Groundbreaking of Grace Apartments in East Boston celebrated
Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the East Boston Community Development Corporation, and Affirmative Investments today celebrated the groundbreaking for the Grace Apartments on Sumner Street in East Boston, adjacent to the Maverick MBTA station. The development will create 42 units of supportive transit-oriented affordable housing for older adults, marking a project that consists of 100 percent affordable housing units. This construction project builds on Mayor Walsh’s commitment to creating more affordable housing for older Bostonians.
“We’re excited to mark the start of construction on the Grace Apartments project, which will create new affordable housing opportunities for Boston’s older adults,” said Mayor Walsh. “I made a commitment in my housing plan to increase the number of housing units available to older Bostonians so that they can remain in the city that they know and love. I want to thank the East Boston CDC, their development consultant Affirmative Investments, and all those involved in making this opportunity possible. It will make a positive difference in the lives of those who call East Boston home.”
The construction of Grace Apartments will create a 39,067 square foot, seven-story building in Maverick Square l that will contain a combination of one- and two-bedroom units. Importantly, 100 percent of the units will be affordable for a range of income levels with 5 units set aside to house formerly homeless individuals. The new housing development will serve individuals aged 55 or older and will include wellness services once construction is complete.
"The need for affordable senior housing is always growing. I am proud to have supported this project and thank the administration and the East Boston CDC for helping to make it a reality,” said City Councilor Lydia Edwards. “I look forward to its completion and will continue fighting to make sure everyone has access to housing."
Grace Apartments construction plans call for the highest standards of universal design throughout the new building to accommodate older adults of all abilities. The building will meet LEED Silver and EnergyStar standards.
The development was made possible by a contribution of $1.7 million from the Department of Neighborhood Development, $950,000 from City of Boston Community Preservation Act funding, $3.2 million of soft funding along with an award of Federal and State LIHTC from the Commonwealth of MA through the Department of Housing and Community Development, $5 million from MassHousing (including the permanent debt), and land from the East Boston CDC.
“MassHousing is excited to be part of a project that is going to create 42 brand-new apartment homes for lower-income elderly residents in the heart of East Boston,” said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. “We were pleased to collaborate with the East Boston Community Development Corporation, Affirmative Investments, the City of Boston, and our state partners, to provide this new housing for Boston seniors, who will be able to live affordably in the city for many years to come.”
The construction of Grace Apartments strongly aligns with the City of Boston’s housing goals to produce affordable housing for seniors as outlined in Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030. Through Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030, the City’s housing plan, the City set a target of creating 2,000 low-income elderly units by 2030. Along with Grace Apartments, The Barton Rogers School in Hyde Park, Hearth at Four Corners in Dorchester and a number of other projects, the City has permitted or constructed 627 new low-income units for older residents.
“We are very grateful to Mayor Walsh, the City of Boston, MassHousing, and our partners at the State for working with us to make this project a reality,” said Al Caldarelli, President of the East Boston CDC. “We are proud to have worked creatively with DiMella Shaffer Architects and Affirmative Investments to make use of the land we already owned and turn it into 42 much needed affordable apartments for low-income seniors in our community.”
Grace Apartments was approved by the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) in January 2019. The project is located in East Boston, where the BPDA is actively engaging in the ongoing PLAN: East Boston planning study. PLAN: East Boston works with the community to produce a framework to predictably shape the future of the neighborhood and identify opportunities to preserve, enhance, and grow. Specifically, the planning initiative will update East Boston Master Plan, produce urban design guidelines, recommend updates to East Boston zoning and advise immediate- to long-term improvement projects for the neighborhood’s transportation network.
Since the release of the original Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030 plan in 2014, income-restricted housing stock has grown along with overall new production resulting in nearly 20 percent of newly-developed housing units designated as income-restricted, and 25 percent of rental units designated as income-restricted. Based on the Mayor’s housing plan, in total, after creating an additional 15,820 units of income-restricted housing, Boston will have nearly 70,000 units of income-restricted housing by 2030. For more information on the City of Boston’s work to create more housing, please visit Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030.About the Department of Neighborhood Development
The Department of Neighborhood Development is responsible for housing homeless residents, developing affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can find, maintain, and stay in their homes. As part of the ongoing coronavirus response, the Office of Housing Stability manages the Rental Relief Fund to help residents stay safely housed during the pandemic. The Boston Home Center continues to provide down payment assistance to first-time home buyers and home repairs for seniors and low-income residents. The Supportive Housing Division is working with various partners around the city to rapidly house individuals who are experiencing homelessness. For more information,About the Community Preservation Act (CPA)
After Boston voters adopted the CPA in November 2016, the City created a Community Preservation Fund. This fund is capitalized primarily by a one percent property tax-based surcharge on residential and business property tax bills that began in July 2017. The City uses this revenue to fund initiatives consistent with statewide CPA guidelines: affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space, and public recreation. The funding of any project requires a recommendation from the Community Preservation Committee and appropriation by the City. For more information, please visit the Community Preservation webpage.About the East Boston Community Development Corporation
The East Boston Community Development Corporation (EBCDC) is a non-profit community development corporation dedicated to enhancing the lives of low-income residents of East Boston. The EBCDC has developed or co-developed more than 1000 units of subsidized housing and manages 700 subsidized rental apartments. The Corporation grew out of the joint efforts of the East Boston Neighborhood Council, founded in the 1930s as a civic improvement association, and the Planning Office for Urban Affairs of the Roman Catholic Archdioceses of Boston. EBCDC, Inc.’s headquarters is located at 72 Marginal Street, East Boston. The corporation is a grassroots organization with a social service budget of less than $300,000. The EBCDC also has a long history of providing services to the community, including elderly housing opportunities, in neighborhoods of their choice, developing affordable and accessible housing, creating economic development programs, and supporting residents of public housing facilities. The corporation’s overall goal is “to enhance the quality of life of low and moderate-income residents through economic development activities.”