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Ground broken on Amory Street housing renovation

March 13, 2019

Landmarks Commission

Published by:

Housing Authority

Amory Street Partners will revitalize 199 units of public housing and create hundreds of new affordable apartments on adjacent land and in re-purposed Boston Housing Authority office space.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Boston Housing Authority Administrator Bill McGonagle and Amory Street Partners today celebrated the launch of redevelopment efforts at BHA's Amory Street Apartments in Jamaica Plain. Amory Partners, a joint venture that brings together three local non-profits - The Community Builders (TCB), Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), and Urban Edge - will renovate and preserve 199 public housing units and repurpose BHA administrative offices into 12 new affordable units at 125 Amory Street. They will also develop an additional 134 units of affordable housing and 215 market rate apartments in three new buildings that will be constructed adjacent to the BHA property.

The Amory Street ground breaking

"This is an exciting milestone in our efforts to preserve and expand affordable housing for residents in Jamaica Plain and all over the city of Boston," said Mayor Walsh. "This project will add hundreds of new affordable units to our city's housing stock and make critically important upgrades that will preserve the affordability of the BHA's existing building for our Amory Street residents for many decades."

The 199 existing units and 12 new units at 125 Amory Street will be preserved as deeply affordable through Section 8 project-based vouchers (PBV) which will be provided by the Boston Housing Authority. The three new adjacent buildings will include 21 deeply affordable project-based voucher units provided through Urban Edge, 41 additional affordable units supported with Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and 72 affordable units funded through inclusionary housing programs. There will also be 215 market-rate apartments. 

"BHA is using whatever assets we have available, including our land and our own administrative offices, to advance the preservation and expansion of affordable housing in our city," said BHA Administrator McGonagle. "This partnership secures an affordable, sustainable future for hundreds of current and future BHA residents, and will greatly improve the quality of life of our residents."

The renovations will include improvements to all existing apartment units within the 105-year-old building. Most units require comprehensive renovations and will receive full kitchen and bathroom upgrades. All units will receive new windows, new high efficiency central heating and cooling, and repaired ventilation systems. In addition, common areas will receive accessibility and code improvements, along with new ceilings and flooring. The existing community room will be expanded and a new kitchen will be installed. The renovation will additionally add a new game room, TV lounges, a computer lab, a wellness room and create two new laundry rooms with additional washers and dryers.

"The Community Builders is one of the nation's largest developers and owners of affordable and mixed-income housing, but Boston will always be our home," said Bev Bates, senior vice president of development at TCB. "We look forward to working with our trusted partners at the Boston Housing Authority, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and Urban Edge, to provide current residents at Amory Street Apartments with an even better place to live, while adding additional affordable apartment homes for elderly and disabled community members."

Renovations to the existing building will begin immediately. Construction of the three new buildings which will utilize the existing vacant land at the site will soon follow. Construction on the first of the new buildings is expected to begin within a year.

"Over the past three years, JPNDC has been working with the residents of 125 Amory Street and hearing their concerns and goals for the future of their home," said JPNDC Executive Director Richard Thal. "It's a great step forward to begin the renovations that will upgrade the quality of people's homes and assure that this building remains a permanently affordable resource for our community."  

This renovation continues Mayor Walsh's commitment to preserving and expanding Boston's affordable housing, ensuring all families who wish to live in Boston can. Last month, Mayor Walsh and the City's Community Preservation Committee (CPC) this week recommended 56 projects, totaling more than $34 million, for inclusion in the fall funding round for the Community Preservation Act (CPA). In 2018, Mayor Walsh increased the City's overall housing targets from 53,000 to 69,000 new units by 2030, including 15,820 income-restricted units, to meet Boston's population growth. These income-restricted units will include purchasing 1,000 rental housing units from the speculative market and income-restricting them through an expanded Acquisition Opportunity Program.

The Amory Street Apartments renovation is being funded with $37.15 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by MassDevelopment, construction and permanent financing from Eastern Bank, and $25.61 million in funding from the federal low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program with AEGON as investor. Renovations are expected to be completed by December 2020.