BRA Gives Go Ahead: Border Street Project Will Add 200 Market-rate Housing Units

An architectural rendering of the proposed 200-unit waterfront development project at the Boston East parcel on Border Street.

An architectural rendering of the proposed 200-unit waterfront
development project at the Boston East parcel on Border Street.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) has approved the East Boston Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Trinity Financial’s plan to build 200 market-rate units of rental housing at the Boston East site on Border Street.

Last month the CDC filed a Project Development Plan (PDA) with the BRA. The CDC requested the approval of the DPA pursuant to Article 80 large project review by the BRA. This approval authorized the BRA Director to petition the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to approve the plan without a further ZBA hearing.

The Public Comment Period expired on July 15 and the BRA approved the project last week.

CDC Executive Director Al Caldarelli said the concept is to build 200 units of housing with 173 at market rate rents and 27 units to meet the City of Boston’s ordinance that requires 15 percent of the units to be affordable.

Caldarelli said the City defines affordable, as 120% of median income renters in that category would have to earn at least $90,000 to afford the rent.

ICON Architecture Inc.’s Nancy Ludwig laid out the CDC’s plan at community meeting a few weeks back and said the building will be split into two wings, placed as long, wharf-like fingers towards Boston Harbor. The architectural style of the proposed residential building has been designed to reflect a traditional East Boston waterfront massing of “fingers” that reach out and step down in height and materials to the water.

The stepped building will be up to seven stories in height. At the ground and upper floors, many units will have balconies and decks with waterfront views. The majority of the Border Street façade of the residential building will be six feet back from the sidewalk and the sidewalk area will have attractive plantings.

An archway entrance centered on the Border Street facade will have interpretive exhibits to invite pedestrians to enter and will create access to the courtyard terrace and to the waterfront from Border Street.

The Site will have up to 50,000 square feet of open space, which includes the Harborwalk and landscaped areas along the waterfront and between the wings of the building.

Aside from providing 200 units of housing the project include a community art gallery located on a portion of the ground floor.

There will also be designated space for community artist lofts to compliment the neighboring artist lofts at 80 Border Street inside the Atlantic Works building.

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