By John Lynds
The former Salesian Boys & Girls Club building on Paris Street was a sanctuary for neighborhood children and oasis for working parents for decades. The club was a place that Eastie parents could send their kids and know they were in a a safe environment and thriving.
Last Wednesday former club members like Father John Nazzaro, Rep. Adrian Madaro and City Councilor Sal LaMattina all shared stories of how they made lifelong friends and memories as youth inside the four walls of the Paris Street building.
When the Boys & Girls Club moved up to Orient Heights over a decade ago the building laid dormant but a new project will ensure that the Paris Street building will be reactivated and once again assist Eastie families in a different capacity.
Mayor Martin Walsh joined the East Boston Community Development Corporation (CDC), residents and local elected officials to celebrate the groundbreaking for Paris Village.
Paris Village is a $14 million residential community that will feature 32 affordable apartments for working families in Eastie. The new apartment building will be located on the former Salesian Boys & Girls Club site on Paris Street in the heart of the neighborhood.
“High quality, affordable housing for working families is the key to opportunity. Creating equitable housing like Paris Village preserves the rich character of Boston’s neighborhoods,” said Walsh. “I want to thank our partners for their work to make these homes possible. These are the 2- and 3- bedroom homes working families in Eastie have been calling for, and I’m proud we are continuing Boston’s drive to make sure all families can live and work in the City of Boston.”
Paris Village is located in one of Boston’s fastest growing neighborhoods, near restaurants and a variety of arts, cultural and outdoor amenities and activities. The development will feature 32 new transit-oriented apartments located close to the MBTA blue line, downtown Boston and Logan International Airport. All of the new apartments will be rented to individuals who are earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), with four of the families earning 30 percent of AMI or below.
“As we see so much change in East Boston it is important that we create and preserve affordable family housing for all of the hard working residents of East Boston,” said resident and Executive Director of the East Boston CDC Albert Caldarelli. “I am grateful that the Mayor Walsh is so committed to that goal. Without that strong leadership a wonderful development like this would not be possible.”
When complete, Paris Village will include 22 two-bedroom and 11 three-bedroom family units, an elevator for accessibility, central air, on-site laundry facilities, a large community space for programming for residents on the ground floor, a rear courtyard and playground with a play structure for children. Construction of theParis Village apartments will generate approximately 250 new construction jobs.
“As a long-time resident and tenant of East Boston CDC I am grateful for help we’ve received from City of Boston. Because of your assistance me and my family have the opportunity to reside in a nice apartment,” said East Boston resident Blanca Ayala. “I am also grateful that I was invited to sit on the Board of Directors of EBCDC, Inc. As a Board Member, I have the opportunity to have a say in all of the decisions that affect my tenancy and the close to 1,000 other tenants in our buildings. In my role I also have a chance to work with the CDC and the Mayor of Boston to implement all of the housing initiatives the City supports.”
In accordance with the City of Boston’s Green Affordable Housing Program, Paris Village will utilize high efficiency heating and cooling systems fixtures as well as Energy Star rated appliances. The development will employ environmentally friendly design features throughout and earn the distinction of being LEED-Homes “Silver” certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. The development will also meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star standards.
Paris Village has been made possible in part by a contribution of almost $2 million from the City of Boston, as well as $2.1 million from the State’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Affordable Housing Trust.