Coppersmith Village Project Another Step Closer to Reality

By John Lynds

East Boston’s Neighborhood of Affordable Housing’s (NOAH) project to transform a former industrial site in the neighborhood into a mixed use development is one step closer to becoming a reality.

It was announced that NOAH closed Friday, December 16 on over $26 million of funding, allowing the 71-unit mixed-income project near Eastie’s Waterfront development to proceed.

Financing for the Coppersmith Village project was provided by the State of Massachusetts and East Boston Savings Bank.

Site work at the Coppersmith Village site is now underway following completion of the project’s construction agreement earlier this month. Construction will last 20  to 22 months and will replace a vacant, deteriorating industrial site with housing and retail. Demolition of the industrial building will commence later this month or in early January.

Tocci Building Companies is the project’s general contractor.

“We are glad to have finally started the demolition of this aged, industrial eyesore. Coppersmith Village will be a terrific addition to East Boston,” said NOAH’s Executive Director Phil Giffee. “It will have single, family ownership for market and workforce families and affordable rentals for a range of incomes as well. Architecturally, its colors and style will blend neatly into the community. It will have a tasty new restaurant with Harbor views and outdoor seating. We owe the Mayor and Governor as well as our local elected officials our thanks for their investment in this terrific new development. Everyone has been very supportive. We are proud and grateful.”

Coppersmith Village will feature 56 apartments, 15 town homes, and a restaurant. Soil testing, required for the site due to the site’s former use as an ironworks company, began in the spring.

The project received Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) approval last summer. The Coppersmith Village development that was once the site of an ironworks company is on the block bounded by Border Street, Decatur Street, Liverpool Street, and Coppersmith Way. The block will be will be transformed into a mixed-use development of 56 rental apartments, 15 townhouses and 3,000 sq. ft. of retail space on the ground floor on the corner of Border and Decatur Streets that will house a restaurant with outdoor seating.  The project includes 49 affordable and 22 market rate units, as well as the restaurant.

The apartment building will be located on Border Street with the townhouses planned for Liverpool that ties into the typical triple-decker of Eastie. Coppersmith Way will be opened up and serve as entrance for parking for the apartment building and townhouses.

The housing at Coppersmith Village approved by the BRA will be a mix of affordable and market rate units, both rental and ownership. Of the 56 apartments, 34 will be available to households at 60% average medium income (AMI) and below; of the 15 townhouses, three will be sold to households at 80 percent AMI or below. Of the rentals, the remaining 22 units, or 39 percent, will be market rate; of the townhouses, 12 homes, or 80 percent, will be market rate.

Giffee added that NOAH’s vision is to create a modest ownership and rental mix that meshes well with the existing urban fabric and accommodates a diverse range of neighborhood needs. The affordable housing units are more than the 13% requirement of the city’s inclusionary development policy.

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