BPDA Board Approves Planning Study Guidelines to Prevent Displacement, Promote Affordable Housing in JP/Rox

South Boston Rezoning InitiativeOver 234 affordable residential units; Downtown Waterfront District Municipal Harbor Plan approved

BOSTON –  Friday, March 3, 2017 – The Boston Planning & Development Agency’s (BPDA) board of directors approved PLAN: JP/Rox, the Downtown Waterfront District Municipal Waterfront Harbor Plan and four development projects at the re-scheduled February meeting. In total the development projects represent 1,713 residential units, 234 of which are affordable, and are valued at $968 million. During construction, these projects will put 2,985 trades people to work and will create 980 direct jobs when construction is complete.

The projects include Tremont Crossing, a $500 million mixed-use project on vacant BPDA-owned land in Roxbury that will bring needed jobs and affordable housing and create a cultural and entertainment destination, including a new home for the Museum of the National Center for African American Artists (NCAAA).  

PLAN: JP/Rox sets new precedent for preventing displacement, creating affordable housing

The approval of the PLAN: JP/Rox guidelines set a new precedent for a collaborative approach to community-based planning. The guidelines approved create a plan to double the existing affordable housing stock in the study area, meaning 40 percent of future development is slated to be affordable. PLAN: JP/Rox has included 40 community meetings, 10 workshops, 13 Advisory Group meetings, and collaboration from a wide range of city departments.

PLAN: JP/Rox was launched in July 2015 in response to calls from the community to study the area covering Forest Hills, Egleston Square and Jackson Square, generally bounded by Washington Street, Columbus Avenue and Amory Street – an area approximately 250 acres in size with over 6,000 residents. With transportation access, parks, a diverse population and culture, the JP/Rox corridor is an attractive place to live and is experiencing significant market pressure for development.

The guidelines lay out a set of strategies to prevent displacement and promote affordable housing, including increased assistance through the City’s newly created Office of Housing Stability, and expanded protections for tenants facing evictions. PLAN: JP/Rox will protect existing businesses and create opportunities for new ones, create guidelines for urban design, and provide suggestions for improvements to transportation, connections, open space, sustainability, and the public realm for the Washington Street and Columbus Avenue corridors.

The Walsh Administration has made nearly $100 million in funding available to create affordable housing. Nearly 20 percent of Boston’s housing stock is deed-restricted affordable housing (30% for the study area), which is among the highest shares in the nation. The guidelines approved Thursday represent one of the most progressive planning documents in the country. Over the next several months, the process will begin to codify the guidelines into zoning. PLAN: JP/Rox will be a living document that will need the continued engagement of the community to track progress towards desired goals.

Municipal Harbor Plan for the Downtown Waterfront District will enhance public access, use of waterfront

The approval of the Downtown Waterfront District Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) sets forth a plan for future development to enhance public access and use of the waterfront, support water dependent uses, as well as to protect and activate the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

The comprehensive, community-based planning process started in March 2013, and has included 40 public meetings and two working sessions, walking tours and community workshops, and two public comment periods. Public comments shaped the final plan.

This MHP includes flexible development standards for two key parcels: (1) the Harbor Garage site, where a new structure up to 600 feet tall and with 50 percent of the project site as open space replaces the existing 70-foot high structured parking garage that provides virtually no open space; and (2) The Hook Wharf site, where the temporary home of the James Hook Lobster Company will be replaced with a new structure up to 305 feet tall, with 30 percent of the lot coverage as open space.

Projects in the Downtown waterfront planning area will contribute over $11.5 million for offsite investments in public realm and watersheet activation infrastructure. The projects will also support a $500,000 design and use planning process that will provide guidance for new and enhanced public realm including conversion of the Chart House parking lot to open space and coordinating with the New England Aquarium’s “Blue Way”.

The projects will also lead to better public access via Harborwalk and improved views and connectivity of the Rose Kennedy Greenway to Boston Harbor. Furthermore, Chapter 91 license fees will be used to fund programming and maintenance of open space and to support water transportation throughout the inner harbor and to the Harbor Islands. The MHP will now go to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for approval.

Development Projects

Years in the making, Tremont Crossing (Parcel P-3) project moves forward with BPDA approval

Live: 727 total units of housing, 102 affordable units with a range of affordability, workforce housing, and Section 8 townhomes
Work: 1,519 permanent jobs, 650 office jobs, 799 retail jobs including destination retail and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) opportunities, and 2,000+ construction jobs
Connect: 436,000 square feet of cultural, retail, and entertainment space including the expanded National Center of African American Artists, a mix of destination and neighborhood retail, and a new pedestrian plaza

After nearly two decades of thoughtful and productive community process alongside the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee (RSMPOC), the Tremont Crossing project was approved by the BPDA board. Located along the south side of Tremont Street, just west of Ruggles Street, the proposed project is set to include office space, the National Center of African American Artists museum, retail space, a parking garage, two residential towers, and townhomes. Once complete, the project will not exceed a total of 2,235,272 square feet.

The Tremont Crossing project will generate 727 total units of housing, 102 of which will be designated as affordable with a range of affordability. The BPDA board voted to approve that the affordable units must be comparable in size, design, and quality to the project’s market rate units. Meaning that the affordable units cannot be stacked or concentrated on the same floors and that these units must be consistent in bedroom count with the project as a whole.

This project will also generate a number of public benefits in addition to the vast housing opportunities and construction of the National Center of African American Artists museum, including: the rehabilitation of the Good Shepherd Church, job training programs, community meeting space, a 20 year commitment to funding for the Alice Taylor Housing development and Whittier Apartments, rent contribution for local entrepreneurs for 15 years, approximately $3,252,417 to the Neighborhood Housing Trust and approximately $651,263 to the Neighborhood Jobs Trust.

The construction of the Tremont Crossing project is estimated to generate 2,000 construction jobs over a 30 month period. Once complete, the project is estimated to create 1,519 permanent jobs made up of 650 office jobs, 799 retail jobs, 10 residential management jobs, 10 museum jobs, and 50 jobs directly related to the project site.

Harrison Albany Block approval to revitalize vacant South End buildings; yield cultural and office space, housing

Live: 65 affordable units, $13 million payment to the Inclusionary Development Policy Fund
Work: 1,350 construction jobs, 290 permanent jobs, 80,000 square feet of office space, 2,600 square feet designated as Affordable Cultural Space
Connect: LEED Silver certifiable, installation of up to two Hubway Stations, 485 bike storage spaces

The Harrison Albany Block project site is located in the South End within a quarter mile of several MBTA bus stops, multiple bus routes, and within one mile of the MBTA Red Line, Orange Line and Commuter Rail service. The project site is currently inhabited by five buildings, four of which are vacant, as well as a large surface parking lot.

The proposed design for the project is based on four main buildings, each containing a mix of uses. Two of the buildings will include 600 residential rental units with the potential for a portion of these units to be used as artist live/work units. These buildings will also include 8,600 square feet of ground floor retail and affordable cultural space with a two-level parking garage constructed beneath. Two of the existing buildings will be renovated to create new office, medical, and retail space, along with 50 residential rental units.

In addition to the renovation of underutilized buildings and the creation of new cultural space, this project will also yield $500,000 for short and long term transportation infrastructure improvements for the South End neighborhood.

370-380 Harrison Avenue approval brings $400K toward transportation infrastructure improvements

Live: 251 market rate units, 63 affordable units, publicly accessible new mid-block connector
Work: 400 construction jobs, 40 retail jobs, 425 square feet designated as Affordable Cultural Space
Connect: LEED Silver certifiable, $400,000 toward transportation infrastructure improvements, creation of a public benefits fund

The 370-380 Harrison project will sit on the former Quinzani’s Bakery site and the former Ho Kong Bean Sprout Co. site. The project will include the construction of a 356,500 square foot, 14-story mixed use building facing Harrison Avenue and extending between Traveler and East Berkeley Street.

Once complete, the project will include up to 314 residential units with a mix of 218 rental and 96 condominium units, up to 8,500 square feet of ground floor retail space, and up to 180 off-street parking spaces in a below grade parking garage.

Through collaboration with the Boston Transportation Department (BTD), BPDA staff have established that this project will provide $400,000 for transportation infrastructure improvements planned for the South End neighborhood. In addition, a $250,000 public benefits fund will be established through the BPDA.

317 Belgrade Avenue approval brings housing, retail to Roslindale

Live: 18 market rate units, three affordable units
Work: 24 construction jobs, nine retail and property management jobs
Connect: $7.5 million of investment, two minute walk to Bellevue train station

The 317 Belgrade Avenue project will be located on approximately 9,633 square feet of land in the Roslindale neighborhood. The project was presented to the BPDA board as a four story, 34,224 square foot, mixed use building consisting of 21 residential rental units, 5,980 square feet of ground floor retail, and 24 below grade parking spaces.

The residential units will consist of 18 two-bedrooms, and three one-bedroom units. Three of the units will be designated as affordable units, satisfying the project’s Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) requirements.

About the Boston Planning & Development Agency
As the City of Boston’s urban planning and economic development agency, the BPDA works in partnership with the community to plan Boston’s future while respecting its past. The agency’s passionate and knowledgeable staff guides physical, social, and economic change in Boston’s neighborhoods and its downtown to shape a more prosperous, resilient, and vibrant city for all. The BPDA also prepares residents for new opportunities through employment training, human services and job creation. Learn more atwww.bostonplans.org, and follow us on Twitter @BostonPlans.

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