City Officially Breaks Ground on Eastie Senior Housing Project

Last week Mayor Martin Walsh joined virtually with the East Boston Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Affirmative Investments to officially break ground on the Eastie project that will create a 42 unit residential building serving low-income seniors.  Construction began in late October on the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved project. The Grace Apartments located on Sumner Street adjacent to the Maverick MBTA station will be 100 percent affordable for seniors and builds on Walsh’s commitment to creating more affordable housing for older Bostonians.  “We’re excited to mark the start of construction on the Grace Apartments project, which will create new affordable housing opportunities for Boston’s older adults,” said Walsh. “I made a commitment in my housing plan to increase the number of housing units available to older Bostonians so that they can remain in the city that they know and love. I want to thank the East Boston CDC, their development consultant Affirmative Investments, and all those involved in making this opportunity possible. It will make a positive difference in the lives of those who call East Boston home.” The new senior residences, located at 187 Sumner St., will be built adjacent to the historic Woodbury Apartments. The project will also renovate 17 income-restricted units at the site’s existing building. Once construction is completed current Grace Apartment residents will have the option to move into the new building. As part of a long-term plan, the completion of Grace Apartments will allow for future renovations to the Woodbury Building for workforce housing.  “The need for affordable senior housing is always growing. I am proud to have supported this project and thank the administration and the East Boston CDC for helping to make it a reality,” said City Councilor Lydia Edwards. “I look forward to its completion and will continue fighting to make sure everyone has access to housing.” The project was approved at the BPDA’s board meeting in January, 2019. BPDA officials said the approval of the 42 income-restricted senior units at 187 Sumner St. makes progress towards Mayor 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. “MassHousing is excited to be part of a project that is going to create 42 brand-new apartment homes for lower-income elderly residents in the heart of East Boston,” said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. “We were pleased to collaborate with the East Boston Community Development Corporation, Affirmative Investments, the City of Boston, and our state partners, to provide this new housing for Boston seniors, who will be able to live affordably in the city for many years to come.” According to plans approved by the BPDA, the CDC 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.  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 2019 as part of the Article 80 review process and there was little to no opposition to the plans. “We are very grateful to Mayor Walsh, the City of Boston, MassHousing, and our partners at the State for working with us to make this project a reality,” said President of the East Boston CDC Al Caldarelli. “We are proud to have worked creatively with DiMella Shaffer Architects and Affirmative Investments to make use of the land we already owned and turn it into 42 much needed affordable apartments for low-income seniors in our community.”

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