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City of Boston and Vietaid Celebrate the Grand Opening of 191-195 Bowdoin Street

The ribbon cutting marked the opening of 41 new units of mixed-income rental housing and retail space

On September 19, 2022, City of Boston officials joined the Vietnamese American Initiative for Development (VietAID), Trinity Management, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, MassDevelopment, Eastern Bank, local and state officials, and residents and commercial tenants to celebrate the grand opening of 41 new income-restricted rental units, and more than 6,000 square feet of retail space on Bowdoin Street in Dorchester. The more than $20 million project, developed by VietAID, created new units of rental housing for families earning 60 percent or less of Area Median Income (AMI). 

"It is wonderful to be celebrating the grand opening of 195 Bowdoin Street, which has transformed a critical corner in the Bowdoin Geneva neighborhood. This new development, which combined land formerly owned by the City and a former auto shop, has now become 41 badly needed homes, and a long-awaited food co-op,” said the City of Boston's Chief of Housing, Sheila Dillon. “And this development is accessible to the Fairmont Line. I expect that 195 Bowdoin will become a focal point in this neighborhood, not only offering new housing, and new fresh food options for the neighborhood, but also bringing new foot traffic to local businesses harmed by the pandemic. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this project a reality.” 

The site was formerly two parcels, home to a gas station and tire shop, which sat vacant for many years that VietAID acquired. The new apartments are within a quarter mile of the Four Corners/Geneva stop on the Fairmount Line and multiple bus lines. The four-story building with first-floor commercial and community space includes thirteen one-bedroom, twenty-three two-bedroom, and five three-bedroom units for residents earning no more than 60 percent of the area’s median income (AMI).  The project provides a new home for five previously homeless families. The project also includes an outdoor plaza, where Topliff Street meets Bowdoin, that is designed as a neighborhood focal point and will provide opportunities for the community to gather.

Lisette Le, the Executive Director of VietAID, said, “VietAID is very proud to be able to offer these 41 affordable apartments to working families in Dorchester and to make a lasting contribution to the fabric of the Bowdoin Street neighborhood.  We are also very pleased to be in partnership with the Dorchester Food Co-op as our commercial tenant and look forward to the enhancements they will bring to the commercial district.  We are excited to continue and deepen our relationships with neighbors and stakeholders in Bowdoin-Geneva as we manage and maintain this property for years to come.”

The building also contains more than 6,000 square feet of commercial space, which will house the Dorchester Food Co-op as a commercial tenant.  The Co-op (DFC) is a grassroots initiative to build a community- and worker-owned grocery store that will make healthy food accessible and advance economic opportunity through neighborhood engagement and increase the availability of healthy, affordable food options in the neighborhood. DFC is preparing to build the store space and plans to begin operations within eight months.  The DFC store will enliven the corner of Bowdoin and Topliff Streets, and help to strengthen the neighborhood’s existing businesses.

Funding for the more than $20 million rental housing development was made possible through a variety of funding sources, including $1.76 million from the City of Boston's Mayor’s Office of Housing and $750,000 from the Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund. Additionally, the project received Federal and State Tax Credits and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development contributed more than $4 million in funding. The MassDevelopment Brownfields Fund funded environmental remediation of the 195 Bowdoin parcel. Eastern Bank provided permanent and construction financing, and tax credit equity was contributed by Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC) and Dorfman Capital. 

In accordance with the City of Boston’s Green Affordable Housing Program, the building utilized several green building design techniques, earning it the distinction of being LEED-Homes Silver certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. 

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 VietAID

The Vietnamese American Initiative for Development (VietAID) was founded in 1994 by members of the Vietnamese American community in Dorchester, to provide comprehensive economic development programs and services to alleviate poverty and advance civic participation in their neighborhood. Since then, VietAID's mission and goals have broadened to focus on building strong and vibrant neighborhoods throughout Dorchester by promoting civic engagement and community building; developing affordable housing and commercial space; providing small business technical assistance and micro-enterprise development; offering high-quality child care services and after school programs; and developing community youth leadership.

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