BOSTON – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Congressman Seth Moulton joined the veteran community to break ground on a first-in-the-nation $46 million Boston development that will bring 102 units of housing and on-site supportive services to a variety of different veteran populations.
Owned by Brighton Marine, a veteran network community, and WinnCompanies, an award-winning developer and one of the nation’s largest military housing managers, the Residences at Brighton Marine will be built on Brighton Marine’s campus along Commonwealth Avenue, providing apartments at all income ranges in a transit-oriented location for qualifying veterans and their families who want, but cannot afford, to both live and work in Boston.
“Creating a veteran-centered community is a strategic milestone in Brighton Marine’s expanding mission to develop stand-alone, measurable programs that directly impact our heroes,” said Michael Dwyer, Chief Executive Officer of Brighton Marine. “This community will create a sense of place for each veteran and family member by incorporating other critical transitional services such as clinical, wellness and behavioral health services all under the nation’s top-rated military health care program; all on a public transit-connected campus.”
The Residences at Brighton Marine represents a national model, offering permanent housing for an independent population of veterans. In fact, mixed income housing of any type has not been developed on this scale in Boston specifically for veterans since World War II. The development is the first-of-its-kind for other reasons as well:
- Available to a wide range of incomes: Eligible Income levels include extremely low, low, and middle-workforce incomes
- Number and type of units: Not only do the 102 units represent one of the largest private developments ever created for veterans, but the wide variety of apartment types, ranging from studios to three bedrooms, are a rarity in veteran housing
- Transit oriented development near a job center
- Unique Partners: This development is co-owned by a non-profit (Brighton Marine) and a for-profit (WinnCompanies), a partnership never done before in the veterans housing field
Construction at the 1.44-acre site is scheduled for completion by December 2019.
“Our administration is proud to support this important project, which will provide new affordable housing to veterans across a range of incomes, from homeless veterans to middle-income households,” said Governor Baker. “The Residences at Brighton Marine will honor the service and sacrifice of Massachusetts veterans, by providing decent, safe, affordable homes, in a setting that will offer access to integrated health care and human services.”
There will be 11 studio units, 47 one-bedroom apartments, 33 two-bedroom apartments and 11 three-bedroom apartments, of which 101 units will be contained in a new, seven-story building and one unit will be developed through the adaptive reuse of a historic building that will also have ground-floor community space.
“Brighton Marine is one of the city’s strongest allies in our work to make sure all veterans in the City of Boston have a place to call home, as well access to health services and family support,” said Mayor Walsh. “This groundbreaking marks the start of one of the biggest veterans’ housing developments of its kind in Boston since the end of WWII, and I am proud that we are taking another step forward in ensuring all of Boston veterans have what they need to lead full and healthy lives.”
“We’re in the midst of the longest war in American history. It’s not a particularly popular war, mind you, but our troops go through a lot oversees. And for those who make it home, the least we can do is welcome them back into our communities,” said Congressman Moulton. “This is about building a community that is inclusive of all.”
The 102 rental units will be available to veterans of various income levels, including middle income families; a one-bedroom average cost is estimated at $1,686 per month. Not only are the Residences easily accessible to public transit, but they are also near job centers, making it an optimal location for veterans who are entering the workforce.
“As one of the largest managers of military housing in the United States,” said Gilbert Winn, Chief Executive Officer of WinnCompanies, “we were drawn to the Brighton Marine housing development as a unique opportunity to create premier quality housing for veterans with diverse incomes and family sizes at a location close to jobs, transportation, entertainment and services – a true veterans’ village.”
The Residences at Brighton Marine is the non-profit’s most ambitious project to date and will complement a housing initiative underway at Brighton Marine that is already helping homeless veterans and their families with an endowment fund that provides money for security deposits, first and last month’s rent, outstanding utility bills, and moving expenses.
The Residences at Brighton Marine are being financed and built with substantial public support, including funds from MassHousing, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development(DHCD), and the City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development. MassHousing has committed a $9.4 million permanent loan, a $14 million bridge loan and $5 million from the Agency’s Workforce Housing Initiative. DHCD has made an allocation of federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, as well as providing approximately $3.6 million in direct support, and an additional $3.7 million is being provided through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which MassHousing manages on behalf of DHCD. The City of Boston is providing approximately $4.1 million in financing.
Bank of America is providing a $31 million construction loan and is investing more than $24-million of private tax credit equity.
“We are very pleased to partner with Brighton Marine, WinnCompanies, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston in this first-of-its kind initiative to provide 102 brand-new affordable apartments to veterans with a range of incomes,” said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. “Those who have served our nation deserve the best possible care. This new housing community, built specifically for veterans and their families, will complement the comprehensive array of services already being provided to veterans on the Brighton Marine campus.”
Cranshaw Construction of Newton, MA, is the general contractor. The Architectural Team, of Cheslea, MA, is the architect.
The development of the Residences at Brighton Marine advances the Baker-Polito Administration’s goal of creating up to 1,000 new workforce housing units affordable to middle-income households through MassHousing’s $100 million Workforce Housing Initiative. Since the inception of the initiative in 2016, MassHousing has committed or closed workforce housing financing totaling $49.7 million, to 23 projects, located in 13 cities and towns. To date, the Workforce Housing Initiative has advanced the development of 2,111 housing units across a range of incomes, including 538 workforce housing units.
The Brighton Marine campus was originally constructed by the federal government beginning in 1938 in order to accommodate the relocation of the U.S. Marine Hospital, which was located in Chelsea, MA, at the time.