City funds to fuel affordable housing starts in Dot, Mattapan Centre Street, St. Mary’s projects among the 14 chosen

A rendering shows the size and look of an apartment building planned for 150 Centre St., one of several local housing projects that has been awarded city-directed grants. Image courtesy ICON Architecture

Fourteen affordable housing projects have been awarded funding through the city of Boston, including the 150 Centre Street apartments next to Shawmut MBTA station, which will receive $4.475 million to help developer Trinity Finanical build the 72-unit structure.

In total, the Wu administration is funneling $68.96 million to 14 projects in in nine different Boston neighborhoods. Three other housing starts in Dorchester and Mattapan are also among the awardees. The funds come to the city from Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP), HOME, Community Preservation Act (CPA), and linkage funds. Together, Wu says the various projects will result in 826 housing units, 775 of which will be designated as income-restricted.

“Collaborating closely with the community across neighborhoods, we’re leveraging all available resources within the city to tackle Boston’s housing challenges,” Wu said in a statement. “These housing grants will strengthen our communities, enhance affordability, and continue to establish Boston as a home for current residents, families, and future generations.” 

The competitive grants were sought by 24 development teams. The city evaluated the awards based on team capacity, financial feasibility, cost to public funders, design, equity, and inclusion, community support, and market need.

The Trinity-led project on Centre Street was cited as a highly sustainable transit-oriented site that will offer housing to those with incomes between 30 percent to 120 percent of the area’s median income.

“There will be housing units for people and families from all walks of life,” said Michael Lozano, the vice-president of development at Trinity Financial. “From those most in need and at risk of displacement to people who are earning a good amount of money but aren’t really able to afford the full market.” 

He added: “We’ve looked at a million different iterations of this project. Through a long and very productive process, we ended up with a building that will be 100 percent affordable.”  

With the help of the city grant, Lozano said 150 Centre St. will offer units with rents as low as $736 per month depending on the unit as well as the income and size of the family. This drastically differs from the average one-bedroom apartment rental which currently stands at $2,600. 

New housing often costs around $500,000 to $600,000 per unit to finance and build, with some projects in the city costing even more.

“There is a housing crisis, and this particular location is the perfect one for new affordable housing,” said Lozano. “There is very little affordable housing, particularly for those on the more modest end of the income scale. People are being forced out of the neighborhood every single day because of gentrification and because of other forces outside of their control.” 

Lozano called the city grant an “enormous endorsement” and said the project will move forward on a “relatively fast track” with the start of construction anticipated by next year, despite a pending lawsuit brought by neighbors who oppose the project.

“We’re very confident that the appeals and litigation that are currently pending for this project will be resolved in our favor,” Lozano said.

Other city-directed awards went to a mixed-income, transit-oriented development that will replace an existing car wash at 247 Hancock St in Dorchester. This location will include 47 rental homes, 35 of which will be for households with incomes from 30 percent to 60 percent of the area median income. 

Funding will also go towards revitalization of the St. Mary’s Campus. In a collaborative effort, the St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children and the Planning Office of Urban Affairs will replace an outdated shelter with 71 new apartments for families transitioning out of homelessness. 

The final project in Dorchester is the Hillsboro Live Work Condominiums which hope to offer homes to artists. Twenty-one new affordable homeownership units will be constructed at this development and serve households with incomes between 80 percent to 100 percent of the area median income. 

In Mattapan, a project at 30-36 Mildred Ave. — a partnership between Norfolk Design & Construction and the Trustees of Reservations— will re-develop four city-owned parcels into six new homes and a community garden of approximately 7,000 square feet. 

The other two projects in Mattapan include a residential development on the corner of Blue Hill Avenue and Culbert Street which will offer 41 new income-restricted apartments. Additionally, part of the former Mattapan State Hospital will be transformed into a space with 40 apartments for older adults as well as housing for adoptive foster families and apartments for youth transitioning out of the foster care system. Both projects will be accessible to households with incomes ranging from 30 percent to 60 percent of the area median income. 

The final developments can be found across Allston/Brighton, Charlestown, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Roslindale, and Roxbury.

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