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City of Boston, Jackson Square Partners Celebrate Milestones in Revitalization of Jackson Square

Projects feature new income-restricted housing and greenspace in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

Today, the City of Boston celebrated significant milestones in the ongoing revitalization of Jackson Square with Jackson Square Partners, a collaboration led by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), Urban Edge, and The Community Builders. Three new projects will add 219 affordable units to the city’s housing market, bringing the number of new homes created in Jackson Square over the past 12 years to 487, and culminating in the neighborhood’s transformation into a vibrant and walkable community.

25 amory
Image: 25 Amory courtesy of Peabody Properties

The City and partners celebrated the completion of JPNDC’s 25 Amory Street Apartments, a 44 unit transit-oriented development, toured the construction site for The Community Builders’ 250 Centre Street development that will create 76 new affordable homes, and celebrated the anticipated summer construction start of Urban Edge’s 1599 Columbus Street development that will create 65 new affordable apartments in Jackson Square. Several of the developments are on parcels that have been empty for as many as five decades. Some land was originally cleared in anticipation of an I-95 extension that was never built.

“The City of Boston is proud to support this new transit-oriented development as part of our commitment to keeping housing affordable and keeping neighborhoods strong,” said Mayor Wu. “I want to thank JPNDC, The Community Builders, and Urban Edge for their work to create housing that will be affordable at a variety of income levels, and that will bring new economic opportunities to Jackson Square.”

These developments are part of the Jackson Square Redevelopment Initiative (JSRI), a joint venture with The Community Builders (TCB), Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC),  Urban Edge, and the City of Boston. Launched in 2005, the JSRI aimed to revitalize more than eight acres of vacant land by creating more than 300 new units of affordable housing in the Jackson Square neighborhood. This goal has now been surpassed, and the partners have built on the momentum by taking on additional new construction and renovation projects–all within a half-mile radius of the Jackson Square MBTA Station.

The grand opening for JPNDC’s  25 Amory Street Apartments celebrated the creation of 44 new affordable rental units close to the Jackson Square MBTA station. The new building includes 15 one-bedroom units, 23 two-bedroom units, and six three-bedroom units.  Five of the two- and three-bedroom units will be set aside for formerly homeless families.  Five 1-bedroom units, three 2-bedroom units, and one 3-bedroom unit will be affordable to individuals or families who earn $36,250 or less for a family of four. One 1-bedroom unit, one 2-bedroom unit, and one 3-bedroom unit will be affordable to families who earn $60,400 or less for a family of four.  The remaining 27 units will be available for families who earn $80,520 or less for a family of four. All 44 units will be deemed as affordable in perpetuity.

"I want to personally welcome every new resident of 25 Amory Street to our neighborhood," said JPNDC CEO Teronda Ellis. "Every time we put a key into the hands of a family that has been shut out of Boston's housing market, we are thrilled—and inspired to do even more to keep Boston a place where everyone has the chance to live and thrive."

The construction tour at The Community Builders’ 250 Centre Street transit-oriented development will create 110 new homes. When completed, the building will include seven studio units, 69 one-bedroom units, 30 two-bedroom units and four three-bedroom units.  Of the 110 units, 34 apartments will be affordable to households earning at or below 120 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), 20 apartments affordable to households earning at or below 100 percent of AMI, 41 apartments affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of AMI, and 15 apartments will be affordable to people making less than 30 percent of AMI.

“Jackson Square is a place everyone can call home, and we’re excited to work with JPNDC and Urban Edge to reknit Roxbury and Jamaica Plain back together with inclusive and equitable housing,” said Andy Waxman, New England vice president of real estate development for The Community Builders. “250 Centre adds 110 quality, new homes that protect affordability for low-income residents and preserve opportunities for teachers, firefighters, and other workers to live in this community. TCB is committed to a Jackson Square where all people can thrive.”

Urban Edge’s 1599 Columbus Street development will create 65 new affordable apartments when completed. The building will include 21 one-bedroom units, 36 two-bedroom units, and 9 three-bedroom units.  Of the 65 total income-restricted rental units to be developed, twenty-two will be rented to households who are experiencing homelessness or who require rental assistance whose income is up to 30 percent AMI or $32,200, seven units will be available to households earning 50 percent AMI or $53,700 or below, and 43 units will be available to a two-person household earning less than 60 percent AMI or $64,440.  

"We are proud to work alongside our colleagues at JPNDC and TCB, along with dozens of lenders, supporters, builders, and designers to bring more affordable housing to Jackson Square. We thank Mayor Michelle Wu and the City of Boston for their support of 1599 Columbus, which breaks ground later this year and will produce 65 affordable rental homes for the neighborhood," said Emilio Dorcely, CEO of Urban Edge.

The three projects are not the last in the ongoing transformation of Jackson Square. JPNDC will soon take on the final piece of the original Jackson Square plan, the creation of a green corridor and plaza connecting Centre and Amory Streets. Later this summer, the partners will celebrate their work at 125 Amory Street, where TCB (in collaboration with the Boston Housing Authority) renovated a 199-unit building for very low-income seniors and people with disabilities, and where Urban Edge is completing a new 65-unit affordable housing project. Last but not least, the same partners are working with the BHA in the dramatic, multiphase redevelopment of the Mildred Hailey Apartments, one of Boston’s largest public housing developments.

“The ongoing redevelopment of Jackson Square is bringing new housing and economic opportunities to the neighborhood and to Boston residents who desire to live and work there,” said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. “MassHousing is very pleased to continue collaborating with the development teams and our city and state partners on these exciting new projects that collectively will fulfill the community vision for this area.”

In accordance with the City of Boston’s net-zero carbon emissions standards for affordable housing, these developments will utilize high-efficiency heating systems, as well as Energy Star-rated appliances. The development will employ environmentally friendly design features throughout and will meet the U.S. Green Building Council LEED Homes Silver certifiable standard. The housing development will also meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star standards.

Mayor Wu believes that housing will be the foundation of an equitable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, so she recently announced studies to assess the current Linkage fee and inclusionary development levels; updated transfer fee legislation; will audit City-owned property; and recently announced a rent stabilization advisory group, led by Mayor’s Office of Housing. Additionally, Transfer Fee Legislation would give Boston the ability to implement if passed a transfer fee of up to two percent of the purchase price of any private real estate sale over $2 million in the City of Boston, as a means to generate additional funding for affordable housing.

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 these in Jackson Square.

All of these developments are made possible in part from contributions from the City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of Housing, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development,  the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, MassHousing, Neighborhood Housing Trust. Massachusetts Housing Partnership, The Community Builders, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, Urban Edge, Boston Children’s Hospital, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, The Life Initiative, and  Home Funders.

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 webpage.

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    Published by: Housing
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