For Immediate Release
Boston- December 7, 2016- Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) along with the development team of Trinity Financial and East Boston CDC, will begin Phase One of the redevelopment program at Orient Heights. Phase One is the initial phase of a multi-phase effort to redevelop the 331-unit Orient Heights state public housing development in East Boston. Built in 1951, Orient Heights has long been the most physically distressed property in the Boston Housing Authority’s state funded portfolio
“Today we celebrate the beginning of a long awaited and much needed revitalization of the Orient Heights Housing Development. This effort will significantly improve the lives of our residents here while creating a community that more appropriately fits in with the surrounding neighborhood,” said Mayor Martin J Walsh.
The Orient Heights public housing development is owned and managed by the BHA, which undertook a planning process in 2008, funded by DHCD, to consider redevelopment options for the site. The BHA commissioned a master plan with an overall design concept and established the goals for the site’s redevelopment—to transform the site into an attractive, energy-efficient and healthy housing community modeled on the successful transformations of the BHA’s previous public housing redevelopments at sites such as West Broadway, Maverick, and Old Colony.
Orient Heights Phase One includes the demolition of 90 units of existing housing and a decommissioned boiler plant and the new construction of 120 units of affordable rental housing. The new housing units will be spread throughout 4 clustered townhouse buildings containing 40 dwelling units and a mid-rise building contracting 80 dwelling units. All 120 units will receive an operating subsidy—75 percent of the units will receive state public housing operating subsidy and 25 percent of the units will receive project-based subsidy through the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program.
In January 2015, the BHA selected the development team of Trinity Financial and East Boston CDC to work with BHA and DHCD to finalize a redevelopment strategy for the site. This development team will secure financing to implement the redevelopment, and will own and manage the buildings post-redevelopment. The BHA will continue to own the land and will lease the land to Trinity.
“We are looking forward to working with our development partners Trinity Financial to revitalize the community as we successfully did together at the Maverick development in Eastie several years ago” stated Bill McGonagle, BHA Administrator.
The total development cost for Orient Heights Phase One will be approximately $51.2 million. The financing plan includes $17.5 million in private equity raised through an allocation of federal 4 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits; tax-exempt bonds for construction financing; $32.725 million in state public housing capital funds from BHA and DHCD; and affordable housing resources from the City of Boston.
Since January of 2015, BHA and the development team have held 7 public meetings with residents and the neighborhood, monthly meetings with the Resident Task Force and various meetings with City and State officials. The project has been largely supported by the community as there is a need to redevelop Orient Heights as an inclusive piece of the neighborhood. BHA, Trinity, and the East Boston CDC will continue to meet with the residents and the broader neighborhood on an on-going basis throughout the project’s stages.
“We’re thrilled to begin Phase One of the Orient Heights development,” said Trinity Financial Vice President of Development Eva Erlich. “The multi-phased project will help deliver the type of housing the East Boston community needs: housing that is affordable, energy efficient, accessible, and integrated with the rest of the East Boston community. Phase One will also result in updates and improved housing for the residents in the initial 90 units. We’re looking forward to working with our partners to create a development that the entire community can benefit from” said Trinity Financial Vice President of Development, Eva Erlich.
Current Phase One residents of the site worked with a relocation team regarding which relocation options best meet their needs. Relocation options included moving to another BHA public housing development of their choice or moving to privately owned housing with a state subsidized MRVP voucher. Residents also may choose to return to the redeveloped site when construction is complete or remain in place after initial relocation. Phase One relocation is complete at this time.
About Trinity Financial
Since 1987, Trinity Financial has pursued a distinctive vision in real estate development, dedicated to revitalizing neighborhoods, strengthening commerce and fostering opportunities through a collaborative urban spirit. Our work spans half a dozen residential and commercial specialties, from multi-unit housing to transit-oriented development. Across that spectrum, Trinity projects demonstrate a high caliber of vision and attention to detail, which sets them apart and has led to sustainable success.
About the Boston Housing Authority
The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) is a public agency that provides subsidized housing to low and moderate income individuals and families. In addition to conventional public housing communities throughout Boston, BHA offers rental assistance programs. BHA receives federal and state funding in order to provide housing programs to individuals and families. BHA’s mission is to provide stable, quality affordable housing for low and moderate income persons; to deliver these services with integrity and mutual accountability; and to create living environments which serve as catalysts for the transformation from dependency to economic self-sufficiency.