News & Updates

South Boston’s Old Colony Housing Development Receives Approval for Renovations

Apr 15, 2010

The BRA Board approved the Old Colony Phase One project, which will renovate the existing public housing development that is currently in poor condition. The project includes the construction of 116 new housing units in an 86,000 gross square foot four and six-story residential building with 40 one-bedroom units and 42 two-bedroom units, and four groups of townhouses with 34 units. The project also includes an approximately 10,000 square foot new community center. Seven existing three-story buildings, constructed in 1940, containing 164 units, will be demolished. The site design emphasizes low-impact development and optimizes walkable streets, open spaces and green storm water strategies. The project has a development goal of being net zero energy use.

The 82-unit building will be designed using modern materials that will better integrate the building into the surrounding neighborhoods and eliminate the industrial feeling associated with public housing developments of the mid-1900’s. Entrances will be at the juncture of the two wings and will face both toward the street and toward the parking area.

The townhouses will be approximately 55,500 gross square feet and consist of three two-bedroom units, 29 three-bedroom units and two four-bedroom units. The height of the townhouses will be approximately 36 feet. The townhouses will include attractive front entrances that connect to the adjacent pedestrian infrastructure, including new pathways and improved sidewalks, and will also open onto courtyards shared by the residents.

The community center will be a gathering space and resource for the Old Colony community as well as the surrounding South Boston neighborhood. The Boston Housing Authority is working collaboratively with the tenant association, the Old Colony Master Plan Advisory Committee, and neighborhood stakeholders to create the program for the community center. Preliminary program ideas include providing after-school programs, offices for the tenant association, a library, computer learning center, and other gathering/assembly spaces. The community center will also include a larger gathering space and kitchen for community functions such as the annual school play performed by students at the Perkins School and Old Colony’s annual Unity Day celebration.

The development team consists of the Boston Housing Authority and Beacon Communities Services LLC as the developer, Nixon Peabody LLP as legal counsel, The Architectural Team as architects, Epsilon Associates, Inc as the permitting agent and Vanasse & Associates, Inc as the transportation consultant.
Total project cost is approximately $56.8 million. The project is expected to commence in September 2010 and be completed in approximately 18 months. The project will create approximately 200 construction jobs.

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