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Roslindale's Washington Beech Cuts Ribbon on Phase One

Jun 29, 2010

Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Governor Deval Patrick and US Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Sandra Henriquez cut the ribbon on Tuesday, June 29 to celebrate the first phase of redevelopment at the Washington Beech public housing development in Roslindale. Phase 1, which includes 100 new units, will be occupied by the end of the month. The development is being rebuilt through a public/private partnership using federal HOPE VI and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.

Under this redevelopment effort, the Boston Housing Authority and its developer, Trinity Financial, will demolish the existing 266 units and replace them with 206 onsite and 136 offsite affordable housing opportunities.

“This redevelopment is creating jobs, clean, green and affordable housing, and promoting healthy living,” said Mayor Menino. “It will be smoke-free and is on its way to attaining LEED Gold certification, the highest level of energy efficiency of any BHA development.”

Washington Beech’s new site design reduces density to be more in keeping with the surrounding neighborhood. A variety of unit types replace the existing institutional walk-ups including a mid-rise elevator building, small garden apartments, duplexes over flats, and townhouses. New private roads are being built so that all unit entries front on a street and residents can park nearby. A central green space with play facilities and park benches will be provided for young children and adults.

“Washington Beech is a dynamic example of the good that comes from collaboration and long-term thinking,” said Governor Patrick. “Thanks to the work of federal, state and local government, we are creating good jobs right now, giving people a place to put down roots and wisely thinking about our future by focusing on public health and clean energy today.”

All of the affordable units will be constructed using green principles and technology, allowing for maximum energy efficiency at the site. Inside the new structures, all residential units and community space is being built to exceed Energy Star standards, including features such as high-efficiency condensing boilers for heating and hot water; demand control ventilation for all common areas; Energy Star rated lighting with occupancy control sensors; ultra low flow toilets; and light stat thermostats for night setbacks. Taking these factors into consideration, the Washington Beech redevelopment is on course to attain LEED Gold certification

The redevelopment also includes a comprehensive Community and Supportive Services program which includes job readiness training, computer training, English language classes and health services among other things. Intensive case management and a coordinated service referral program will form the cornerstones of this program. All Washington Beech residents are eligible to participate in these services during the life of the grant. The program will be housed in a new community center which was recently completed during the Phase One construction.

Construction of Washington Beech is occurring in two stages to accommodate the relocation and re-housing of existing residents. Residents began relocation of the first phase buildings in the summer of 2008. Phase One construction began in May 2009 and the 100 new apartments will be fully occupied by the end of next month. The existing buildings, which will be demolished as part of Phase Two, will be vacant by the end of July. Phase Two construction of 106 rental apartments is expected to begin in September, 2010 and be completed by July 2012. Phase Two also includes a ½ acre park.

Washington Beech residents were given relocation assistance and a variety of choices regarding their relocation which included moving to another BHA development or receiving a tenant-based Section 8 voucher and moving to housing in the private sector. They also have the right to return to Washington Beech after the redevelopment is completed.

Redevelopment of Washington Beech is expected to cost approximately $100 million, with $20 million of that being provided through federal HOPE VI funds and $10 million through federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. Other funders include the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through the HOME, HSF and AHT programs, the City of Boston’s Neighborhood Housing Trust Program, Boston Redevelopment Authority, Department of Public Works, and Department of Neighborhood Development, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission and private equity generated from the syndication of Low Income Housing Tax credits.

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