By John Lynds
Trinity Financial has filed its Environmental Notification Form (ENF) with the state outlining their plans for the Orient Heights Housing Development project.
“The Project involves the construction of new two-five story buildings, in a combination of town homes and mid-rises,” according to the letter filed with the BRA. “A total of approximately 373 housing units are proposed, replacing obsolete 1940s-era public housing units on a one-to-one basis with the addition of a small market-rate housing component to create a revitalized mixed-income community. A combination of off-street and on-street parking spaces will be provided.”
According to the ENF filing Trinity said the goal of the project will be to construct a development to high sustainability and energy efficiency standards with a target of LEED Silver certificate at a minimum.
To enhance the overall environment of the project and mitigate any impacts construction might pose Trinity plans to develop a new public park that will provide residents and the entire community additional open space as well as recreational space. Trinity will also reconnect street to benefit vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian access.
Trinity’s plans show a mix of townhouse-style homes as well as more traditional apartment buildings. The plans also call for current duplex homes on Faywood Avenue with market rate housing as part of the overall project.
In June, Trinity was picked by the Boston Housing Authority as the designated developer to rehab the aging Orient Heights Housing Development.
At previous community meetings Trinity announced it had decided to completely raze the entire development and rebuild. This plan calls for tearing down the buildings that currently exist and rebuilding the entire complex.
The tear down and rebuilding of the housing development would be done in phases with the first phase starting at the bottom of the housing development on the Waldemar Avenue side. This would consist of 130 or so of the 300 to 400 units Trinity would build.
Construction should begin on the first phase in the Summer of 2016.
At past meetings Trinity and the BHA said the cost between a rehab of the housing development and a complete tear down was minimal. Most OHNC members supported a tear down of the development over a rehab project. Both Trinity and the BHA also favored that approach. This was the same avenue Trinity took with the Maverick Housing Development when they redeveloped that public housing site through a Hope VI grant in the early 2000s.
Trinity is looking to develop something new a better at the site, improve the connection to streets that surround the public housing development and engage the surrounding neighborhood’s character as the cornerstone of the new buildings’ design.
Two years ago the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) picked Orient Heights as one of 12 public housing developments in the state to receive High Leverage Asset Preservation Program (HILAPP) funds for an overhaul of more than half the units there.
The BHA will use HILAPP funds to redevelop 120 units of family housing at the Orient Heights development. In addition to DHCD funds, the project proposes to leverage 4 percent tax credit equity, a grant from the City of Boston, mortgage financing, and Section 8 rental subsidies.
Orient Heights is a 330-unit development and this project is the first of an anticipated 3-phase project to modernize the entire development over time.
The BHA and state have already been looking at the site, defining the paths it will take for a comprehensive remodeling and exploring different models of construction and cost.
The BHA will receive $5 million to begin the design phases of the projects. By the conclusion of this first competitive cycle, DHCD will invest up to $27 million in capital dollars to support the BHA’s plans for Orient Heights.
Trinity Financial’s architectural drawings for the rehabilitation of the aging Orient Heights Housing Development.