BOSTON–Boston Mayor Kim Janey on Tuesday joined residents of the Orient Heights public housing community and officials from the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and the development team of Trinity Financial and the East Boston Community Development Corporation to break ground on the final phase of Overlook Terrace at Orient Heights.
Phase Three of the project will complete the replacement and modernization of the remaining 123 units at Orient Heights, fully preserving the original 331-units of public housing. This final phase is the culmination of a planning and development process initiated in 2008 by the BHA, with State funding provided by DHCD.
“Overlook Terrace at Orient Heights is the result of great partnerships between the city, the state, the East Boston neighborhood, and the development and financial partners who have shown a real commitment to this community,” said Mayor Kim Janey. “Phase Three will mark completion of this historic initiative to provide a first-rate living experience to more than 300 families in public housing.”
Phase One of the Overlook Terrace at Orient Heights redevelopment effort was completed in 2018 and involved the construction of 120 units of new replacement state public housing. Phase One achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certifiability. Phase Two consisted of 88 new replacement state public housing rental units in a combination of apartment style and townhouse homes. The Phase Two property, which also includes new community and open spaces and play areas, achieved LEED Gold certifiability for sustainability and energy efficiency and was completed in 2020.
“The availability of affordable housing to meet the great demand we have in Massachusetts is a constant challenge for the Commonwealth, and this final phase at Orient Heights is another step toward addressing that challenge,” said Secretary Mike Kennealy. “But there is also a lot to be said for what the City of Boston and the Boston Housing Authority, the East Boston CDC, and Trinity Financial have done to create an apartment community of such quality that anyone would be proud to call home. I congratulate Mayor Janey, the City of Boston, the residents, and all stakeholders on this milestone today.”
As part of the FY22 Capital Plan, Mayor Janey committed another up to $19 million for Phase Three. The State is providing $17.5 million in capital funds, as well as an allocation of 4% and State Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Additional funders for Phase 3 include Citizens Bank, RBC Community Investments, MassHousing, and the George B. Henderson Foundation.
“Orient Heights is more than a collection of buildings. It’s a strong, proud community where generations of low income Boston residents have lived and raised their families for decades,” said BHA Administrator Kate Bennett. “This final phase fulfills a promise, to secure a future and a home for those families right here at Orient Heights.”
The BHA, which has owned and managed the Orient Heights public housing development since its original construction in the 1950s, undertook a planning process in 2008 with the support of DHCD to consider redevelopment options for the community. In January 2015, with an award of funding from DHCD, the BHA selected the development team of Trinity Financial and East Boston CDC to work with both agencies and the residents of the Orient Heights community to finalize a redevelopment strategy. In partnership with the BHA and DHCD, the development team secured financing to implement the redevelopment, and will own and manage the buildings into the future. The BHA will continue to own the land and will lease the land to Trinity.
“We are thrilled to begin construction of this final phase,” said Eva Erlich, Vice President, Development with Trinity Financial. “Trinity’s Overlook Terrace development team is just one part of a tremendous collaborative effort among the public and private sectors, and the residents and community that will bring the vision for this property to fruition and help serve the affordable housing needs for East Boston.”
Phase One was funded by affordable housing resources from the City of Boston, funds raised through an allocation of federal 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit, tax-exempt bonds for construction financing, and State public housing capital funds from BHA and DHCD. Phase Two was made possible with funds from the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s EOHED and DHCD, the BHA, MassWorks, MassHousing, RBC Community Investments, and Citizens Bank.