be available to rent and own.

Designed by Prellwitz Chilinski Associates, the eight buildings, ranging in height from three and four stories to 21 stories, will be constructed in three phases. The project will provide 42,500 square feet of new open space, with pedestrian plazas and landscaped areas, as well as a new roadway network intended to complement the fabric of the surrounding neighborhood. Washington Village’s retail component is expected to include a grocery store, pharmacy, restaurants, and cafes. Approximately 650 parking spaces will serve residents and retail customers at the site.

Trinity Financial partners with Boston Housing Authority to redevelop Orient Heights

Total Project Cost: $186,000,000
Total SF: 420,000
Construction Jobs: 315

Continuing with its approach to partnering with private developers to overhaul the city’s supply of public housing, the Boston Housing Authority’s (BHA) latest collaboration will result in the redevelopment of Orient Heights in East Boston. The project, like similar plans in Charlestown and Roxbury that are underway, will revitalize Orient Heights with new housing opportunities at a mix of income levels. The existing 331 public housing units will be demolished and completely reconstructed in three phases, with the first phase expected to cost approximately $51 million. Funding is still being sought for phases two and three, but Trinity Financial and the BHA hope to begin construction of those phases in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

A fourth and final phase would create 42 units of market rate housing to round out the project, but construction is not expected to begin until at least 2023 on this component. The new Orient Heights, designed by ICON Architecture, will be a mix of townhomes and mid-rise buildings.

In addition to replacing an obsolete public housing development with new and modern buildings to serve the same demographic of households, the Orient Heights project will feature in a new public park, public plaza, community center, and recreation space. It is designed to be LEED silver certifiable.

Site of well-known waterfront restaurants will be transformed with new housing, retail, and public space

Total Project Cost: $260,000,000
Total SF: 292,000
Construction Jobs: 275

The Cronin Group, owners of the South Boston Waterfront restaurants Atlantic Beer Garden and Whiskey Priest, will redevelop their properties at 150 Seaport Boulevard with a 22-story, 124-unit condominium building that includes two floors of retail and restaurant space at the base as well as a 179-space underground garage. In order to facilitate the project, the BRA has recommended that the state allow the agency to amend the 2000 South Boston Municipal Harbor Plan, which governs the dimensions, uses, and public realm requirements for new developments in this area of the waterfront.

Hoping to add to the growing vibrancy along the waterfront, officials at the BRA believe the Cronin Group’s project, designed by Elkus Manfredi, will enhance the public’s enjoyment of the area by completing the Boston Harborwalk. With the restaurants that currently occupy the site, a section of the Harborwalk remains noticeably incomplete. An uninterrupted waterfront walkway would ultimately help to better link Pier 4 with Northern Avenue.

To help support affordable housing needs in the neighborhood, the Cronin Group will partner with the South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation and a residential project under construction at Pier 4 to fund the creation of 46 units of affordable senior housing. As part of the community benefits package, the developer intends to provide financial support for Martin Richard Park at the Boston Children’s Museum, a short walk from the project site. Funding would also support the build-out of space for the Fort Point Arts Council at the nearby Envoy Hotel.

Third phase of Jackson Square project on Amory Street ready to go

Total Project Cost: $62,600,000
Total SF: 150,650
Construction Jobs: 113

Jackson Square Partners, LLC and The Community Builders, Inc. are prepared to move ahead with phase three of the redevelopment of Jackson Square, a transit-oriented master plan project that spans Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. While smaller than originally envisioned in the master plan due to the development partners losing a portion of land, the third phase will still create 144 units of new housing, 68 of which will be deed-restricted as affordable at below market rates.

The project will encompass two buildings, one along Amory Street and the other along Centre Street, in Jamaica Plain. The first building will contain 44 affordable rental units, while the second building will include approximately 100 affordable and market-rate units. The latter building will also include 2,400 square feet of retail space. In an effort to better knit together the fabric of the neighborhood, the third phase includes a 27,000 square foot linear park with bicycle and walking paths, a public plaza with seating, and several lawn areas directly across from the Jackson Square MBTA station. ICON Architecture designed the project to be LEED Silver certifiable.

New housing near Orange Line coming to Washington Street in Jamaica Plain

Total Project Cost: $13,000,000
Total SF: 42,170
Construction Jobs: 31

An approximately 13,000 square foot parcel of land on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain between the Stony Brook and Green Street Orange Line stations will be redeveloped with 40 condominiums and three ground floor commercial spaces at 3193 Washington Street. A mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, the building, designed by Embarc Studio Architecture + Design, will include seven on-site affordable units. The number of affordable units in the project aligns with the goals established thus far in the PLAN JP/Rox initiative.

The developer plans to offer one of the three commercial spaces in the project at 65 percent of market value and will work to attract a local minority- or woman-owned business. The project team has a history of supporting the local community, as they helped create CityPOP: Egleston, a pop-up arts space that occupies a vacant portion of the property. They have committed to $100,000 to develop a fully staffed and programmed community arts space.

East Boston development continues with expanded proposal

Total Project Cost: $7,250,000
Total SF: 1,177 (beyond what was originally approved)
Construction Jobs: 1 (in addition to the estimate for the originally approved project)

Originally approved by the BRA Board in April 2015, the 151 Liverpool Street project proposal has been revised by developer City Point Liverpool, LLC. The updated project will include 36 condominium units, a mix of six one-bedroom units, 28 two-bedroom units, and two three-bedroom units. Five of the units will be designated as affordable in accordance with the Inclusionary Development Policy and two will be made handicapped accessible. The updated proposal is also set to include a roof deck with exercise facilities, including a track for running and walking, as well as 36 on- and off-site parking spaces.

Located between East Boston’s Central Square and Decatur Street, the project site is about two blocks east of Boston Harbor and within walking distance to the MBTA’s Blue Line Maverick station and multiple bus lines.

Green-light for mixed-use development minutes from MBTA’s Broadway Station

Total Project Cost: $10,000,000
Total SF: 34,700
Construction Jobs: 26

This project is slated to enhance pedestrian and commercial activity along South Boston’s West Fifth Street and B Street. Five minutes from Broadway Station on the Red Line with direct access to Downtown, the 55 West Fifth Street project will transform an existing auto repair facility at the project site into a five-story, 34,700 square foot, mixed-use building. The project will include 32 residential units, consisting of six studios, eight one-bedrooms, and 18 two-bedrooms. Of the 32 units, four are designated as affordable at 70% of the Area Median Income (AMI). In addition, the proposal includes 2,053 square feet of ground floor retail space and 36 off-site parking spaces.

Aside from the creation of the new building, the project will also generate a number of public benefits, including $48,000 towards the Inclusionary Development Policy fund, $10,000 to the Friends of Second Street Park, $2,500 to the Cityside Neighborhood Association, $2,500 to the Saint Vincent Lower End Neighborhood Association and an agreement to collaborate with representatives from the Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) Condon Community Center to aid with remodeling and renovation of the center.

Redevelopment of two vacant City parcels in South Boston approved

Total Project Cost: $4,600,000
Total SF: 13,000
Construction Jobs: 10

As proposed, the 206 West Broadway project will redevelop two vacant City-owned parcels into a four-story mixed-use building. The 13,000 square foot project will include 16 income restricted residential units, made up of nine studios, seven one-bedroom units, and approximately 1,050 square feet of ground floor retail space.

Located about six minutes from Broadway station, the project will not generate any new parking, but will instead offer space for at least one bicycle storage unit per residential unit and discounted MBTA passes and Zipcar memberships for future residents who sign a “Car Free Pledge.”

Garrison Trotter project in Roxbury receives final designation

Total Project Cost: $6,000,000
Total SF: 17,750
Construction Jobs: 13

The Garrison Trotter project received final designation from the BRA’s board, the culmination of a collaborative effort between the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development and the BRA under the Mayor’s Neighborhood Homes Initiative (NHI). NHI uses City-owned land and funding as a resource to create affordable and mixed-income homeownership opportunities for a range of homebuyers. In turn, this project will feature 18 units of newly constructed housing with mixed affordability: six units of market rate housing, six units at 80% of the AMI, and six units at 100% of the AMI.