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Mayor Walsh celebrates first phase of redevelopment at Orient Heights Overlook Terrace

June 22, 2018

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

Boston Housing Authority, DHCD and Trinity Financial Cut Ribbon for Phase One and Launch Phase Two for East Boston Development

Mayor Martin J. Walsh cut the ribbon today to celebrate Phase One of the redevelopment of Orient Heights Overlook Terrace and announced the City's commitment of $10 million to launch Phase Two. Phase One is the initial step to redevelop the 331-unit Orient Heights public housing development in East Boston. Mayor Walsh was joined by Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Administrator Bill McGonagle, representatives from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), MassHousing, along with the development team of Trinity Financial and East Boston CDC. 

"It's great to be able to celebrate this important milestone reached at the redevelopment of Orient Heights, which when completed, will make 331 units of housing available to residents and families in East Boston," said Mayor Walsh. "This project will significantly improve the facility for current and future tenants, and contributes to the City of Boston's committed to creating more affordable housing for all. I thank everyone involved for their partnership as we work together to see this redevelopment through completion."

Orient Heights Phase One included the creation of 120 units of new affordable rental housing. The units are spread across four townhomes containing 32 units and one mid-rise building containing 88 units and on-site property management offices. All 120 units will receive an operating subsidy-75 percent of the units will receive state public housing operating subsidy and 25 percent of the units will receive project-based subsidy through the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program. The Phase One project achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification.

Phase Two of the redevelopment will provide an additional 88 rental units in 2 townhouse buildings containing 16 units and one mid rise building containing 72 units and community space. The Phase 2 project will also include improvements to portions of Vallar Road, as well as open space enhancements.

"We are excited that the first phase of this project is complete," stated BHA Administrator Bill McGonagle. "We are looking forward to working with our development partners, Trinity Financial, and the residents of Orient Heights, to begin Phase Two of this effort and continue to preserve needed affordable housing for current and future generations."

The total development investment in Orient Heights Phase One will be approximately $51.2 million. The financing plan includes $17.5 million in private equity raised through an allocation of federal 4 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits;  tax-exempt bonds for construction financing; $32.725 million in state public housing capital funds from BHA and DHCD; and affordable housing resources from the City of Boston.

Mayor Walsh is investing $10 million for Phase Two through the proceeds from the sale of the Winthrop Street Garage, as well as $1.83 million in Inclusionary Development Policy Funds, secured from the Davis Companies' 99 Sumner Street development in East Boston.  Phase Two demolition and construction is anticipated to begin this fall.

"Today marks an exciting milestone in the revitalization of the Orient Heights development," said Trinity Financial Vice President of Development Eva Erlich. "We are proud to be a part of the collaboration with the Commonwealth, the City, the Boston Housing Authority, East Boston CDC, the Orient Heights residents, and our colleagues in finance and development to see this first phase through to completion, and we look forward to continuing the transformation of this site with next phase."

Current residents will work with a relocation team regarding which relocation options best meet their needs. Relocation options include moving to another BHA public housing development of their choice or moving to privately owned housing with a state subsidized MRVP voucher. Residents also may choose to return to the redeveloped site when construction is complete or remain in place after initial relocation. 

The Orient Heights public housing development is owned and managed by the BHA, which undertook a planning process in 2008, funded by DHCD, to consider redevelopment options for the site. The BHA commissioned a master plan with an overall design concept and established the goals for the site's redevelopment-to transform the site into an attractive, energy-efficient and healthy housing community modeled on the successful transformations of the BHA's previous public housing redevelopments at sites such as West Broadway, Maverick, and Old Colony.

In January 2015, the BHA selected the development team of Trinity Financial and East Boston CDC to work with BHA and DHCD to finalize a redevelopment strategy for the site. This development team secured financing to implement the redevelopment, and will own and manage the buildings post-redevelopment. The BHA will continue to own the land and will lease the land to Trinity.

Since January of 2015, BHA and the development team have held public meetings with residents and the neighborhood, monthly meetings with the Resident Task Force and various meetings with City and State officials. The project has been largely supported by the community, which has seen a need to redevelop Orient Heights as an inclusive piece of the neighborhood. BHA, Trinity, and the East Boston CDC will continue to meet with the residents and the broader neighborhood on an on-going basis throughout the project's stages.

About Trinity Financial

Trinity Financial is a community-driven, diverse real estate development firm with a proven-track record of redeveloping complex urban sites from New York to Greater Boston. Our work spans half a dozen residential and commercial specialties, from multi-family housing to transit-oriented development. Over the past 30 years we have completed more than $2 billion in innovative development, delivering high quality, sustainable, multi-family housing, ranging from affordable to luxury - all with a commitment to people and place.  For more information about Trinity Financial, please visit www.trinityfinancial.com.

About the Boston Housing Authority

The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) is a public agency that provides subsidized housing to low and moderate income individuals and families. In addition to conventional public housing communities throughout Boston, BHA offers rental assistance programs. BHA receives federal and state funding in order to provide housing programs to individuals and families. BHA's mission is to provide stable, quality affordable housing for low and moderate income persons; to deliver these services with integrity and mutual accountability; and to create living environments which serve as catalysts for the transformation from dependency to economic self-sufficiency.