Last year the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) entered into a somewhat controversial partnership with the Davis Companies to redevelop four parcels along Breman and Orleans Streets used for Health Center employee parking into over 300 units of mixed-use development.
Under the partnership with the Davis Company the Health Center will make around $80,000 per unit off the sale of the market rate units. These proceeds were to be used to expand and enhance EBNHC programs throughout Eastie and the other communities the Health Center serves. In return the Health Center was prepared to commit $2.4 million in proceeds back to helping the East Boston CDC create the 70 affordable units on Orleans Street.
However, the EBNHC has decided to pull out of the partnership.
In a statement released last week, EBNHC said after careful consideration the Health Center has decided not to proceed with the sale of its four parcels of land along Bremen and Orleans Streets at this time.
“The decision to sell the land in 2018 was an opportunity for the health center to secure resources for necessary investments in infrastructure and facility improvements,” said EBNHC in the statement. “It also presented an opportunity to collaborate with our development partners, The Davis Companies and East Boston Community Development Corporation, who were committed to providing affordable housing to the East Boston community. Over the past two years, EBNHC has worked diligently to provide COVID-19 testing, support services, education, treatment and vaccinations in the communities we serve. We have done this while continuing to provide comprehensive healthcare and expanded social services to our community, including the opening of the Community Resource and Wellness Center on Meridian Street and the completion of a first of its kind merger with the South End Community Health Center, both in 2020.”
EBNHC said they are proud that local, state and federal elected officials recognize the Health Center’s unique ability to serve vulnerable populations and, as a result, have helped EBNHC obtain much-needed supplemental federal and state funding to meet these growing needs.
“This funding has allowed the health center to continue to provide necessary health care services, while also investing in critical new services, including our multi-year renovation of the James Taylor Building at 10 Gove Street, as well as the upcoming development of a 24/7 behavioral health urgent care access point at the same location,” the statement continued. “Ultimately, the health center feels that now is an appropriate time to pause and reflect on additional opportunities for the future of these parcels. We will continue to evaluate options for the land and look forward to working with the City and neighbors on any future projects, always with the goal of uplifting our wonderful community and ensuring that the best interests of our patients, staff and the community continue to guide our process.”
The four parcels of land are located at 75-115 Bremen Street, 135B Bremen Street, 147-163 Orleans Street, and 164 Orleans Street, respectively.
However, since floating the idea of redeveloping the lots with the help of the Davis Companies and CDC the overall project was met with hostility due to the parcels’ close proximity to the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway.
Since the first meetings were held community activists worried that the proposed height of the buildings would cast a portion of the bright and sunny greenway into darkness.
Longtime activist and member of the Friends of the Mary Ellen Greenway Karen Maddelena said one of the main concerns for greenway members is potential shading from the larger building being proposed that are five to six stories.