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Developer, officials celebrate groundbreaking of new project at historic YWCA building

City and state officials celebrated the groundbreaking of a new project expected to bring more than 200 units of affordable housing to Boston’s historic YWCA building.

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Located at 140 Clarendon St., in Boston’s Back Bay the project will redevelop the former YWCA building into 210 units of affordable housing, including units dedicated to formerly homeless individuals.

The initial letter of intent for the project was filed last December. The Boston Planning & Development Agency approved the project in March, and the building permit was granted in October.

Housing stability must be the foundation of our recovery,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said. “Today’s groundbreaking shows what’s possible when we collaborate across different sectors and levels of government to create much-needed affordable housing in our neighborhoods. This project will provide much-needed housing and services for residents experiencing homelessness.”

The renovation will include rehabbing approximately 50,000 square feet of existing hotel and residential uses into affordable units, health and wellness amenities and building management staff offices. The ground floor commercial uses will remain unchanged and continue to house the Lyric Stage of Boston and the Snowden International School.

Once complete, the development will include 210 affordable Boston apartments, 111 of which will be reserved for individuals currently experiencing homelessness and 99 for residents with income significantly below the area median income. The Pine Street Inn will provide support services for the housing set aside for formerly homeless individuals.

Pine Street Inn president and executive director Lyndia Downie said the organization is thrilled to partner with Beacon Communities to provide permanent housing for more than 100 individuals experiencing homelessness.

“This partnership is a huge step forward in our efforts to provide every person with a safe, stable place to live, ensure they receive the services they need and ultimately end homelessness in Boston,” she said.

The building’s rehabilitation will follow the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Preservation. Construction is expected to be completed in 2024.

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New Boston Condo Developments

Boston’s former Alexandra Hotel, located at the corner of Washington Street and Massachusetts Avenue in Roxbury, will soon become residential housing. 

The Boston Planning & Development Agency approved the project, which will allow for the construction of 79 condominiums, 10 of which will be income-restricted. 

In 2019, developers received the approval to redevelop the former hotel into a 12-story, 150-room boutique hotel while retaining and restoring the facade of the existing building, as well as recreating and refurbishing its original historical design elements. The building, which was built in 1875, has been vacant for decades.  

In September, developers filed a request with the BPDA to change the scope of the project to condominiums. That request was approved in October. 

The project is the first to comply with the BPDA’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing requirements. Approved just recently, the requirements ensure developers take several steps to support fair housing practices, including constructing all units set aside as affordable on-site, as well as increasing the number of two-bedroom units and the number of units accessible to those with disabilities. Preference to first-generation homebuyers is also part of the requirements.

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The former Midtown Hotel will soon be replaced with a 10-story project bringing more than 300 housing units to Huntington Avenue. Forty-three of which will be income-restricted.

The Boston Planning & Development Agency approved the plans for the 220 Huntington Ave. project at its October meeting. Developer National Development initially filed a letter of intent for the project back in August of 2020. 

The project will replace two existing buildings — the former Midtown Hotel at 220 Huntington Ave. and a four-story, seven-unit residential building at 1 Cumberland St. — bringing with it 325 transit-oriented housing units, as well as 15,500 square feet of retail and co-working space. The mixed-use building will also have 152 parking spaces and storage for approximately 325 bicycles, according to the filing. 

The Boston Sun reported last December that National Development planned to enter a 99-year lease with the First Church of Christ, Scientist to rent the 220 Huntington Ave. site. Both properties are owned by the First Church of Christ, Scientist.

According to the filing with the BPDA, the project will fulfill the original intent of the Christian Science Center Master Plan which allows for the development of up to 950,000 square feet on the Belvidere/Dalton corner of the Christian Science Plaza.


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The Boston Planning & Development Agency has approved five new transit-oriented development projects that will bring 544 residential units to four city neighborhoods. The new communities will be located in the Dorchester, Roxbury, Fenway and Hyde Park neighborhoods. Construction of the developments will result in a combined 592,700 square feet and will support 452 construction jobs and 126 permanent positions. 

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The Jan Karski Way Extension Project in Dorchester. Credit: Boston Planning & Development Agency

The Jan Karski Way Extension Project will bring 403 residential units to Dorchester. Sixty units will be designated affordable, and the developer has agreed to increase affordable housing contributions in the future. A transit-oriented development, Jan Karski Way is a 10-minute walk to Andrew Station and a nine-minute walk to the commuter rail at Newmarket Stations. The project will also include enhanced streetscapes, the construction of new streets and sidewalks, as well as 14,665 square feet of retail space, storage for 488 bicycles and 47,786 square feet of new publicly accessible open space.

In Roxbury, 190 Dudley St., once complete, will have 28 new housing units in a five-story building with community and retail space. Four of the units will be designated affordable. The development is close to Nubian Station and will incentivize the use of public transportation, car sharing and biking. The project will include 44 bike storage spaces as well. 

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The 601 Newbury St. project. Credit: Boston Planning & Development Agency

In the Fenway neighborhood, the 601 Newbury St. project will include 71 housing units, nine Inclusionary Development Policy units and contributions to the BPDA’s IDP Fund. The development will add four additional stories to an existing three-story building, creating 71 compact-living units with 50 studios and 21 one-bedroom apartments. It will also include shared spaces including a fitness room/gym, dining room with kitchenette, a workspace/meeting room, a theater/media room and an exterior landscaped area and patio. Like the other two projects, it is transit-oriented and close to several transportation options. Along with sidewalk improvements and 86 bike parking spaces, residents will also receive a free three-month MBTA pass. 

Hyde Park’s 555 Metropolitan Ave. project will turn an existing parking lot into a 21-unit condominium building with 18 units available at market rate and three deemed income-restricted. The building will be a mix of two- and three-bedroom units and will include onsite bike and car parking. The developer will also contribute $29,663 for nearby street improvements and create a pedestrian pathway connecting Metropolitan Avenue to Hyde Park Avenue.

The 69 Bailey St. project will bring compact living to Dorchester. The former VFW one-story building on the site will be replaced with a new three-story building with 21 rental units, three of which will be income-restricted. The development will also include parking for eight vehicles and 21 bicycles. Additionally, the developer will offer residents 50% subsidized transit, two car-share spaces and on-site bicycle repair. They will also contribute $5,775 to Boston’s Bluebikes program and $18,550 for either green-space initiative funding or nearby street improvements.

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The former Our Lady of Victories Church in Boston’s South End will soon bring new residential housing to the area. 

The 25 Isabella St. project, approved by the Boston Planning & Development Agency on June 10, will revitalize the vacant church and convert it into a condominium development. The project will preserve the architecture of the existing church, which was built in the late 1800s and bring additions to the existing structure. 

Once complete, the Bay Village project will include 18 residential units, two of which will be income-restricted. The units will be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums. The development will also include 21 garaged parking spots, a bike room, sidewalk improvements, landscaping and open space. 

The project is within walking distance to downtown Boston, Boylston Street, Back Bay Station and the Boston Common, as well as close to several MBTA stations. 

The development will contribute $129,200 to the city’s Inclusionary Development Policy fund, and the developer committed $15,000 in funding to the Boston Parks and Recreation Department for the management and beautification of the Bay Village Neighborhood Park.

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