Bunker Hill Housing Redevelopment Breaks Ground on Phase One
Mayor Wu breaks ground for Phase One of The Bunker Hill Housing Redevelopment, the largest Public Housing Redevelopment in Boston’s history
This Event Marks The Culmination Of An Eight-Year Community Process That Will Transform The 1,110 Unit Public Housing Community Into A 2,699 Unit Mixed-Income Community
BOSTON – Friday, June 16, 2023 – Mayor Michelle Wu today celebrated the beginning of a long-awaited transformation of the aging Bunker Hill Public Housing Development in Charlestown. This redevelopment is a partnership among the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), the Charlestown Resident Alliance (CRA), Joseph J. Corcoran Company, Leggat McCall Properties (LMP), and Declaration Partners, and is expected to transform the 1,110 unit public housing community into a 2,699 unit mixed-income community. This project is the result of years of work by the tri-party development team of the BHA, LMP, and the CRA working as partners to shape the future of the development. This project represents the largest public housing redevelopment in the City of Boston’s history.
“Transforming Bunker Hill Public Housing Development is critical in keeping residents and families who have called Charlestown home for generations to come,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Today’s groundbreaking shows what’s possible when we use every tool as a City and partner across different sectors and levels of government to ensure residents have access to safe, affordable, and sustainable housing. I’m grateful to all of our partners for their critical work and look forward to the completion of this redevelopment.”
Built in 1940 as federal public housing, the Bunker Hill housing community has long needed new investment and revitalization. Through a public-private partnership led by the City of Boston, the existing 42 buildings will be replaced with 15 new residential buildings, retail and community space, as well as green spaces and connections to the surrounding community.
“Bunker Hill families have waited a long time for this day to come and we’re so happy that the work is finally underway,” said BHA Administrator Kate Bennett. “The BHA, the CRA, and the developer have worked side by side as a true tri-party team to find solutions that will change thousands of lives for the better.”
The redevelopment of the Bunker Hill public housing community is the result of a resident-driven process over the course of the last eight years. The public housing tenant organization, the Charlestown Resident Alliance, has been at the center of planning and implementation, with the CRA, BHA and Leggat McCall sharing decision-making authority in a contractual “tri-party” arrangement.
“As a member of the tri-party, we have been proud to represent the residents of Bunker Hill throughout the process, attending hundreds of meetings and advocating for a new community center and the right for residents to return to new housing,” said Nancy Martinez, President of the Charlestown Resident Alliance. “It has been a long journey to get here, and we are ready to celebrate! When we work together, we can make better lives for our families, and we make Boston stronger.”
Construction of phase one is now underway, with Suffolk Construction beginning work on a four to six story apartment building designed by Stantec that will create 102 units of deeply affordable housing. These units will be subsidized through the Federal Project-Based Section 8 Voucher program, and financing for the first building is being provided by MassHousing and CREA/Citizens Bank.
All 15 new residential buildings will be built to Passive House standards, which is the highest standard for energy efficiency in new construction. From the beginning, the first building and the full redevelopment were planned to set the project on a path to net-zero carbon emissions by maximizing building efficiency and using cleaner electricity, building towards Mayor Wu’s goal of fossil fuel-free public housing by 2030. The project is also incorporating MassTimber and Cross-Laminated Timber into the building design, which will result in the sequestration of over 1,400 metric tons of CO2 in the redevelopment of all 15 buildings.
“Our public housing residents – many of whom are the backbone of our city – deserve to live with pride and dignity and enjoy a decent quality of life,” said Council Ed President Flynn. “The redevelopment of the Bunker Hill Public Housing Development is an enormous investment that will transform the public housing community in Charlestown from structures of the 1940s to new and energy-efficient homes with community amenities and green spaces. I applaud the important partnership between the City, Boston Housing Authority, the Charlestown Resident Alliance, and Leggat McCall Properties and the expansion of more units to include for residents from a mixed income range as well.”
“The residents of the Bunker Hill Public Housing Development in Charlestown deserve state of the art homes,” said City Councilor Gabriela Coletta. “A huge thank you to the Boston Housing Authority and Leggat McCall Properties for their partnership, and especially to the Charlestown Resident Alliance for getting us to this point.”
“As our city continues to navigate an unprecedented housing crisis, the addition of 1,600 units of mixed-income housing is a clear, material commitment to working families,” said Councilor Kendra Lara, Chair of the Committee on Housing and Community Development. “Investments in public housing like these are essential in stabilizing and diversifying neighborhoods while moving us closer to a thriving city for all. I am grateful to Mayor Wu and BHA for continuing to steward this vision and bringing every neighborhood along with us.”
This is the first phase of a master plan that will redevelop the entire public housing community, creating 2,699 units of housing. The new Bunker Hill development will include 1,010 deeply affordable replacement units on-site and add 1,689 units of new market-housing to help fund and maintain the community over time.
All 1,110 existing public housing units will be replaced with deeply affordable units, with 1,010 units built onsite and 100 built offsite in Charlestown in partnership with BHA and the City of Boston. All Charlestown families who are relocated will have the right to return to a new affordable unit on-site.
“The revitalization of the Bunker Hill Public Housing Development is a testament to the City’s commitment to safeguard this vital community and its affordable housing for decades to come,” said Sheila Dillon, Chief of Housing. “Through a collaborative effort with the Charlestown Resident Alliance, the Boston Housing Authority, and the dedicated development team, we will not only replace every affordable housing unit but also introduce new residences to address the evolving demands of Boston’s thriving population. As we embark on this new chapter, we celebrate the tireless efforts of the individuals and families who have called this neighborhood their home.”
“This redevelopment represents a landmark partnership between the City of Boston and the private sector with a community-driven process at its core,” said Adelaide Grady, Bunker Hill Housing Redevelopment Executive Director and Senior Vice President & Partner at Leggat McCall Properties. “Despite pandemic obstacles, the tri-party team forged ahead knowing that critical new housing, green space, and Passive House construction in a deep-rooted, historic neighborhood could be a future model for how development can be done differently.”
Over the course of the project, the redevelopment is expected to create approximately 1,785 jobs, including 185 permanent retail and property management jobs. The tri-party team, in partnership with Wentworth, has also established a paid summer internship program for high school students at Bunker Hill to explore careers in real estate, architecture, and construction that is now in its third summer.
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