December 9, 2021
Mayor Michelle Wu joined Governor Charlie Baker, Beacon Companies CEO Dara Kovel, the President & CEO of The Pine Street Inn Lydia Downie, and local elected officials to break ground on 140 Clarendon Street, a redevelopment project that will create 210 units of affordable housing at Boston’s historic Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) building, located at the intersection of Clarendon and Stuart Streets in Back Bay. With the partnership of homeless services provider Pine Street Inn, 111 of the units will become supportive housing for people exiting homelessness.
“Housing stability must be the foundation of our recovery,” said Mayor Wu. “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.”
When the renovation is complete, the development will create 210 units of affordable apartments, of which 111 apartments will be reserved for people who are currently experiencing homelessness, and 99 apartments will be for residents with incomes significantly below the area median income. The housing set aside for formerly homeless individuals will come with supportive services provided by the Pine Street Inn.
The Boston Housing Authority is providing Project-Based Vouchers (PBV) to all the units in the new development. Project-Based Vouchers subsidize the units and allow low-income families to afford units that would otherwise be too expensive for them. The vouchers represent a $6.3 million annual subsidy that will ensure that these vulnerable residents can be stably housed for years to come.
The Boston YWCA Building was constructed between 1927-1929 and has served as the YWCA’s headquarters for nearly a hundred years. In addition to housing, offices for Beacon Residential Management will occupy space on the first floor of the building. All the other cultural and educational organizations currently in the building, including the Lyric Stage Theatre Company, the Snowden School, a City of Boston charter school, Viga Restaurant, Honovan Tailor, the Resource Connection, and the YWCA’s offices will remain.
“This project is a great example of public and private partners coming together to deliver a unique asset to the neighborhood by maintaining a cultural institution and providing a solution to homelessness: housing with services for our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are pleased to support Beacon Communities and Pine Street Inn on this dynamic project that will benefit hundreds, and we are eager to continue working with local partners to create new housing and pursue innovative projects across the state to meet the diverse needs of our Commonwealth.”
Beacon Communities, in partnership with Mount Vernon Company, will own the new development. It will be managed by Beacon Residential Management Limited Partnership. The re-development expands affordable housing in a high-cost neighborhood. Through a service partnership with the Pine Street Inn, the resulting community will comprise one of the largest supportive housing communities in Boston.
“The Mount Vernon Company was instrumental in securing and reimagining this important property as supportive housing for Boston’s most vulnerable”, said Bruce A. Percelay, Chairman of Mount Vernon Company. “As a Boston resident and business owner, I see the need for this type of housing every day. 140 Clarendon Street is a victory for all of Boston's residents as we work to make sure that everyone living here has a home and the services they need to succeed. We were proud to be a part of building this new community."
“We have truly appreciated the collaboration of our public and private partners, keeping the focus on advancing the City and State’s housing policies with thoughtful and creative problem-solving to help us bring this project together,” said Dara Kovel, Beacon CEO. “We are so excited about our partnership with Pine Street Inn, which is the first of its kind on this scale.”
“Pine Street Inn is thrilled to partner with Beacon Communities to provide permanent housing for over one hundred individuals experiencing chronic homelessness,” said Pine Street Inn President & Executive Director Lyndia Downie. “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.”
In 2003-2006, the YWCA undertook a major rehabilitation of the property and created 79 affordable single room occupancy (SRO) and one-bedroom apartments, 39 market-rate apartments, and a 66-room budget hotel. In honoring that legacy of the building, the Pine Street Inn and the Beacon Companies will now use the property to continue serving those in need. Deeply rooted in a commitment to social justice and serving others, these two organizations joined together to combine Beacon Communities housing development expertise with the Pine Street Inn’s well-known track record for providing extensive support services to homeless individuals. This innovative partnership was created with the help of funding from the State of Massachusetts and the City of Boston.
“They say that it takes a village, and that is certainly the case at 140 Clarendon Street. This project combines federal subsidies provided by BHA, services, and management provided by community-based nonprofits, and development funding provided by the state, the City of Boston, and the private sector. It’s an incredible group of partners,” said BHA Administrator Kate Bennett. “Most importantly, this redevelopment effort will give hundreds of families a safe and affordable place to live in the Back Bay neighborhood.”
Financing for 140 Clarendon includes $6,000,000 of funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development; MassHousing is providing a $37.2 million permanent loan, a $20.3 million bridge loan, and $500,000 in Capital Magnet Fund financing; the City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development is providing $8,039,955 of funding; Bank of America is providing a Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Historic Tax Credit equity in the amount of $43,975,833; and the Commonwealth is providing $23,575,000 of State Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity.
"MassHousing is excited about the 210 households who will soon have quality, affordable rental homes in the heart of the Back Bay," said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. "This collaborative effort between Beacon Communities and all the project partners will not only breathe new life into this historic building but will create housing stability for all those who will call 140 Clarendon home."
“Affordable housing development is a team sport, and the cooperation and dedication to make this project happen is an incredible testament to the strong affordable housing ecosystem in Massachusetts,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “Today’s project is the result of creative strategies to provide vital services to the most vulnerable among us, and I’m excited we can support this innovative approach that furthers our efforts to combat homelessness and address our lack of affordable, supportive housing that is needed to help people succeed across Massachusetts.”
The rehabilitation of the building will be completed to the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historic Preservation and the development is utilizing Federal Historic Tax Credits. Construction is expected to be completed in 2024.
About the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND)
The Department of Neighborhood Development is responsible for housing people experiencing homelessness, creating and preserving affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can obtain, maintain, and remain in safe, stable housing. The department develops and implements the City of Boston’s housing creation and homelessness prevention plans and collaborates with local and national partners to find new solutions and build more housing affordable to all, particularly those with lower incomes. For more information, please visit the DND website.
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 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 that serve as catalysts for the transformation from dependency to economic self-sufficiency.
View Full Article Here