News & Updates

BPDA awards tentative designation to Related Beal and DREAM Development to redevelop parking lots into 402 housing units

Apr 11, 2024

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors today awarded tentative designation to Related Beal and DREAM Development for the redevelopment of the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) Lots located in Roxbury into 402 housing units. This designation is in direct response to the City’s 2022 land audit, which identified this site as a high-priority opportunity site for community planning and redevelopment. The new mixed-use development will help address the City’s most urgent needs including affordable housing, community development, and climate resilience.

"This critical designation moves us forward to turn parking lots into housing that addresses residents' needs," said Mayor Wu. "I'm grateful to our City teams for their cross-departmental collaboration to take stock of all of our City-owned properties and ensuring that our redevelopment efforts truly advance public land for public good. We look forward to partnering closely with Related Beal and DREAM Development to ensure the community's vision for this critical development is realized."

“We were very fortunate to receive two great proposals for the Boston Water and Sewer Commission Lots, which made for a competitive process, and I’m grateful to both teams for their participation. I’m excited to move forward with this designation for such a large amount of land in our City, with a proposal that will add significantly to our housing stock, and genuinely advance this disposition of public land for public good” said Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison. “Ensuring that this land is a public benefit for the future responds to years of engagement with the community through the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan and PLAN: Nubian Square. I’d like to thank our staff for helping make the community’s vision here become a reality.”

"We look forward to partnering with DREAM Development and Related Beal, alongside the Roxbury community, to transform the Boston Water and Sewer parking lots into much needed housing and community assets,” said Housing Chief Sheila Dillon. “This project will deliver a variety of housing types, including rental, homeownership and homes for our older adults. However, this initiative is more than just a housing solution; it's a commitment to undoing the damage of urban renewal, fostering inclusive growth and contributing to a resilient, thriving community."

The five parking lots cover 17 parcels in Roxbury between Melnea Cass Boulevard, Harrison Avenue, and Washington Street. The Related Beal and DREAM Development proposal would convert those parking lots into 402 residential units, 89 percent of which would be income-restricted rental and homeownership opportunities. The proposal includes 79 homeownership units, 229 rental units, and 94 senior housing units. In addition to housing, the team intends to create wealth building programs that would help renters become first-time homebuyers. The final phase of the project will include homeownership units, with the goal of making them available to residents who live in the rental units built in earlier phases after generating equity through said wealth-building programs. This development would also include an acre of new green space, ground floor spaces including retail, dining, community services, and incubator and startup spaces. The project will be designed as LEED Platinum, with all electric buildings, and with elevated floors to protect against flooding.

“We are grateful to the City of Boston, BPDA, and the Mayor’s Office of Housing for this incredible opportunity to bring affordable housing, wealth generation, workforce development and open space to Roxbury’s Nubian Square,” said President of Related Beal Kimberly Sherman Stamler, and Managing Principal for DREAM Development Gregory Minott. “Together as partners, Related Beal and DREAM are excited to work closely with the city, local stakeholders, and the Roxbury community to create a development that provides new housing opportunities and upholds the character and legacy of this historic neighborhood.”

The redevelopment of the property will comply with the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan RSMP, a neighborhood-wide planning strategic framework to guide change and economic growth in Roxbury, as well as PLAN: Nubian Square (2019) which is an implementation plan to mobilize development on publicly owned parcels in Roxbury’s Nubian Square. PLAN: Nubian Square’s planning objectives include job creation for the community, development of diverse and affordable housing options, creation of resilient and sustainable design, and commitment to diversity and inclusion in the development process.

BPDA staff held five community meetings to inform the draft of the RFP to ensure that this project is community-led development in action. From those engagements, and in concert with the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan and PLAN: Nubian Square, the development objectives for this RFP included: equitable and affordable housing and wealth creation, bolstering of community infrastructure such as small business development, daycares, laundromats, etc, addressing urban heat island effect, and development without displacement. In line with the BPDA’s RFP standards, the selected development team was required to submit a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan and outline commitments to including Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBEs) in all aspects of their development process. The redevelopment at this site has also been identified as a potential recipient of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds through the Mayor’s Office of Housing. 

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