BPDA Board approves Chief Planner James Arthur Jemison as Director of the BPDA
May 12, 2022
Agency to disburse more than $120,000 in grant funding to support career development for Boston youth
The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors this month approved 128 residential units, 99 of which will be designated income-restricted. In total, the development projects approved represent approximately 164,139 square feet (SF) and will support over 600 construction jobs and over 1,000 new permanent jobs.
Chief Planner James Arthur Jemison to serve as Director of the BPDA
The BPDA Board voted to approve Mayor Michelle Wu’s Chief of Planning James Arthur Jemison to serve as Director of the BPDA. He will be charged with coordinating and directing all City plans, land use directives, and all related development policies and processes. He will begin his new role on May 23.
“With his deep experience across city, state, and federal government tackling housing instability and building more equitable communities, Arthur will help drive our agenda forward to make Boston a city for everyone,” said Mayor Wu. “In this moment of urgent challenge and opportunity, Boston’s growth must reflect the possibilities for our brightest future—from affordable housing and racial equity, to climate resilience and healthy, connected communities.”
Jemison will have the responsibility of coordinating and elevating the land use planning efforts across all City of Boston department planning teams, including the planning functions of the Boston Transportation Department, the Environment Department, the Mayor’s Office of Housing, Public Works, Public Facilities, Boston Public Schools, Boston Public Libraries and other departments, while ensuring these efforts align into a comprehensive vision for the future of Boston. The Chief of Planning will also play a central role in structurally reforming the BPDA and leading ongoing planning, zoning and development.
Jemison brings 28 years of planning and affordable housing expertise, working with community members to create equitable places in Detroit, Washington D.C., and Boston. Most recently Jemison served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Vacant parcels to be transformed into affordable housing in Roxbury
The BPDA board voted to tentatively designate Windale Developers Inc. to develop 12 vacant BPDA-owned parcels into 23 new housing units in the Garrison-Trotter neighborhood of Roxbury, nearly 70 percent of which will be considered income-restricted. The proposal includes three single-family homes, eight townhomes, and two two-family homes. Of the 23 units, 16 will be income-restricted homeownership units, five will be market rate ownership, and two will be market rate rental units. The income-restricted homes are evenly distributed between 80 percent AMI and 100 percent Area Median Income (AMI).
The Garrison Trotter Neighborhood Association has also been extensively involved in this process. Windale Design and Construction LLC is a certified MBE and Boston-based company located in the Garrison Trotter neighborhood that meets BPDA’s diversity, equity and inclusion requirements. The proposal includes a plan to promote diversity through engagement with local and minority subcontractors, and aim to achieve construction employment that is 51 percent Boston residents, 40 percent persons of color, and 12 percent women. These goals are responsive to the BPDA’s diversity, equity, and inclusion criteria.
2085 Washington Street to bring affordable housing, artist space to Roxbury
Live: 96 total units, 94 income-restricted, including 64 rentals and 32 homeownership units.
Work: Artist gallery space, artist workshops, community meeting space, and a resident work bar.
Connect: New pedestrian plaza and BlueBike station, MBTA Silver Line and Bus connections nearby.
Sustain: LEED Gold, pursuing 2021 Passive House Certification.
2085 Washington Street, part of The Madison Tropical Development at Parcel 10 and located within the planning boundaries of PLAN: Nubian Square, will bring 94 income-restricted homes and artist spaces to Roxbury. The PLAN: Nubian Square initiative has guided a robust community engagement process and established several objectives for the publicly owned properties in the area, including Parcel 10. These objectives have included the creation of jobs, affordable housing, resilient and sustainable construction, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the community, all of which will be delivered through the project at 2085 Washington Street.
The proposal is the third and final phase of a project that has so far consisted of expanding Tropical Food Market in Phase One and a mixed-use development with affordable rental units and ground-floor commercial use in Phase Two. The proposal for the final phase delivers additional affordable homes, artist spaces, a new pedestrian plaza and a new BlueBikes station.
279 Maverick Street project moves forward, bringing new housing to East Boston
Live: 32 residential units, 15 percent income-restricted.
Work: Ground floor retail space.
Connect: Walk score: 90, new accessible crossing connections.
Sustain: New street trees, meets Coastal Flood Resiliency Zoning Overlay District design standards (CFRZOD).
Located in East Boston, this project will build a new five-story building containing 32 rental units, five of which will be income-restricted. The total number of units includes studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units. The ground floor will also include 1,797 square feet of retail space. The project will also make streetscape improvements to blend the new development with the newly constructed building at 287 Maverick Street. Residents will be able to take advantage of a landscaped patio with a bicycle repair station. The project will contribute $9,465 to the City’s bikeshare program, improve the pedestrian experience on Maverick Street by adding new street trees, widening the sidewalk, and creating a direct connection to the Tomahawk Drive shared-use path, which connects the neighborhood to transit and community parks.
80 East Berkeley Street project to provide million of dollars towards housing and jobs
Live: $2.5 million in linkage payments towards housing and jobs.
Work: 800 permanent jobs; 300 construction jobs.
Connect: $265,000 towards traffic mitigation and public realm improvements.
Sustain: Carbon neutral operation with off-site renewables.
A previously approved 150-foot tall office proposal, located on the site of the Stanhope Garage at the corner of Shawmut Avenue and East Berkeley Street in the South End, will be changed to life sciences research space, while retaining ground floor cultural, retail, and commercial uses. The proposed project is situated within the boundary of the 2012 Harrison-Albany Strategic Plan, and is consistent with the vision and goals laid out in the plan. The project comes with numerous community benefits. The project will provide $2.5 million in linkage funding to generate affordable housing and provide job training for residents. The project has dedicated $265,000 towards traffic mitigation and public realm improvements, and will contribute $25,000 to three community-based organizations: The Friends of Peters Park, Berkeley Community Garden, and Inquilinos Boricuas En Accion, a South End based social services organization.
The BPDA Board also approved an update to Parcel 6A in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park to increase square footage and reduce parking in the first phase of the project.
Funding to support career pathways in planning and development for Boston youth moves forward
$58,592 will support the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Summer Program in Resiliency Planning. UMass Boston’s Department of Urban Planning is proposing to introduce high school sophomores and juniors to the opportunities available within the urban planning, design, and development professions. This program will include hands-on learning through a research project focused on extreme heat threats related to climate change. Students will be introduced to the role urban planners are playing in measuring, modeling, and mitigating the impact of climate change on our city and the region as a whole.
$15,000 will support Boston Architectural College’s (BAC) Mobile Makers program. Mobile Makers brings a fully equipped mobile design studio to communities with predominantly BIPOC youth to increase interest in careers in design, architecture, and planning fields to build more equitable communities. Through the Mobile Makers Summer Program, staff will help young people understand how design shapes their lives.
$48,000 will support the BAC’s Summer Academy Fellows Program. The program’s goal is to increase diverse employment in urban planning over the next ten years, focusing on Boston high school students to address the long-standing underrepresentation of people of color in the urban planning, design, and development professions.