News & Updates

BPDA approves new affordable housing in Allston, Fenway, Hyde Park, and Roxbury

Jul 13, 2023

New Inclusionary Development Zoning Amendment approved

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors this month approved six new development projects representing approximately 2.4 million square feet (SF). The new projects will create 560 residential units, 96 of which will be designated income-restricted, and will support approximately 2,436 construction jobs and 4,063 permanent jobs. These projects also include the renovation of 164 income-restricted units. These projects will make Boston a more resilient, affordable, and equitable city.

Planning and Zoning

BPDA Board Approves Inclusionary Zoning Amendment

The BPDA Board of Directors approved a text amendment to the zoning code that would incorporate the City’s Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) within zoning for the first time in the City’s history. The new Inclusionary Zoning amendment updates the prior policy by lowering the unit count threshold for projects that will be required to include income-restricted units from ten to seven units, and increasing the portion of housing that is required to be income-restricted from 13 percent to 20 percent.

The first 17 percent of most projects will be income-restricted at an average of 60 percent of the Area Median Income, and, in an innovative approach to attain deeper affordability, an additional 3 percent will be reserved for people with housing vouchers. Federal Housing Vouchers usually pay a landlord Fair Market Rents at 100 percent of Area Median Income. As a result of the updated zoning, voucher holders, who have incomes below 30 percent of the Area Median Income, will have more housing options, and owners will still receive Boston’s Small Area Fair Market Rents. In addition, for large scale rental projects, developers can choose to provide deeper affordability by restricting 15 percent of housing projects to individuals at 50 percent AMI. These developments will still be required to provide 3 percent to voucher holders.

For homeownership projects, on-site requirements for income-restricted units will be increased from 13 percent to 20 percent for tenants. Half of the homeownership set-aside will be held for tenants up to 80 percent of Area Median Income and half for tenants upwards of 100 percent of Area Median Income. The new zoning would also allow the City to require more family-sized units.

These changes encode into zoning the BPDA’s ongoing commitments to require new projects to support inclusive mixed-income housing and is in line with recent permitting trends - the average voluntary percentage of affordable units in market rate projects that have been approved by the BPDA Board in the previous 12 months is above 17 percent.

The zoning amendment needs to be approved by the Zoning Commission and City Council. If approved, it will go into effect on October 1, 2024, and will not affect any projects currently under review or any project filing before that date. This delay will provide the City and the BPDA the opportunity to monitor market conditions over the next year.

The current Inclusionary Development Policy, first created in 2000, requires that market-rate housing developments with ten or more units and in need of zoning relief support the creation of income-restricted housing through: inclusion of income-restricted units within their building; creation of income-restricted units at a location near their building; and or contributing to the Inclusionary Development Policy Fund. These funds are used by the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH) to fund the creation of affordable/income-restricted housing across Boston.

Development Projects

Fenway Corners Development to bring new housing, retail, office space, daycare, and historic preservation to Fenway neighborhood

Live: 266 residential units, 53 income-restricted units
Work: More than 40 new retail shops, more than 1,800 construction jobs, approximately 4,000 permanent jobs
Connect: Public realm improvements, pedestrianization of Jersey Street
Sustain: LEED Gold, all electric residential buildings

The Fenway Corners development located in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood will be built over a period of years, and include a total of eight mixed use buildings containing space for offices, laboratory/research and development, residential units, retail, restaurants, daycare, and other uses. This project will support affordable housing with a $22.7 million housing linkage contribution, as well as jobs training with a $4.2 million jobs linkage contribution which for the residential is set to be paid up front by phase to maximize the value of these funds.

This project will provide numerous public realm and streetscape improvements along Brookline Avenue, Lansdowne Street, Jersey Street and Van Ness Street covering approximately 3.7 acres of public realm and new open spaces. It will also create new bike infrastructure, and pedestrian paths. Part of this development will also include the pedestrianization of Jersey Street which will host public events, gatherings, and markets. The project is committed to leasing the forthcoming Jersey Street Stoop food and beverage space to a BIPOC-owned small business that will provide affordable offerings to the community. In addition, what is currently Arthur’s Alley, a private service/loading alley, will be converted into an active, retail-lined pedestrian thoroughfare that will connect Jersey Street to the new Richard B. Ross Way extension and the rest of the Fenway.

Following community feedback and close coordination, today’s approval defers approximately 400,000 square feet of the project until the BPDA’s Fenway Transportation Action Plan (FTAP) is completed. The project’s remaining 400,000 square feet will rely on the proponent fulfilling additional transportation mitigation commitments based on recommendations from the BPDA’s FTAP. In terms of historic preservation in this neighborhood, the project has committed to restoring the City-owned Duck House which has been vacant nearly 40 years, and will make it usable again for community uses. This project will also commit $1 million towards public art installations throughout the neighborhood, and will ensure participation by local artists.

Each building will be subject to BPDA design review as well as one or more BPDA-convened Community Advisory Committee meetings to elicit community feedback.

This Planned Development Area (PDA) will consist of one building on a development block bounded by Lansdowne Street. The ground floor and second floor of the building will include retail space, while the upper floors will provide space for office and laboratory uses.

This PDA encompasses more than four acres of land within a portion of the Fenway neighborhood bounded by Jersey Street, Brookline Avenue and Van Ness Street. Within this development will be seven buildings. All buildings will have indoor bike storage. Within the Jersey Street Block of development will be five buildings consisting of residential, office, and retail uses. The building on the Van Ness Block will accommodate retail and restaurant uses on the ground floor, and research and laboratory uses on the upper floors. The ground floor of the building on the Brookline Avenue Block will consist of daycare, retail, and restaurant space, while the upper floors are dedicated to office and life science space. The daycare, which will be known as the Fenway Family Center, will accommodate approximately 100 children, will be operated by a nonprofit organization, and will be accessible to a wide range of incomes.

76 Ashford Street project will bring new housing to Allston

Live: 254 residential units, 36 income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 277 construction jobs
Connect: $75k for new Bluebikes station
Sustain: All electric, LEED Gold certified, solar panels on roof

Located in Allston, this project will construct a 17-story mixed-use building next to the Boston University Track & Tennis Center Facility. The building will include 254 residential units, as well as retail space. As part of the project, some of the land which comprises the project site will be designated as a staging area for a future roadway to be constructed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority as part of the Allston Multimodal Project. This project will contribute to goals of building more transit-oriented affordable and market-rate housing, as it is within walking distance of the MBTA Green Line and bus service and is located immediately adjacent to the future MBTA/MassDOT West Station transportation hub. The eventual sale of this land to MassDOT will result in approximately $4.5 million in funding for affordable housing. As part of the community benefits to this project, one of the retail spaces will be made available to a community based tenant at a reduced rent. This project will improve the public realm with new street trees, landscaping, and lighting on site. In support of the City’s bikeshare system, this project will contribute $75,000 to provide a new Bluebikes station on site. There will also be parking for bikes and electric vehicles once the project is completed. In addition, this project will support the Parks and Recreation Department with a $100,000 contribution, implementing parts of the Allston-Brighton Mobility Study with a $75,000 contribution to the Boston Transportation Department, and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture with a $25,000 contribution to advance the goals outlined in the Allston-Brighton Arts, Culture, and Placekeeping Report. A number of local nonprofits will also receive funding as a result of this project, totaling $50,000.

Stanhope Hotel project at 39 Stanhope Street to build new hotel in Back Bay

Live: 300 hotel rooms, ground floor restaurant
Work: Approximately 137 construction jobs, 84 permanent jobs
Connect: Restaurant and exterior terrace, improved connection to Garcia Park
Sustain: 95 percent electric building, targeting LEED Gold

This project will create a 21-story, 300-room hotel in Back Bay. There will also be independently-operated ground-floor restaurant space. The project is committed to incorporating the façade of the existing two-story, red brick stables building at the site into the new hotel building. A pedestrian plaza has been proposed on Stanhope Street between Clarendon Street and Cahners Place. This will enhance the pedestrian experience between the public park and the ground floor spaces of Stanhope Street. In connection with these public realm improvements, the project is contributing at least $450,000 into the City of Boston’s Transportation Improvement Fund. Enough space for one 19-dock bikeshare station will be made nearby and the project will contribute $75,000 to the Boston Transportation Department in support of the bikeshare program. There will be 26 interior bike parking spaces and eight bike parking spaces outside.

735-745 River Street to bring new housing, improved space for health center to Hyde Park

Live: 40 residential units, seven income-restricted units
Work: Part of project dedicated to Hyde Park Health Associates, ground floor public access, approximately 52 constructions jobs
Connect: $20,000 contribution to Ross Playground/Field, close proximity to bus lines
Sustain: 100 percent electric, LEED Gold, solar ready

This new five-story mixed-use development will include housing, as well as a health center on the ground floor, which is on the current site. The housing will consist of 40 units, seven of which will be income-restricted. The units will be a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom units. As part of the community benefits for this project, the public realm will be improved by widening the sidewalks and adding new street trees. This project will also contribute $20,000 to the Parks and Recreation Department for the upkeep of Ross Playground and Field. In support of the City’s sustainability goals, it will also include EV charging stations onsite.

Renovation of Doris Bunte Apartments moves forward

Live: 164 renovated income-restricted apartments
Work: Approximately 139 construction jobs
Connect: Near two MBTA Orange Line stations, multiple bus routes
Sustain: Energy-efficient appliances, high-efficiency LED lighting

The Doris Bunte apartments are located in the Egleston Square section of Roxbury. This project will renovate the 164 units within the 20-story cylindrical apartment tower. This is currently a federally supported public housing development for low-income elderly and non-elderly disabled residents, and is owned by the Boston Housing Authority. The project will fully renovate units’ bathrooms and kitchens, install new windows, and new heating and air-conditioning throughout. An estimated 1,324,359 gallons of water a year and up to 1,432,738 kWh/year in electrical energy will be saved with energy enhancements. The goals of the project are to make needed repairs that are not possible within BHA’s existing public housing capital budget and enhance the quality of life for residents. This is a transit-oriented development, as it is in close proximity to the MBTA’s Orange Line. The project will also improve the pedestrian experience and accessibility along Columbus Ave. and its Walnut Park driveways, which is helpful since many residents do not own cars.

In addition to these projects, the Board approved:

  • An update to the previously approved Residences at Readville Station project to change all units to rentals and add more income restricted units.
  • The renewal and two year extension of the Institutional Master Plan for Emmanuel College.
  • The disbursement of $352,500 in varying amounts to 16 community organizations in the Dorchester neighborhood. The funds will be disbursed from the Dot Block Community Benefits Fund from contributions made by the developer that will be dedicated to the betterment of the Dorchester neighborhood.

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