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BRA ok’s phase three for Jackson Square redevelopment project

Jule Pattison-Gordon

The Boston Redevelopment Authority last week approved a revised plan for phase three of the long-running redevelopment project for Jackson Square. This stage governs the development of 25 Amory Street and 250 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain for transit-oriented housing and retail use.

Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation will create 44 affordable rental units at 25 Amory Street. Meanwhile, The Community Builders will develop 250 Centre Street into 76 market-rate units, 24 affordable units and 2,400 square feet of retail space. In each building, 10 percent of the affordable housing will be reserved for those with extremely low incomes. Phase three includes as well 27,000 square feet of park space, with bicycling and walking paths; a public plaza with seating and several lawn areas across from the Jackson Square MBTA station. The BRA places the total cost for phase three at $62,600,000. Both JPNDC and TCB are nonprofits aimed at furthering local economic development and housing for neighborhood residents

Jackson Square master plan

In 2005, Urban Edge, JPNDC, The Community Builders and Hyde Square Task Force were designated by the BRA to redevelop the Jackson Square area, where many homes and businesses were bulldozed in the 1960s and 1970s to clear a path for planned highways.

Thus far, the redevelopment project has produced 68 market rate units and 102 affordable units in three projects completed between 2011 and 2015: Jackson Commons, 225 Centre Street and 270 Centre Street. A further 39 affordable apartments are underway at 75 Amory Street, with completion expected in early 2017, according to information available from the JPNDC. In addition to housing, the overarching Jackson Square redevelopment master plan includes retail, office and community space and a youth recreation center.

While more projects are pending, last week’s advancement marked approval for the largest site of the Jackson Square redevelopment initiative and makes the development projects eligible to seek state and city affordable housing funding, Leslie Bos, JPNDC real estate director, told the Banner.

Revised phase three

The original phase three vision called for a greater amount of housing units and retail space, but was scaled back following development partners’ loss of a section of land on which they had intended to locate much of the project’s required parking. To retain provision of 0.7 parking spaces per unit, developers reduced their proposal from 150 residential units with 106 parking spots to 144 units with 102 spots. In the revision, all 23 affordable homeownership units were dropped, while the number of affordable rental units rose from 56 to 69 and the number of market-rate units remained at 75, according to December 2015 plans filed with the BRA. The loss of parking spaces also necessitated a significant reduction in retail space and the type of retail remains to be determined, Bos said.

Parking spots will be both beneath buildings and ground-level, Bos said.

25 Amory Street

All units at 25 Amory Street will be affordable for those making up to 60 percent of Area Median Income, which in Boston is $58,900 for a family of four. JPNDC is sponsoring the construction. The NDC will seek state subsidies and low-income tax credits to support the cost of making the units affordable, with city subsidies and permanent debt filling in the gap.

Based on similar projects in the area, Bos said she expects the project will cost $400,000 per unit, which covers expenses for construction, site improvements such as parking, acquisition, professional services and financing. This puts the price tag for the entire 25 Amory Street project at $17,600,000. Should additional subsidies be available, Bos said developers would like to designate a greater portion of units for those earning lower levels of income.

JPNDC will own the building and use a third party property manager, Bos said. According to plans filed with the BRA, 65 percent of the units will be sized to accommodate families and include at least two bedrooms.

Construction could begin on one of the projects within one to two years, if there are no hitches in assembling funding support for affordable housing as well as infrastructure improvements to prepare the site for development, Bos said. Construction likely would take a year or two as well, potentially longer for the larger building.

250 Centre Street

The Community Builders will develop and manage the 100-unit building at 250 Centre Street, marking the third mixed-income development TCB has created in the area. TCB still is determining its funding and will offset costs of affordable units through revenue from market-rate units and from affordable housing resources, Bos said.

At least 15 percent of units will be affordable to those earning up to 60 percent of AMI, and 39 percent of rental units will be sized for families, according to plans filed with the BRA.