Plan calls for including middle income units
The redevelopment of the Boston Housing Authority’s public housing community at Orient Heights in East Boston is underway, and plans call for some of the new units to be classified as middle-income.
Phase one of the redevelopment project will demolish four existing buildings containing 90 housing units, and construct 120 new units of affordable housing for lower-income residents. Additional phases of demolition and redevelopment will follow. The full Orient Heights Redevelopment Project will replace all 331 state-aided public housing units on the site, replacing them with a total of 373 new housing units.
MassHousing provided $26.1 million in tax-exempt financing for Phase 1 of the redevelopment, which is being redeveloped by Trinity Financial and the East Boston Community Development Corporation in partnership with the BHA.
"Every resident in Massachusetts deserves the opportunity to live in housing that is safe, affordable and modern, and the first phase of the redevelopment of Orient Heights is an important step forward for this community’s residents," said Governor Charlie Baker. "I congratulate the City of Boston for embracing efforts to modernize its public housing stock, and look forward to seeing the benefits this transformation will bring to the entire neighborhood."
Orient Heights is the most distressed property in the BHA’s portfolio. Built in 1951, the redevelopment project will create a new community of energy-efficient, code-compliant housing, in a mix of midrise and townhouse buildings. The redevelopment will also create new parking and green space, and open the site to the surrounding neighborhood.
"Over the past 15 years, MassHousing has worked with in partnership with the BHA to revitalize close to 2,000 units of its most physically distressed rental units in the city and transformed housing communities like Maverick Landing, Franklin Hill, Washington Beech, Old Colony, Lower Mills, Heritage and now at Orient Heights, into modern, mixed-income communities for the residents of Boston," said MassHousing Executive Director Tim Sullivan. "We are very pleased to be working with the city of Boston, DHCD, Trinity Financial, and all the public and private partners who are committed to the redevelopment of Orient Heights."
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is supporting the first phase of the Orient Heights redevelopment with $33 million in capital subsidies. The project also received $1 million in subsidies from the City of Boston, as well as Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits and rental subsidies from DHCD. The multi-phase plan also allows for future construction of market-rate and mixed-income housing for working families and moderate-income households.
"I am grateful to join with our state and community partners as we celebrate the beginning of a new era for the Orient Heights housing development," said Mayor Marty Walsh. "This public housing facility has been the home of many families for decades, and I am proud that with the support of our state and federal partners we are revitalizing current facilities, while creating new living spaces for future residents."
"Our administration is proud to support a project that removes boundaries between neighbors," said DHCD Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay. "Across the Commonwealth, we are working creatively to update and preserve state-funded housing units, to ensure affordability, and to create communities that are inclusive, vibrant and strengthen their surrounding neighborhoods."
Also last month, HUD announced the awarding of a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Grant for the redevelopment of the BHA’s Whittier Street public housing community in Roxbury. Preservation of Affordable Housing and Madison Park Development Corporation are working with the city to replace 200 units of antiquated housing as well as create 272 new units of moderate-income/workforce housing and market rate housing.
MassHousing expects to commit financing to the Whittier Street redevelopment including financing from the Agency’s Workforce Housing Initiative.