City of Boston and Partners Celebrate Grand Opening of Dot Crossing, a New Mixed-Use, Transit-Oriented, Income-Restricted Housing Community in Dorchester
The City of Boston, TLee Development, MassHousing, the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, local elected officials, and residents today celebrated the Grand Opening of Dot Crossing, a new mixed-use, transit-oriented development with first floor retail space tailored to the neighborhood.
The new building created 29 new apartments on an underutilized parcel at 1463 Dorchester Ave. in Dorchester, with 25 workforce housing units and four affordable units. The 29 apartments will be affordable to households earning up to 90 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).
The affordable, 1,200 square feet of first-floor commercial space is currently being built out for the Words as Worlds bookstore, which has a rent restriction grant from the City of Boston’s Affordable Commercial Assistance Fund through the Mayor’s Office of Housing to subsidize their rent for seven years. The bookstore is owned by Porsha Olayiwola, the City of Boston’s Poet Laureate and Bing Broderick - who both live less than a mile from the project.
“The City of Boston is proud to have worked with all of our partners and residents on the new Dot Crossing Development,” said Chief of Housing Sheila Dillon. “Where there was once an underutilized lot, we have created a new transit-oriented, mixed-use development with 29 income-restricted apartments and a new bookstore - Words as Worlds. Congratulations to the new residents of Fields Corner and best of luck to the new bookstore."
This new transit-oriented, five-story development, created by TLee Development, is also co-owned by 81 community investors who will have a share of available profits each year. It adds 29 new rental homes to the city's housing portfolio and creates housing stability and economic opportunities for the residents.
“Dot Crossing is a shining example of the type of innovative housing solution we need more of,” said Ed Augustus, Secretary for the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities. “Workforce housing creates much-needed affordable homes for the people who help drive our economy. And easy access to public transportation means fewer cars on the roads. That’s not only good housing policy, but it’s also good transportation and climate policy, too.”
“It is my great pleasure to partner with mission-aligned lenders, investors, community members, contractors, and entrepreneurs to bring this exciting project to Fields Corner. Hopefully, the value we created will be shared by many,” said TLee Development Principal Travis Lee.
“MassHousing was pleased to work with Travis Lee and the other development partners to transform an underutilized parcel into state-of-the-art rental housing that is going to provide housing stability and economic opportunity to working Dorchester families,” said MassHousing CEO Chrystal Kornegay. “We are also excited for the owners of the new bookstore, which will be a literary gathering space and provide programming, events and networking opportunities for creative communities in Dorchester.”
The development of Dot Crossing is made possible in part with financing from the City of Boston, MassHousing, the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation’s (MHIC) Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund, developer equity, and the 81 neighborhood investors who contributed a total of $142,500 to gain equity in the development. The new building features small-unit housing built under the City of Boston’s Compact Living Pilot. The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), a co-sponsor of HNEF, screened Dot Crossing with HealthScore, a proprietary tool developed by CLF, to ensure that this new transit-oriented housing is equitable, and climate-smart and energy efficient to promote both resident, community and environmental health.
“MHIC was proud to support the development of Dot Crossing with a loan and an investment from our Healthy Neighborhood Investment Fund, which we operate in partnership with Conservation Law Foundation,” commented Moddie Turay, MHIC's President and CEO. “This is a vital project for Fields Corner and the City of Boston overall as it offers 29 Passive House energy, affordable workforce apartments steps from the Fields Corner Red Line train station - a great model for how to build both equitably and smart in the context of climate change.”
In August 2022, the Mayor’s Office of Housing announced a request for proposals (RFP) for the Affordable Commercial Assistance Fund. The ACAF made $1 million available to help sustain local businesses and community-based nonprofits operating in affordable housing buildings. ACAF funding awards enable property developers to lower their commercial rents and support the growth of businesses investing in local neighborhoods. The funding is available to owners of buildings with City-supported affordable housing, including rental and homeownership properties, that include commercial space. The City anticipates that this new fund will ensure the affordability of approximately 35,000 square feet of commercial space for local small businesses and nonprofits that would otherwise be unable to afford market rents. In early 2023, Words as Worlds was selected to receive a grant to subsidize their rent for seven years.
“We are thrilled to have been selected by a committee of local investors for the retail space at 1463 Dorchester Avenue, and we are grateful for the support we have received that will make this an affordable home for our enterprise. This unique development structure is a model for ensuring the success and growth of diverse and inclusive small businesses that shape the city of Boston,” said bookstore owners Porsha Olayiwola and Bing Broderick. “We look forward to welcoming local residents through our doors for afternoon, evening and weekend programming for all ages. Every neighborhood should have a bookstore, and we are happy that Dorchester again will be home to one.”
The new building is in proximity to the MBTA Red Line, MBTA bus stations and Dorchester Parks. The Fields Corner Main Streets District has a lively nightlife, diverse culinary options, and boutique shopping. Amenities within the building include an elevator for enhanced accessibility, central air conditioning, a spacious community area on the first floor, a 24-hour fitness facility, a shared laundry room and a courtyard with green space and a grilling area for residents.
The new Dot Crossing development embraced Mayor Wu’s commitment to the principles of smart-growth and transit-oriented development in Boston. In fiscal year 2023, the Mayor allocated substantial resources to address housing challenges to implement strategic acquisitions to combat displacement, energy retrofits for multifamily homes, permanent supportive housing with specialized services, and upgrades to Boston Housing Authority properties.
Mayor Wu’s housing security legislative package is focused on expanding upon the work that Boston has done to address the region's affordable housing crisis and displacement risks for tenants by proposing new and strengthening current tools to leverage Boston's prosperity and create sustainable wealth opportunities that make Boston a more inclusive and equitable city. The housing security bills submitted seek to help tenants, particularly the elderly, remain in their homes, and create additional funding for affordable housing developments like the new apartments at Dot Crossing.
About the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH)
The Mayor’s Office of Housing is responsible for housing people experiencing homelessness, creating and preserving affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can obtain, maintain, and remain in safe, stable housing. The department develops and implements the City of Boston’s housing creation and homelessness prevention plans and collaborates with local and national partners to find new solutions and build more housing affordable to all, particularly those with lower incomes. For more information, please visit the MOH website.
About TLee Development LLC
TLee Development is a Dorchester-based real estate development firm that focuses on small business and moderate-income housing development in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. For more information, please visit www.tleedevelopment.com.
MassHousing (The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency) is an independent, quasi-public agency created in 1966 and charged with providing financing for affordable housing in Massachusetts. The Agency raises capital by selling bonds and lends the proceeds to low- and moderate-income homebuyers and homeowners, and to developers who build or preserve affordable and/or mixed-income rental housing. MassHousing does not use taxpayer dollars to sustain its operations, although it administers some publicly funded programs on behalf of the Commonwealth. Since its inception, MassHousing has provided more than $29.5 billion for affordable housing. For more information, visit the MassHousing website at www.masshousing.com, follow us on Twitter @MassHousing, subscribe to our blog, watch us on YouTube and Like us on Facebook.
About the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation
Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC) is a private, non-profit financier of affordable housing and community development throughout New England, providing financing that would not otherwise be available to neighborhoods most in need. For over 31 years, MHIC has invested more than $3.2 billion to help create and sustain healthy, equitable communities where people, businesses, and organizations can thrive.