News & Updates

BPDA Board approves new affordable housing in Allston, Dorchester, Roslindale, and South Boston

Mar 16, 2023

Nubian Square Ascends team receives final designation for redevelopment of Blair Lot

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors this month approved six new development projects representing 1.8 million square feet (SF). The new projects will create 1,027 residential units, 212 of which will be designated income-restricted, and will support approximately 1,704 construction jobs and 1,362 permanent jobs. These projects will make Boston a more resilient, affordable, and equitable city.

Real Estate

Nubian Ascends Partners, LLC awarded final designation to redevelop the BPDA-owned Blair Lot

The BPDA Board awarded final designation to Nubian Ascends Partners, LLC for the redevelopment of the BPDA-owned Blair Lot. The team was awarded tentative designation in December 2020. Since the tentative designation, the project went through the Article 80 public engagement process, and was approved by the board in December of 2021. Since that time, the development plan has evolved to include five phases of construction, with construction beginning first on artist housing this coming fall.

Designed to promote economic revitalization through locally owned businesses and support artistry in Nubian Square, the project will include 135,000 square feet of space for lab training and office uses, 50,000 square feet of culinary and marketplace space, a 43,000 square foot cultural hall, more than 6,000 square feet of artist and maker space, and 15 units of housing (10 of which are affordable). The project dedicates 25 percent of the parcel to dynamic community gathering spaces and pedestrian improvements, including a public pedestrian link through the property that will create access to the retail, cultural and office portions of the site.

In February of 2016, the BPDA launched PLAN: Nubian Square to update the framework for new development in Roxbury and guide the RFPs for nine underutilized publicly owned properties. The RFP for the Blair Lot, the former home to Blair’s Foodland that had become vacant, was released in November of 2019 after an extensive public process to help the community shape the future of the site. The project review committee, alongside the community, reviewed each RFP response, and recommended in December of 2020 that the BPDA award designation to Nubian Ascends Partners, LLC. The proposal meets the BPDA and City of Boston’s diversity and inclusion requirements for publicly-owned land to create increased opportunities for people of color, women, and for the participation of Minority Business Enterprises (M/BEs). The development team partners, Nubian Square Development, LLC, Almiranta Development and Capital, and Black Market Development, are minority owned and controlled. In addition, the development team has committed to investing in local organizations serving the neighboring community.

Development Projects

Hundreds of housing units coming to Allston in 1234-1240 Soldiers Field Road project

Live: 543 residential housing units, 72 income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 95 permanent jobs, approximately 740 construction jobs, retail space
Connect: Bike parking, Bluebikes station, enhanced connection to the Charles River via a new DCR pedestrian bridge, creates a wider right-of-way for bus transitway
Sustain: 1.5 acres of public open space, LEED Gold, all electric residential units and hotel rooms

Located within the bounds of the Western Avenue Corridor Study in Allston, this project will build four new buildings: three residential, and one hotel on two separate but connected sites. The site at 1240 Soldiers Field Road will have a residential building that is a mix of condos and rentals, and is 100 percent income-restricted. It will also have retail space on the ground floor. The other building will contain 395 residential units and commercial/retail space which may include a music venue, office, or restaurant. The site at 1234 Soldier Field Road will build a hotel and a residential building. The hotel will be approximately 11 stories, and contain 195 rooms, as well a ground floor commercial space. The residential building will contain 76 homeownership units. As this is a transit-oriented-development, this project will also reduce the reliance on single-vehicle-occupancy, as all buildings will include bike storage and bike parking. New pedestrian paths, as well as the planned public realm improvements on site will encourage pedestrian and bicyclist travel to and from the Charles River Reservation and its recreational resources. In addition to increased open space and public realm improvements, 100 new trees will be planted as part of this development to combat urban heat island effects. The project will also contribute $100,000 to the Parks and Recreation Department Fund for Parks to be put towards the maintenance of nearby Smith Field. In addition, this project will contribute $307,020 in linkage funds toward affordable housing, and $60,520 in linkage funds towards job training.

This project fits within the planning context of the Western Avenue Corridor Study and Rezoning effort, as it continues the transition of this area from a largely industrial and commercial area into a mixed-use area that is intended to be redeveloped with thoughtfully planned projects that also provide substantial public benefits in the form of public realm improvements, additional affordable housing, economic development opportunities, and new open spaces available to the public. This project has been designed to be consistent with these new zoning regulations, including setbacks from street lines, limitations to height and density, and income-restricted housing representing 20 percent of the total residential square footage.

Project with majority income restricted units moves forward at 119 Braintree Street in Allston

Live: 88 residential units, 74 income-restricted units, $3.7 million linkage contribution towards affordable housing
Work: Approximately 1,264 permanent jobs, approximately 564 construction jobs, $0.7 million linkage contribution towards job training programs
Connect: Adjacent to Boston Landing Station, publicly accessible open space, neighborhood dog park
Sustain: LEED Gold, ZNC residential, commercial: 90 percent reduction in fossil fuel use

Located in Allston, this project will build two buildings: a new 12-story commercial building containing office, research, and laboratory space, as well as ground floor retail space, and a residential building including 88 units, 74 of which will be income-restricted, a portion of which will be deeply affordable. The residential building has been planned to create an economically diverse mixed-use community through a commitment to provide majority income-restricted housing. The site of the future life science building currently provides commercial space. The landowner is selling this space, and gave tenants notice of the sale in July of 2020. The developer is working with the remaining tenants on relocation efforts. However, as part of the mitigation for this project, it will contribute $1 million to the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture to address the loss of this space and assist any remaining tenants with finding new space.

The project is expected to create a significant amount of new public open space and streetscape improvements, including an elevated walkway connecting the project to the Everett Street Bridge, and connecting Braintree Street to Lower Allston. In addition, public realm improvements along Everett Street and underneath the Everett Street Bridge will create pedestrian connections to Boston Landing Station. The project will also enhance open space and the public realm with wider sidewalks and new street trees for greenery and shade. This project is consistent with the City’s transit-oriented goals by providing long and short term bike parking, its proximity to public transit, and the provision of a Bluebikes station. The project will also contribute $133,206 to the Boston Transportation department to support the City’s bikeshare system. In addition, it will also support the implementation and operation of the forthcoming Allston-Brighton Link. The project will also contribute $88,000 to the Parks and Recreation Department to support nearby Penniman Park.

Homeownership opportunities at 52 Everett Street (Allston Yards) move forward

Live: 150 homeownership units, 24 income-restricted units, down payment assistance, rooftop amenity space
Work: New retail space, approximately 132 construction jobs
Connect: Bike parking, new open space
Sustain: Zero net carbon, 100 percent renewable electricity

The BPDA Board voted to approve the First Amendment to the Development Plan for Allston Yards in Allston, which incorporates what is now a vacant building at 52 Everett Street into the Master Plan site. The new project at 52 Everett Street will demolish that building, and build 150 new homeownership units and ground floor retail space to activate Guest Street. The units will be a mix of studios, one, two, and three-bedroom units. All three-bedroom units will be income-restricted. This project will improve the pedestrian experience with new and enhanced sidewalks in the area. In addition, the project will contribute $49,000 to the Boston Transportation Department for installation and operation of a Bluebikes station on site, as well as $40,000 to the Parks and Recreation Department in support of open space. As part of the Allston-Brighton Mobility Study, the project will become a member of the Allston-Brighton TMA and participate in the forthcoming Allston-Brighton Link.

13 Norwood Street project to build new housing in Dorchester

Live: 52 residential units, nine income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 55 construction jobs
Connect: 1,520 square feet of common amenity space, contributions to improvement of Conley Street, 52 indoor bike parking spaces
Sustain: LEED Gold Certifiable, CFRZOD compliant

This project at 13 Norwood Street in Dorchester will create 52 residential units, nine of which are income-restricted. Its location is in close proximity to public transportation. This project will make a $50,000 contribution to the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) to contribute to sidewalk and public realm improvements, such as lighting and landscaping, on Conley Street. It will also make a $14,000 contribution to the BTD specifically to support the operation of a BlueBikes station in the neighborhood. In support of open space, the project includes $25,000 for the Dorchester Youth Hockey non-profit, and $30,700 for the City’s Fund for Parks.

361 Belgrade Avenue project brings new transit-oriented development to Roslindale

Live: 124 rental units, 21 income-restricted units
Work: Ground floor retail space, approximately 142 construction jobs
Connect: Bike storage, parking spaces, walking distance to MBTA Commuter Rail and Bus
Sustain: LEED Gold, all electric, rooftop solar array

This project will bring 124 residential units to 361-371 Belgrade Avenue in Roslindale, which sits at the corner of Belgrade Avenue and West Roxbury Parkway. Of the 124 rental units, 21 will be income-restricted. The five-story building will be built in close proximity to several public transportation options. This project will provide a range of housing options at different price points; improve nearby tree canopy and open space; encourage development with public transit options nearby; and maintain local character with an emphasis on locally-owned retail businesses. In support of streetscape improvements, this project will realign the intersection of Belgrade Avenue and Anawan Street to shorten the crosswalk. It will also create wider sidewalks and bike lanes on Belgrade Avenue. The project includes a $49,000 payment to the Boston Transportation Department to support the bikeshare program and the operation of the Bluebikes dock station planned at the site. Additionally, the project will contribute $45,000 to the MBTA to support new bus shelters and sidewalk repairs near the Bellevue Commuter Rail.

75 Tremont Street project will convert vacant land to 70 homeownership units to Brighton

Live: 70 homeownership units, 12 income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 71 construction jobs
Connect: New crosswalk, Bluebikes station, new bus stop shelter, bike storage and repair space, widened sidewalks on Tremont Street, onsite car sharing program, community dog walker station
Sustain: LEED Gold, all electric building, eliminating invasive species and adding native and biodiverse trees, EV charging stations

Located in Brighton, this project will convert what is now vacant land into a multi-family condominium complex containing 70 homeownership units, and create a newly active and pedestrian focused area. Of those units, 12 will be income-restricted. The project will contribute to the overall walkability and transit-oriented development described in the Allston-Brighton Mobility Study through the commitment to add a raised concrete island and by moving the nearby MBTA Bus Stop. The existing bus stops will be relocated to better accommodate a new crosswalk and will be provided with a new covered bus shelter as part of the mitigation for the project. This project will also contribute $49,000 to the Boston Transportation Department to support the City’s bikeshare program and for the installation of a Bluebikes station. In addition, the project will contribute $20,000 to the Allston Brighton Transportation Management Association to go towards the implementation of the AB Link shuttle service. In support of parks and open space, the project will contribute $10,000 to the Department of Parks and Recreation for the maintenance and upkeep of Hardiman Park in Oak Square.

In addition to these projects, the Board approved Phase 6 of the BHA Old Colony Redevelopment:

Live: 89 income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 123 construction jobs
Connect: Dedicated community space for a local organization, new neighborhood pedestrian connections, public art program, bike storage
Sustain: Zero Net Carbon ready, all efficient electric systems

This phase is the final component of a phased redevelopment of the Old Colony Boston Housing Authority Development located in South Boston. Phase six of the project will build an entirely income-restricted five-story building, including age-restricted senior housing, containing 89 units. These units will be a mix of one, two, three, four, and five-bedrooms. Some of the ground floor will be set aside as community space. It is anticipated that this space will be leased by a local South Boston arts organization that works with low-income individuals. The final phase will build on the success of the Old Colony Phases One, Two, Three, Four and Five redevelopment and continue to eliminate blighted conditions of the Old Colony housing development. Phase Six will provide newly constructed sustainably-designed affordable housing in South Boston.

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