BOSTON – Wednesday, August 14, 2019 – Building on his commitment to preserve affordable housing in Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined the Fenway Community Development Corporation, their development partner Schochet Companies and Lower Roxbury residents to celebrate the acquisition and preservation of 97 affordable housing units at the Newcastle/Saranac Apartments.
“Preserving Boston’s affordability is key to ensuring everyone who wants to live here can afford to do so, and I’m particularly pleased our commitment to the Newcastle/Saranac Apartments will both preserve and renovate 97 units of our existing affordable housing stock,” said Mayor Walsh. “I want to thank the Fenway CDC and our partners for working with us to make sure families can stay in their homes. Together, we’re protecting long-time residents from displacement, and we’re helping maintain the character of this community.”
The preservation of the units is made possible through Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) off-site unit contributions by three housing development projects: 60 Kilmarnock Street, 1000 Boylston Street, and 212 Stuart Street, negotiated by the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA). IDP requires that market-rate housing developments with 10 or more units and need zoning relief contribute to income-restricted housing.
“Newcastle/Saranac has been my home for years, I raised my family here and I love this neighborhood,” said Patricia Rogers, a 30-year resident of Newcastle/Saranac Apartments. “This building is in at a convenient location, but the best part of living here is my neighbors. We look out for each other. I want to thank the Mayor, Fenway CDC and all of the people here today for helping us stay in our homes.”
The City’s Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) worked with the Fenway CDC to acquire the building and assist in the plan for the renovation of its 97 apartments, located on Columbus Avenue and Northampton Street in Lower Roxbury. Newcastle Saranac’s long-term affordability restrictions were set to expire as the former owners paid off the mortgage they’d received using the MassHousing 13A program. If the building converted to market-rate, all of the tenants were likely to be displaced from homes they had lived in for decades. With help from City of Boston, Fenway CDC was able to purchase the building from its owners, protecting existing tenants from displacement, and preserving the long-term affordability of this mixed-income development.
“You know the old saying ‘It takes a village?’ Well, in order to save 97 units of affordable housing at Newcastle/Saranac, it took the City of Boston, the Commonwealth, and numerous quasi-public entities, banks and investors to rescue these apartments,” said Leah Camhi, executive director of the Fenway CDC. “The families at Newcastle/Saranac are now guaranteed affordable homes for years to come due to all their herculean efforts.”
The Newcastle/Saranac acquisition and preservation was made possible with the significant support from the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development, the Boston Planning & Development Agency, the State’s Department of Housing and Community Development, MassDevelopment, MassHousing, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corp and the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation.
Today’s celebration builds on the release of Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030, Boston’s latest quarterly housing report, and the City’s overall housing goal of 69,000 new units by 2030, to meet Boston’s faster than expected population growth. These 69,000 new units include 15,820 new income-restricted units, which would elevate Boston’s income-restricted inventory total to 70,000, or one in five of all housing units. In addition, the plan set a goal to preserve 85 percent of Boston’s most at-risk privately-owned affordable units, and to purchase 1,000 units of rental housing stock from the speculative market and income-restrict them for perpetuity.
Mayor Walsh’s 2019 housing security legislative package focuses on expanding upon the work that Boston has done to address the region’s affordable housing crisis and displacement risks for tenants. The housing security bills proposed seek to help existing tenants, particularly older adults, remain in their homes, and creates additional funding for affordable housing.