BPDA Approves Grace Apartments on Sumner Street

At its January meeting, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved a senior housing development on Sumner Street adjacent to the Maverick MBTA station.

BPDA officials said the approval of the 42 income-restricted senior units at 187 Sumner St. makes progress towards Mayor Martin Walsh’s goal of increasing affordable housing to support not only a strong middle-class, but also area seniors. Mayor Walsh has updated the City’s housing targets to support the creation of new affordable housing, increase access to homeownership opportunities, and prevent displacement of the neighborhood’s most vulnerable residents.

Developed by the East Boston Community Development Organization (EBCDC), Grace Apartments will be a new 42 unit residential building serving low-income seniors located on 187 Sumner Street. The project will also renovate 17 income-restricted units on the site’s existing building.

According to plans submitted to the BPDA by the CDC, the proposed project involves the construction of a new 39,067 square foot,  42-unit seven-story building and the renovation of an existing 26,800 square foot building currently on the same site in Maverick Square.

The new building will include all low-income elderly housing. The existing building, which includes 17 elderly/disabled subsidized units as well as approximately 3,000 square feet of ground floor commercial, will be converted to workforce housing units, including two affordable units.

The property consists of a 16,266-square foot parcel of land with 26,800-square foot of mixed use, residential and commercial building.

There will be no changes to the footprint of the existing building and the proposed new building will be situated behind the existing building.

The 3,798 square foot first floor will consist of a community room, kitchen, lobby, mailroom, office, and mechanical space. The lot size will accommodate five parking spaces, one of which will be handicapped accessible.

The second through seventh floors will have seven units per floor, for a total of 42 units. There will be no changes to the footprint of the existing building.

The tenants in the existing building will be given the option to move to a new unit upon completion of the first phase of the project.

The CDC has controlled the project site since the late 1970s. The property consists of an irregular shaped 16,266 square foot parcel of land behind the existing 26,800 square foot mixed use, residential and commercial building.

The CDC sought to develop the land back in 1975 and received approvals by the then Boston Redevelopment Authority but those approvals have since expired.

The CDC held a BPDA-sponsored meeting back in September as part of the Article 80 review process and there was little to no opposition to the plans.

The CDC’s Al Caldarelli argues in the projects filing that the proposed project offers the immense benefit of increasing the number of senior affordable housing units in Maverick Square. Caldarelli added that the CDC acutely aware of the demand for senior affordable housing in Eastie as developers and managers of several elderly affordable housing developments in the neighborhood. “There are over one-thousand households on the CDC’s waiting list for its elderly affordable housing developments,” said Caldarelli. “Moreover, the proposed project will create workforce housing in the heart of Maverick Square, adding a diversity of incomes and ages to development.”

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