BPDA approves new affordable housing in Allston, Back Bay, Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, South Boston
Dec 14, 2023
PLAN: Downtown, PLAN: Mattapan zoning, Seaport transit plan approved
BOSTON - December 14, 2023 - The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors Thursday approved seven new development projects representing approximately 2,346,848 square feet (SF). The new projects will create 1,871 residential units, 707, or 37 percent of which, will be designated income-restricted, and will support approximately 2,291 construction jobs and 159 permanent jobs. These projects will make Boston a more resilient, affordable, and equitable city.
Planning & Zoning
BPDA Board adopts PLAN: Downtown
The BPDA Board of Directors formally adopted the PLAN: Downtown planning initiative at their board meeting today. The community planning process, which originally began in 2018, establishes a new framework for the growth, enhancement, and preservation of Downtown Boston as a 24-hour neighborhood, balancing livability, affordability, walkability, climate change preparedness, access to open space, and a dynamic mix of uses. The adopted plan focuses on increasing housing and takes into account the effects of the pandemic on the Downtown neighborhood, such as the change in patterns to foot traffic and office work.
BPDA Board approves South Boston Seaport Strategic Transit Plan
The BPDA Board of Directors approved the South Boston Seaport Strategic Transit Plan. This Plan, worked on in partnership with the Boston Transportation Department (BTD), as well as staff from the MBTA and other state agencies, includes 27 transit network and policy improvements which respond to the need for better local, crosstown, and regional access to the South Boston Waterfront. Building upon previous planning efforts, this plan focuses on improvements to the neighborhood’s buses, trains, shuttles, and ferries. The plan seeks to maximize access to the region’s people and places and ensure that transit is reliable and predictable, convenient, and integrated into all aspects of the South Boston Waterfront.
The public process for this plan began in the spring of 2019 with the goal of improving the operations, capacity, and connectivity of the transit network. During our extensive engagement, we learned that too many parts of the city have poor or indirect access to the South Boston Waterfront, transit is not prioritized enough, riders do not feel valued, and there is inconsistent availability of transit in the district. In the spring of 2022, after substantial research, engagement, and analysis, the BPDA and BTD released the Draft South Boston Seaport Strategic Transit Plan and its prioritized recommendations for public review and comment. The recommendations in the Transit Plan have been further refined to reflect and respond to this feedback.
Updated Mattapan zoning moves forward
The BPDA Board approved changes to Article 60 of the zoning code, the zoning article for the Greater Mattapan Neighborhood, to implement planning recommendations from PLAN: Mattapan. PLAN: Mattapan, approved and adopted by the BPDA Board in May 2023, advanced land use and policy recommendations meant to bolster affordable, contextual, and diverse housing production, as well as support opportunities for more multi-generational housing, senior housing, and options to generate extra income. This zoning change will modernize Mattapan’s residential zoning code and align Mattapan’s neighborhood article with the community values and goals that Mattapan residents expressed during the planning process, including the production of more housing through contextual infill development and the by-right development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) on owner-occupied lots. These changes will now need to be approved by the Zoning Commission.
Board authorizes contract for Citywide ADU “pattern book”
The BPDA Board authorized a contract with a consultant to create an illustrated guide, known as a “pattern book,” that will serve as a guide for the most feasible options for property owners in Boston who may want to build ADUs on their property. The selected consultant, Outwith Studio, will create new zoning recommendations necessary for updating the residential zoning code to allow for this type of housing growth, and to support the as-of-right development of ADUs throughout Boston that will complement residential building styles. This will support city-wide zoning reform that aims to break down barriers to and allow for more housing throughout the City of Boston. This effort also builds on work by the Mayor’s Office of Housing through their ADU Program, as well as ongoing work in Boston’s Mattapan neighborhood to advance by-right ADU development.
Board authorizes release of RFP for consultant to support the ‘Boston’s Framework for Greening while Growing’ urban design study
The BPDA Board authorized the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to retain a consultant who will support the City’s new ‘Greening while Growing’ urban design study. To support Boston’s growth, the BPDA, in partnership with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department (BPRD), is crafting a citywide framework for open space and development. Building on the current BPRD’s Open Space and Recreation Plan, which provides a vision for publicly owned open space, this new framework will develop ways to leverage the investment of private development as a way to expand the open space network of Boston even more, and in a way that is inclusive, equitable, resilient, and accessible. This study and its resulting recommendations will help the City support population growth and residents’ health, and combat climate change.
Board approves final designation of team to redevelop 44 Maple Street in Roxbury
The Board approved the final designation of the Maple Street Stewardship Team and the Boston Food Forest Coalition to redevelop the parcel at 44 Maple Street in Roxbury into a community garden. The community process began in 2022, and these entities received tentative designation to redevelop the parcel in August. The proposal will convert the parcel into a food forest park containing fruit and nut producing trees, shrubs, and other perennial plantings that will provide food crops to neighbors and support the environment. The park and its gathering space, bulletin board, game tables, and other amenities will be accessible to all neighbors. Sixty percent of the Boston Food Forest Coalition board membership is made up of Black women and the Stewardship Committee is made up of individuals with long histories in the neighborhood who represent the community. The Stewardship Committee intends to conduct outreach to minority-owned contractors, and engage neighborhood residents and youth in building the garden itself and providing educational opportunities through programming in the garden. The BPDA reviewed this information as part of the BPDA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion evaluation criteria for the redevelopment of public parcels.
Mary Ellen McCormack Redevelopment Phase I moves forward
Live: 1,310 residential units, 529 income-restricted replacement units
Work: Retail space for small, local businesses, approximately 1,737 construction jobs, approximately 79 permanent jobs
Connect: New Billy McGonagle Community Center, 2.5 acres of open space, improvements to public realm and open space
Sustain: All electric buildings, sitewide resiliency improvements, mass timber buildings
Mary Ellen McCormack is one of the largest public housing developments in New England, and has been in need of repair for many years. Originally completed in 1938, the site suffers from outdated utility, roadway, bicycle, and pedestrian infrastructure and lacks overall connectivity with the surrounding neighborhood. This project will redevelop more than half of the site – replacing 529 of the existing deeply affordable housing units and adding almost 800 mixed-income units, for a total of 1,310 residential units. The project aligns with city goals of reinvesting in Boston’s public housing stock and increasing density where appropriate, and the new buildings will also contribute to sustainability goals as they will be built fossil-fuel-free Passive House certified. In addition to the 1,310 new units within eight new buildings, approximately 13 percent of the site, or more than 2.5 acres, will become publicly accessible open space. The new buildings will also include retail space and the new “Billy McGonagle Community Center,” which will work to connect residents and neighbors with their broader surroundings and resources, reduce neighborhood crime and violence, and cultivate a safe, secure, and vibrant community for current and future residents. The remaining approximately 13 acres of the development will be redeveloped under a separate Planned Development Area Development Plan, as part of a future second phase.
The Independence project will redevelop Constitution Inn into income-restricted housing
Live: 100 income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 35 constructions jobs, approximately 36 permanent jobs
Connect: Bike parking, close proximity to public transit, private shuttle for residents, community space for neighbors
Sustain: LEED Gold
Located in the Charlestown Navy Yard, this project will renovate 147 hotel rooms at the Constitution Inn into 100 income-restricted residential units that will be a mix of studios, one, and two-bedrooms. The remaining space within the building will be leased back to the YMCA, currently on site, which will renovate it for the continued operation of a fitness and wellness facility. Of the 100 units, 48 will be dedicated to the Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) model. The PSH units will include on-site services for vulnerable populations that support stable tenancies. The PSH model combines providing deeply affordable, permanent, leased housing for individuals experiencing homelessness with tailored individualized services to assist people with disabilities to live successfully in the community long term. Providing income-restricted housing and retaining the existing gym fulfills goals for housing production and community-serving ground floor space in the neighborhood. The proponents will work with community partners and community-based organizations to program the community room and computer space within the project with programs and services available for the general public. The proponents bring a strong history of diverse development teams and diverse supplier contracting, as well as a demonstrated commitment to full participation by Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MBE), Women-Owned Business Enterprises (WBE), and other diverse businesses in all areas of development and operations, including contracts for construction, design, goods, and services. In addition to its close proximity to public transportation, the project will provide a dedicated shuttle for residents.
25-39 Harvard Avenue project will bring housing, retail to Allston
Live: 170 housing units, 29 income-restricted
Work: Approximately 153 construction jobs, approximately 8 permanent jobs, retail space
Connect: Bluebike station, enhanced Harvard Avenue public realm
Sustain: LEED Gold certified, all electric HVAC systems
This project will build a six-story building with housing and retail space in Allston. The building will contain up to 170 housing units, including 29 income-restricted units. An outdoor plaza connected to the residential lobby will be designed to hold both public and private events.
As a transit-oriented development, the site of this project is located near the Harvard Avenue MBTA Station and multiple MBTA bus stops. A $49,000 contribution will also be made to the Boston Transportation Department to support the installation of a 15-dock bluebikes station on or near the project. There will also be 170 bike parking spaces. The project achieves goals outlined in the City’s Open Space Plan and Urban Forest Plan by adding street trees on Harvard Avenue and trees in the courtyard which will help reduce the heat island effect on the public. A $100,000 contribution to the Boston Parks and Recreation Department will support the Stanley Ringer Playground in Allston. The project will contribute another $50,000 to the Parks and Recreation Department to support the Penniman Road Play Area in Allston.
Vacant building at 131 North Beacon Street to become six-story building with 76 home-ownership units
Live: 76 home-ownership units
Work: Approximately 87 construction jobs, approximately four permanent jobs
Connect: Transit-oriented development
Sustain: 61 LEED Gold, all efficient electric building
This project will convert a North Beacon Street lot that currently has a vacant one-story commercial building and a parking lot into a new six-story building with 76 home-ownership units and first-floor retail space. Of those units, 13 will be income-restricted. This building is transit-oriented, sitting in close proximity to several MBTA bus lines that run through the area, and less than a quarter mile away from the Boston Landing Commuter Rail Station. The project will contribute $25,000 to the Boston Parks and Recreation Department in support of the nearby McKinney Park in Allston. Once completed, the project will either make a one-time $49,000 donation to the Boston Transportation Department in support of the bikeshare program or provide space for one 15-dock bikeshare station.
1420 Dorchester Avenue project to create housing, retail space in Fields Corner
Live: 46 housing units, seven income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 56 construction jobs, new retail space, local artists engaged for plaza installation
Connect: Large rear yard, 55 bike parking spaces, close to #18 bus route, Fields Corner MBTA Station
Sustain: LEED Gold Certifiable, all electric building
Located in the Fields Corner section of Dorchester, this project is a five-story building providing 46 housing units and retail to the neighborhood. There will be 26 one-bedroom units and 20 two-bedroom units; seven of the units will be income-restricted. This is a transit-oriented development, as it is in close proximity to an MBTA Red Line station. This development will include indoor and outdoor bike parking and provide space on site for a future public art installation. The project will provide space for a 15-dock BlueBikes station and make a $13,650 contribution to the Boston Transportation System to support the bikeshare system. Additionally, the project will contribute $23,000 to the Parks and Recreation Department to support nearby Ronan Park.
36 housing units coming to Dorchester within 81 Hancock Street project, retail space preserved
Live: 36 housing units, six income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 33 construction jobs, retail space
Connect: 40 bike parking spaces, new pedestrian crossing across Hancock Street
Sustain: 100 percent efficient electric/smart grid
This project on Hancock Street in Dorchester will bring 36 housing units to the neighborhood, while maintaining the operation of the site’s current retail space. The units will include 15 studios, 12 one-bedrooms, six two-bedrooms, and three three-bedrooms. Six of the units will be income-restricted. The all-electric building will have 40 bike parking spaces for residents, and approximately 16 new trees will be planted, along with other public realm improvements. In addition, crosswalks will be installed on nearby Trull Street and Hancock Street to create a safer experience for pedestrians. This project will also contribute $9,900 to the Boston Transportation Department to support the bikeshare system.
415 Newbury Street project will build new housing, space for Harvard Club of Boston
Live: 133 housing units, 23 income-restricted home-ownership units
Work: Approximately 249 construction jobs, approximately 69 permanent jobs
Connect: $435,000 in public realm improvements, 160 bike parking spaces
Sustain: 80+ leed platinum certifiable credits
This project includes a three-story building with 38 homeownership units and an 11-story building with 95 housing units on what is currently a parking lot on Newbury Street. A total of 23 units will be income-restricted. The project will also create residential amenities and new facilities for the Harvard Club of Boston. Approximately 64,000 square feet of existing Clubhouse will remain. This project is transit-oriented, as it is located less than 500 feet from the MBTA Hynes Convention Center Station and an MBTA bus route. The project will contribute $75,000 to fund a new 19-dock bikeshare station on or near the site. As part of the community benefits, this project will create a new dedicated bike lane on Newbury Street between Massachusetts Avenue and Charlesgate East. The project includes a minimum of 133 indoor bike parking spaces for residents and employees, and at least 35 bike parking spaces for visitors.
Planned Development Area (PDA) Plan Approvals
(individual development projects within these PDAs will be considered by the Board separately)
Columbia Point Crossing project at 35-75 Morrissey Boulevard will bring new mixed-use development to Dorchester
Live: 585 residential units, 117 income-restricted units, $11.6 million in linkage fees towards affordable housing
Work: Approximately 4,000 construction jobs, approximately 4,000 permanent jobs, $2.1 million in linkage fees towards jobs training
Connect: Close proximity to the MBTA, new Bluebikes stations on site
Sustain: Designed for 2070 sea level rise projections, LEED Gold
Located in Dorchester, this project will completely redesign the existing site with seven new buildings to include a mix of residential, retail, commercial, and office space. Due to the project’s large scale, the street network will be redesigned to accommodate new bike and pedestrian pathways, and will provide a number of transportation improvements as community benefits. Almost half of the site will be made up of publicly accessible open space, and new roadways and connections. There are three different parks planned for the site, as well as a ‘civic plaza’ which is imagined to be used for things like farmer’s markets and outdoor recreation. The project is estimated to have 585 residential units, at least 20 percent of which will be income-restricted. For every building that includes office/lab space there will be a $5 per square foot contribution made to a new Transportation Mitigation Bank, which will go towards infrastructure improvements at the JFK MBTA station and the Morrissey Boulevard/ Kosciusko Circle study and redesign. The project will also initially contribute $200,000 to this fund. In addition, the project will contribute $444,470 to the Boston Transportation Department in support of the City’s bikeshare program. In terms of cultural and civic benefits, the project will contribute $750,000 to the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation, and $250,000 to the BPDA’s community benefits fund to support the creation of a new Main Street program encompassing Dorchester Avenue in the Columbia/Savin Hill neighborhood of Dorchester. In addition, $1 per square foot of residential space will be paid to the Boston Parks and Recreation Department for the maintenance of Moakley Park. Each building will go through the Article 80 review process in separate phases of the development. This project will be phased and constructed over the course of approximately five-ten years, with construction likely to begin in 2025.
In addition to these projects, the board approved:
The Notice of Project change at 554-562 Columbia Road, which will now restore the existing mixed-use Fox Hall building, as well as introduce new senior housing units to the project. It will also eliminate the original proposed parking.
The second Notice of Project change at 270 Dorchester Avenue to change from condominiums to rental units.
The extension and renewal of the Boston Children’s Hospital Institutional Master Plan.
The Notice of Project change for Parcel 25 to reduce the overall size of the project and the parking on site and change the use from office to residential.