CAMH delays vote on RTH project

August 9, 2013
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The Community Alliance of Mission Hill (CAMH) voted to delay a vote for a Roxbury Tenants of Harvard (RTH) 10-story residential tower at the former Massachusetts Mental Health Center site at a July 17 meeting.

RTH representatives presented the project ahead of an Aug. 2 application for state funds. CAMH decided to delay a vote to give the community more time to learn about the project.

The primary criticism at the meeting was that RTH decided to wait until the last possible CAMH meeting before applying for state funds to ask for community support. The project was first announced five or six years ago, according to RTH Executive Director Karen Gately.

If state funds are approved for the project, construction could start as early as September 2014. Community support is not required for that application, though it would be helpful, project team members said at the meeting.

The tower would sit on a parcel located between the Riverway, Fenwood Road and Vining Street. The project would landscape 30,000 square feet of outdoor space and the building would also offer 9,000 square feet of daycare space. Other parts of the Mass Mental redevelopment are already done or already underway.

The 145-unit tower would offer a mix of rentals and condo units. Most of the 60 affordably-priced rentals would be two-bedrooms, targeted at working families. All of them would be affordably-priced “in perpetuity,” Gately told the Gazette. Another 60 market-rate units would also be available.

Over half of the 85 for-sale condo units would be priced affordably. Most of the market-rate condos would be studios and one-bedrooms, while the larger two-bedrooms units would primarily be affordably-priced.

Those units would likely remain affordably priced to any future owners for 30 years, “depending on how the deal [with the City] is structured,” City Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) spokesperson Kerry O’Brien told the Gazette. “It hasn’t been all determined out yet.”

The DND has provided $1 million and the Neighborhood Housing Trust also contributed $1.1 million to the project, O’Brien said.

Community comments on the project are welcome, Gately said. They can be sent to kgately@roxburytenants.org.

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