BOSTON – Saturday, October 26, 2019 – As part of the Mayor’s commitment to building and preserving affordable housing in the City of Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined the Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC), the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), local elected officials and the Madison-Whittier Coalition to celebrate the grand opening of the Melnea Cass Apartments. The $39 million project creates 76 units of new mixed-income housing at 40 Raynor Circle and 600 Melnea Cass Blvd, and is part of the BHA’s Whittier Choice Neighborhood grant program.
“Today is a great day in Roxbury, as we’re celebrating the creation of 76 homes for people with low to moderate incomes,” said Mayor Walsh. “The new Melnea Cass Apartments represent what’s possible through partnership, when federal, state and city entities, work together with residents and nonprofits. We will continue our work ahead to build more affordable homes for our residents so that we can create stronger, more stable communities.”
Of the 76 total units, 33 are deeply affordable units funded with project based vouchers administered by the BHA that will serve as replacement units for former residents of the Whittier Street public housing development, which is currently undergoing redevelopment to preserve the long-term affordability at the site.
In addition, 20 units are affordable to those earning less than 60% of AMI, 19 units are affordable to those earning less than 100% of AMI, and the remaining four are market-rate units. The development consists of a 16-unit rental townhouse building and a 60 unit mid-rise apartment building located adjacent to the 546-unit Madison Park Village.
“When we undertook the Whittier Choice Neighborhood Initiative, we knew that this would be a golden opportunity to not only preserve critical affordable units in Roxbury, but to truly invest in this neighborhood,” BHA Acting Administrator Kate Bennett said. “Right now, 33 Whittier families are enjoying brand new affordable units. We’re proud to see six years of dedicated planning, investment and work begin to bear fruit today.”
The Melnea Cass Apartments are located on formerly vacant land, and the smaller townhouse building is on a site previously occupied by a one-story community center that Madison Park Development Corporation owned and operated as a technology center and after school program. The programs were relocated and expanded last year at the new Dewitt Center.
“In addition to new quality, affordable homes, the project creates a new pedestrian environment and adds landscaping to the edge of Melnea Cass Boulevard,” said Jeanne Pinado, MPDC’s Chief Executive Officer.
This project received overwhelming support from the community, local businesses and nonprofit organizations. Melnea Cass Apartments now provides a new front door to Madison Park Village, adding to the vibrancy of the community.
“I am so happy to be here today and celebrate my new home,” said resident Stephanie Thomas. “I want to thank Mayor Walsh, MPDC, the City of Boston, and everyone involved in making this beautiful day happen!”
The buildings meet LEED Silver, Energy Star, and Enterprise Green Community standards. A $725,000 MassWorks grant was used to enhance the landscaping and public access on Raynor Circle and along Melnea Cass Blvd.
This new development was made possible in part by a $2.25 million investment from the City of Boston, $3 million from Department of Housing & Community Development, $1.9 million from MassHousing workforce housing program, $725,000 from state EOCD, and $11,150,000 in MassHousing permanent bond debt. The project also received $1 million from the Whittier Choice Neighborhood Grant, which funds projects that will transform Whittier Street and the surrounding community by providing educational and economic opportunities for low income residents and investing in community amenities and infrastructure that will improve the quality of life for residents in the lower Roxbury neighborhood. The federal and state housing tax credits allocated to the project generated $16.8 million from RBC Capital Equity Group in low income tax credit equity.