East Boston Community Development Corporation (CDC) Executive Director Al Caldarelli joked Monday that he would be collecting on a few bets he made with naysayers who were convinced the CDC and Trinity Financial’s Boston East project on Border Street would never get off the ground.
“This is a wonderful day for me because I’m collecting a lot of money,” joked Caldarelli. “People have bet me over the years that this would never happen, well today it’s happening, and we are so proud.”
Over a decade in the making, Gov. Charlie Baker, Mayor Martin Walsh and representatives from Trinity Financial joined Caldarelli and other officials to cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the Boston East development Monday afternoon.
“Today we celebrate the official opening of Boston East, which has been incredibly well received by the neighborhood and the market,” said Trinity’s Vice President Abby Goldenfarb. “We’re fortunate to have so much support from all of our state, city and local partners and the result is a building unlike any other residential development in Boston. Boston East offers residents and the community the opportunity to enjoy the waterfront and an active lifestyle in one of Boston’s most desirable neighborhoods.”
Trinity and the CDC broke ground last May on the $71 million waterfront development project. The boutique, mid-rise residential community that features 200 units, including six artist live-work-sell units and a community art gallery. Boston East also embraces and engages the waterfront with the development and expansion of the Eastie Harborwalk, which was made possible in part by a $3 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant to East Boston.
“Today we are celebrating the results of innovative public-private partnerships and the significant role they play in our administration’s efforts to develop and create housing opportunities across the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Baker. “I am pleased to see the successful work that has been done to transform this site into a residential community, which will deliver new housing units and public spaces, open access to East Boston’s waterfront and maximize infrastructure investments in the area.”
Boston East, which is designed by ICON Architecture, features an acre of open space that includes a number of community outdoor features – including multiple decks and a large rooftop lounge. A harbor walk trail extends around and past the development, and residents also have access to an onsite kayak and stand up paddleboard launch.
“This project showcases what can be accomplished when we work together with our partners to transform vacant, city owned property into beautiful, thriving and welcoming spaces,” said Mayor Walsh. “Boston East has helped to revamp the waterfront by providing affordable as well as market-rate rental units, more open space, as well as increased access to the Harbor meeting the City’s sustainability criteria.”
One of the highlights of the project are the six artist live-work-sell units located on the first floor of Boston East. These units are designed to meet the unique needs of artists through highly-amenitized, spacious apartments, flexible floor plans, and an abundance of natural light. Apartments feature the latest amenities, including GE slate appliances, plank flooring, quartz countertops and custom walk-in closets. Artists will also have access to a community gallery and outdoor patio spaces attached to their units where they can sell their work.
Overall 20 of the 200 units will be made affordable for individuals and families earning up to 70 percent of Area Median Income.
“Arts and affordability intersect at Boston East through the inclusion of gallery space and six artist live/work/sell units,” said Rep. Adrian Madaro. “This project strengthens the vibrant cultural presence growing on East Boston’s waterfront, and promotes public access to the harbor with valuable assets such as open space, kayaking, and the expansion of the Harborwalk”.
The interiors of Boston East’s common spaces and residential units were created by Cortney and Robert Novogratz – a Los Angeles-based husband-and-wife design team who have conceived some of the most unique living spaces across the country. The Novogratzes, who are known for their unique taste and style, have been showcased several times on HGTV.
“This project is the result of more than a decade of planning and hard work by a variety of public and private partners,” said Sen. Joseph Boncore. “The result is a new residential community at Boston East that provides much needed new housing and features outstanding cultural and waterfront amenities that benefit the entire community.”
The site also includes a portion of land that is a Designated Port Area and will be developed by the East Boston Community Development Corporation with a marine-industrial related use.
At the event Monday, it was announced that nearly half of all the 200 available units have been rented.
“There are so many exciting things happening in East Boston and this new residential community showcases some of the unique features of this neighborhood,” said City Councilor Lydia Edwards. “Not only can residents and the community utilize the waterfront, they have the opportunity to access the work of local artists through these live-work-sell units and new gallery.”