BPDA approves new policy to introduce DEI into the review process for large projects
Aug 11, 2022
Board also approves new housing, more than half of units are income-restricted
The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors this month approved four new development projects representing 293,059 square feet (SF). The new projects will create 136 residential units, 77, or 56 percent of which will be designated income-restricted, and will support approximately 250 construction jobs and approximately 225 permanent jobs.
DEI in Development
The BPDA Board approved a new policy introducing diversity, equity and inclusion into the filing process for large projects in the City of Boston. This policy requests that proponents disclose diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) plans for Large Projects, Planned Development Areas (PDA) and Institutional Master Plans (IMP) when they are filed with the BPDA through Article 80. This is an opportunity for information gathering which will enable the agency and the City to learn more about the ways in which development can be more inclusive and reflective of the broad constituency of Boston.
The City of Boston and the BPDA are strongly committed to advancing opportunities for diversity, equity, and inclusion within Boston’s economic development community and real estate sectors. With the approval of the BPDA’s DEI in Development policy Thursday night, applicants filing Large Projects are now requested to submit a DEI plan that shows the project’s economic participation, employment, and management roles for people of color, women, and certified Minority and Women Owned Businesses.
The BPDA will collect these plans for informational purposes to understand disparities in the real estate market, increase M/WBE participation over time, and evaluate strategies to drive greater impact. This policy builds on the BPDA’s DEI requirements that ask bidders for public land parcels to outline a DEI plan. The DEI plan disclosure may also include initiatives undertaken by the project proponent to meet these goals within the context of the proposed project.
BPDA-owned land to host public art installation in Roxbury
The BPDA Board approved the installation of new public art on BPDA-owned property at 626 Warren Street in Roxbury. The artwork, titled “UnsungHeroes, Ms. Merri Mack’s Journey to the Freedom House” by Karmimadeebora McMillan, will be displayed along the fence of the property through the winter of 2023. The artist’s goal for this project was to recognize the potential voices of young Black women and women of color. This installation will celebrate the mission and leaders of Boston’s Freedom House. For over 70 years, the Freedom House has maintained its commitment to equity and civic leadership by coaching high school and college students to support their academic success, while providing a safe place for dialogue on social and community issues. The artist interviewed current students and asked, “Who is your unsung hero in the community?” The art that resulted will celebrate the past and current leadership at Boston’s Freedom House.
Revitalization of Urban League Headquarters brings affordable homes to 84 Warren Street in Roxbury
Located in Roxbury, this project will revitalize the current site that houses the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts (ULEM) by building a new six-story building with 65 income-restricted units, 22 of which are homeownership units and 43 of which are rental units, and includes new ground floor office and program space for ULEM. The site also includes bike storage, as well as amenity and deck space. The units will be a mix of one, two, and three-bedrooms. The rental units will be designated between 30 percent and 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), and the home-ownership units will be designated between 80 percent and 100 percent AMI. This project will contribute $49,000 to the Boston Transportation Department in support of the bikeshare program, and will also implement a Bluebikes station onsite. It will also improve connectivity and pedestrian access in the area, as well as landscaping with new street trees.
Vacant building to become 29 new homes at 1169-1171 Adams Street in Dorchester
Live: 29 homeownership units, five income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 60 construction jobs
Connect: Close proximity to public transportation
Sustain: 100 percent renewable electric for all common areas
The development at 1169-1171 Adams Street in Dorchester will transform what was once a vacant building into a five-story condominium development including 29 units, five of which will be income-restricted. These units will be a mix of one and two-bedrooms. This transit-oriented building will include both interior and exterior bike parking. The site is also within walking distance of numerous public transportation opportunities in the area, including the MBTA’s Mattapan Trolley service and several bus routes, as well as a supermarket and numerous other local retail and service businesses. The project will also contribute $7,975 to the Boston Transportation Department to go towards the City’s bikeshare program. New residents will also have subsidized access to the Bluebike program for three years, and MBTA passes for their first month as residents. In support of public open space improvements at Dorchester Park, this project will contribute $29,000 to the Parks & Recreation Department. In addition, the project will support addiction recovery in this neighborhood by contributing $21,000 to the Gavin House to support the efforts of Eileen’s House for Women, a residential treatment facility for women recovering from substance abuse disorders located in the Lower Mills neighborhood.
Mixed-use development at 804-812 Huntington Avenue will replace vacant site in Mission Hill
Live: 23 homeownership units, four income-restricted
Work: Approximately 200 innovation economy jobs, approximately 150 construction jobs
Connect: Retail space, expanded sidewalks, pedestrian improvements to six intersections, close proximity to public transportation
Sustain: LEED Gold certified, Passive House certified, Fitwell certified, Well building certified, Energy Star rated, rooftop solar
The project at 804-812 Huntington Avenue in Mission Hill will transform a vacant site, and construct two new buildings. One will be a new three-story residential building, containing 23 homeownership units, four of which will be income-restricted. The units will be a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom units, as well as studios. The second building will house office, lab, and research and development space, as well as ground floor retail. The new buildings will improve the public realm with landscape and hardscape improvements. This is a transit oriented development that is in close proximity to the MBTA Green Line and multiple bus routes, and will include bike storage on site. This project will contribute money to the Boston Transportation Department to either include a Bluebikes station on site, or support the bikeshare program in the city. In support of city sustainability goals, the residential building will be all-electric, and the parking on site will support electric vehicles.
Live: 19 homeownership units, three income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 30 construction jobs, easy access to downtown
Connect: Bike parking, contributes money to Bluebike system, close proximity to MBTA bus routes
Sustain: Energy efficient appliances, Solar PV ready
Located in Allston, this project will construct a new four-story building consisting of 19 homeownership units, three of which are income-restricted. The building will be a mix of one, one and half, and two-bedroom units. This is a transit oriented development that will include bike storage, and is in close proximity to the MBTA Green line and different bus routes. The building’s height and density respond to this proximity. In addition, the project is near an intersection, and within walking distance of a major neighborhood commercial area. These conditions support many of the City’s goals in reducing private vehicle trips, increasing active transportation, and promoting walkable neighborhoods. This project will also contribute to the bikeshare system with a $5,225 payment to the Boston Transportation Department. The project will also contribute $15,000 in support of nearby Ringer Park and other open space near the project site. New residents will also receive a one-year MBTA pass.
The BPDA Board also approved extensions to the Institutional Master Plans for Tufts Medical Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as there are currently no new projects.
In addition to these projects, there was also one update to a previously approved project.
Pilot Seafood Properties, a proponent of a project on Parcel 6B, in the South Boston Waterfront, scaled back the overall project site from approximately 6.51 acres to approximately 3.94 acres.