The first phase of the massive overhaul to replace the aging Orient Heights Public Housing Development with 331 modern units was completed in the spring.
On Friday, Mayor Martin Walsh joined Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Administrator Bill McGonagle, representatives from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), MassHousing and the development team of Trinity Financial and East Boston Community Development Corporation to officially cut the ribbon and open the first 120 public housing units at Orient Heights.
“It’s great to be able to celebrate this important milestone reached at the redevelopment of Orient Heights, which when completed, will make 331 units of housing available to residents and families in East Boston,” said Walsh. “This project will significantly improve the facility for current and future tenants, and contributes to the City of Boston’s committed to creating more affordable housing for all. I thank everyone involved for their partnership as we work together to see this redevelopment through completion.”
Phase I included tearing down the old brick housing development and replacing the 90 units with 120 units of rental housing. The units are spread across four townhouse-style buildings and one mid-rise building.
“We are excited that the first phase of this project is complete,” said McGonagle. “We are looking forward to working with our development partners, Trinity Financial, and the residents of Orient Heights, to begin Phase Two of this effort and continue to preserve needed affordable housing for current and future generations.”
The $51.2 million Phase 1 project is part of a partnership between the City of Boston, Trinity and the CDC. In January 2015, the BHA selected the development team of Trinity and CDC to work with BHA and DHCD to finalize a redevelopment strategy for the site. This development team secured financing to implement the redevelopment, and will own and manage the buildings post-redevelopment. The BHA will continue to own the land and will lease the land to Trinity.
Trinity recently announced construction on Phase II of the project will begin in the fall.
Like Phase I, Phase II will tear down the old post World War II-era brick housing on Valler Road and replace it with 88 modern units of public housing.
Mayor Walsh is investing $10 million for Phase II through the proceeds from the sale of the Winthrop Street Garage in downtown Boston, as well as $1.83 million in Inclusionary Development Policy Funds, secured from the Davis Companies’ 99 Sumner Street development in East Boston.
“Today marks an exciting milestone in the revitalization of the Orient Heights development,” said Trinity Financial Vice President of Development Eva Erlich. “We are proud to be a part of the collaboration with the Commonwealth, the City, the Boston Housing Authority, East Boston CDC, the Orient Heights residents, and our colleagues in finance and development to see this first phase through to completion, and we look forward to continuing the transformation of this site with next phase.”
Rep. Adrian Madaro applauded the BHA for commissioning a master plan with an overall design concept and goals for the site’s redevelopment.
“I want to thank them for working to transform the site into an attractive, energy-efficient and healthy housing community modeled on the successful transformations of the BHA’s previous public housing redevelopments at sites such as West Broadway, Maverick, and Old Colony,” said Madaro.