Construction begins on Holtzer Park project

Construction has begun on an unutilized Boston Housing Authority (BHA) parcel that will result in 62 new units of affordable housing where Mission Hill meets Jamaica Plain. 

Mayor Martin Walsh made the announcement earlier this week that the Urban Edge Housing Corporation has broken ground at the new Holtzer Park housing development in Jackson Square. 

Mayor Walsh said the new project is part of the BHA’s 125 Amory Street phased redevelopment project in Jackson Square. The development is a joint venture between The Community Builders (TCB), Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), and Urban Edge to renovate and preserve 199 public housing units as affordable housing. The project will also repurpose BHA administrative offices into 12 new affordable units, and build approximately 133 units of affordable housing and 214 market-rate apartments in three new buildings on adjacent BHA-owned property.

“It’s great to see the start of construction at the Holtzer Park housing development, which will create many new and affordable homes here in Jackson Square,” said Walsh. “Projects like these are part of our overall strategy to increase the availability of affordable housing in the city, and I want to thank Urban Edge and our partners for their work to make these new homes possible.” 

According to BHA Administrator Kate Bennett, Holtzer Park will create 41 affordable units for households whose income is less than $76,740 for a family of 4 and are supported with Low Income Housing Tax Credits. An additional 21 of these units will have project-based vouchers to provide even deeper affordability for households whose income is less than $38,350 for a family of 4. 

“It’s exciting to see underutilized BHA land transformed into such an important use for dozens of low-income families,” said BHA Administrator t. “We are forging exciting opportunities in Jackson Square and I am grateful to all of our partners and staff that have made this happen.”

Holtzer Park is named for the Holtzer-Cabot Electric Company, where a variety of electrical devices were manufactured. In 1970, BHA converted the building into senior housing.

“It is exciting to begin construction at Holtzer Park, which will bring much-needed, high-quality affordable housing to Jackson Square,” said Emilio Dorcely, CEO of Urban Edge. “Jackson Square has undergone a transformation over the last several years, but because of the hard work of our partners at the City of Boston,  Boston Housing Authority, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, and The Community Builders, current residents are benefitting from those changes. We look forward to being able to celebrate the opening of Holtzer Park – and 62 new affordable homes – in person, when it is safe to do so.”

Last year, the Boston Planning and Development Agency voted to extend Jackson Square Partners, LLC status as tentative designated developer for the Jackson Square Master Plan project–a mixed use development in Jackson Square of largely vacant public and privately owned land where the Mission Hill and Jamaica Plain communities meet. 

Since the BPDA’s plan to revitalize this area of Jackson Square began over a decade ago several milestones have been completed by Jackson Square Partners, LLC. 

Already the development team has completed Jackson Commons. This project cost more than $21 million and consists of a 37 unit, mixed-use and mixed income housing development near the Jackson Square MBTA stop. The development is more than 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail, as well as 2,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. The redevelopment consisted of the adaptive re-use and renovation of the 100 year old, three story, 23,600 square foot Webb Building. The residential unit mix includes 25 two-bedrooms, 7 one bedrooms and 5 three-bedrooms.  Eight units are reserved for homeless/formerly homeless residents while the remaining 29 units are affordable units. 

The city and developer recently celebrated the groundbreaking of 75 Amory Ave. This development kicked off the third phase of a $16 million development that will create 39 units of affordable housing for families. The project also secured $200,000 from the EPA in the form of brownfields grant for the remediation of the former industrial sites next to Jackson Commons at 1542 Columbus Avenue. This land will be transformed into a recreation center for the neighborhood.

Walsh and the BHA said in accordance with the City of Boston’s Green Affordable Housing Program, Holtzer Park will utilize a high-efficiency heating system and building envelope, as well as Energy Star-rated appliances. The development will employ environmentally friendly design features throughout and will meet the U.S. Green Building Council LEED Homes Gold certifiable standard. The housing development will also meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star standards. The development team is made up of Urban Edge, ICON Architecture, and NEI General Contracting.

Walsh said Holtzer Park has been made possible in part by more than $2.71 million in funding from the City of Boston, $750,000 in Neighborhood Housing Trust, as well as more than $15.8 million in State and Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the Commonwealth’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Financing team members also include the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation, MassDevelopment, MassHousing, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, Citizens Bank, Massachusetts Housing Partnership,  the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, Boston Private, The Life Initiative, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“This project is a fantastic example of how our strong non-profit partners like Urban Edge are able to layer multiple state, federal, and local funding sources to create opportunities for our families,” said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox. “We are excited to see the Baker-Polito Administration’s investments in the neighborhood, through MassWorks Infrastructure funding, MassDevelopment’s Brownfields program and our own affordable housing awards help advance this great work.”

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