First look at proposal for BHA-backed reimagining of affordable housing project into mixed-income community
CHARLESTOWN – March 29, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) – Corcoran-SunCal, in partnership with the Boston Housing Authority, welcomed community members and all residents of the Charlestown Public Housing Development on Wednesday March 16 to an open house to present the redevelopment of the site into a larger, more modern site. The new designs are the culmination of months of resident meetings and feedback that encouraged residents to share their aspirations for the project with the development team. Wednesday’s meeting was the first opportunity for the broader community to offer comments and ask questions about the comprehensive proposal for the development.
“It was so gratifying to be able to show the community the results of the work the residents have done with the development team to re-envision the future of the Charlestown Public Housing Development,” said Joseph Corcoran, President of Corcoran Jennison Associates. “Their feedback informed so many of the decisions we made in the design process, and it’s really reflected in these initial plans. The reaction to our open house has been positive and informative, and the Boston Housing Authority has been supportive, that I’m very optimistic we’ll continue to improve the design in the coming months.”
“One Charlestown,” was the theme for the evening to describe the mixed-income community where new public housing units will be created alongside market and moderate-rate housing. Affordable housing will be preserved for current residents while also attracting new residents and revitalizing the neighborhood. The current plan calls for approximately 2,800 new units’ altogether, replacing all 1,100 current units of public housing and adding approximately 1,700 additional units. All current residents will have the right to return to the new development.
“Our goal is to ensure that our residents and surrounding community stakeholders are a part of this process, start to finish,” said Boston Housing Authority Administrator Bill McGonagle. “We are pleased with the process to –date and look forward to recreating the Charlestown community with our residents and partners.”
At the open house, community members were shown initial drawings, renderings, and sketches of key features of the redevelopment, including new buildings, apartments, and open spaces. Visitors were also able to see how the designers planned to integrate the project into the broader Charlestown community. Throughout the process, architects, community relations liaisons, and other members of the development team were on hand to answer questions and address concerns from visitors. Though the open house was primarily a chance to demonstrate what had been accomplished so far, the development team also views it as a key part of the community planning process. Continued community and resident input is encouraged as a way to continue to help shape final design plans.
“I like the organization of the program- they were really able to answer all my questions,” said Serafina Lemus, a resident of the Charlestown Apartments who attended the open house. “I’m really optimistic about this project and how I think residents like me will be treated.”
Over the past three months, Corcoran-SunCal and the BHA have worked with residents of the Bunker Hill Public Housing Development to establish a Resident Working Group that has assisted in the initial design and planning of “One Charlestown.” The Resident Working Group met regularly in late 2015 and early this year, sharing their priorities, values, and hopes for the redevelopment project. The group’s involvement in a planning and design charrette helped the planning team determine how to move forward with the community to further the design of the project.
The new homes will include finishes, features, and amenities that are typical among new housing in Boston: open spaces and courtyards, community gardens, brightly-lit walkways and underground parking, in addition to community services so that residents may enjoy a vibrant, healthy and more sustainable community in Charlestown.
Corcoran-Suncal is a partnership between Corcoran Jenison Associates and SunCal. Together, they are focused on the concept that mixed-income communities offer the richest social context for all their residents, creating a sustainable and safe environment for everyone while also offering the best opportunities for advancement for their low income population. This new partnership is providing a new model for the redevelopment and repositioning of public housing in the United States.
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.