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Old 09-22-2015, 11:49 AM   #21
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

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Originally Posted by AmericanFolkLegend View Post
But the mixed-income model has already been successful in several areas of Boston - Columbia Point, Tent City, Rollins Square, etc. The rules of thumb on a mixed-income development is to have it be no more than 25% very low income. And have a sizeable component of "moderate income" (e.g., 80% of AMI), to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich.
As an added bonus mixed-income developments like this increase the social mobility of the poorest residents far more than a luxury development with a small low income set aside.
I agree but I think this is different,although it's unclear. Let's assume the 1100 units are all currently "very low income" and the target is 2600 units total plus 50% retention of current residents. Does that mean 1100 of 2600 will be very low income? Or does that mean 550/2600?
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:54 AM   #22
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

I think that part of the RFP is that there can be no loss of affordable housing, so there will still be at least 1,100 affordable units with the same eligibility rules that are in place in the project today.
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Old 09-22-2015, 12:21 PM   #23
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

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I think that part of the RFP is that there can be no loss of affordable housing, so there will still be at least 1,100 affordable units with the same eligibility rules that are in place in the project today.
I read the RFP that way, too.

It's an unusual mix of income targets, as the RFP asks respondents to NOT use low income housing tax credit units. Most typically in these mixed-income replacements for public housing, there are three tiers: the units set aside for returning public housing residents, a tier at tax credit rents, and a tier of unregulated market units. This RFP was asking for only the top and bottom.

It's not an impossibility for this to work, but it's unusual. I'd be interested to talk to someone at BHA to hear the rationale. Might be entirely the belief that the market rents will be strong enough to not need that middle tier. Might also be they don't want to wait around on someone doing the tax credit apps.

AmericanFolkLegend and others are right in pointing out that mixed-income developments have a good track record in Boston. As for the various posts about how some renters wouldn't want to live next to public housing households: at least three of the four respondents to the RFP have all done these sorts of mixed-income deals before. They know what they're getting into on setting rents for the market units. "Market" means what someone is willing to pay. There's certainly a subset of renters who won't consider living in these proposed new units, but there's a goodly sized subsets of renters who will do so without blinking an eye. Will the developers get the rents that identical units could draw in the South End? Of course not. Will they get rents that are profitable in and of themselves? Absolutely. Getting enough profit out of the market units to support the public housing units is the trick, but these developers have done it before.
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Old 10-01-2015, 09:15 AM   #24
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

The team of Corcoran Jennison and SunCal were selected to be the developer of the Bunker Hill replacement project:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business...nrM/story.html

ETA: well, more precisely, the article says "will be selected" today.
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Old 10-01-2015, 11:25 AM   #25
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

Here's the deets, it's the same group that did Harbor Point.

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Corcoran-SunCalís proposal, filed in August, is to replace the current 1,100 very-low-income apartments in 41 buildings with 960 units at comparably low rents. Other Bunker Hill residents who want to move elsewhere would get vouchers to do so.

The companies would add roughly 1,400 units at higher market-level rents, which in Charlestown often run into the mid-$2,000s for a two-bedroom apartment. The proposal also includes a 300-unit building for seniors.

All the units would be equal in appearance and design, and the low-income apartments would be sprinkled evenly across the development. The look of the new buildings would better blend in with the Charlestown neighborhood.
Plans, designs, and details are yet to be worked out, but total costs will be almost $1B. It's the same company that did Harbor Point. I'm surprised to see that the number of low income units is being reduced to 960, but it might be that that 300-unit senior building counts towards replacing the 1,100 low-income units.
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Old 10-01-2015, 12:35 PM   #26
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

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Here's the deets, it's the same group that did Harbor Point.

Plans, designs, and details are yet to be worked out, but total costs will be almost $1B. It's the same company that did Harbor Point. I'm surprised to see that the number of low income units is being reduced to 960, but it might be that that 300-unit senior building counts towards replacing the 1,100 low-income units.
That's a very feasible explanation; if 50% of the senior bldg. were set aside for low-income, that would get total low-income units to 1,110. Could be some sloppy reporting.

I noted that they projected making use of the low income housing tax credit, though the RFP specifically asked for proposals that avoided making use of competitive public sources like that. I had wondered about cutting out the tax credit tier in a post below: maybe behind the scenes the various bidders were telling BHA that a mixed-income development like this just wouldn't work with the LIHTC units. I've seen the financials on a few dozen mixed-income developments, and although there's a lot of variation, the LIHTC is just about always in there. I see this as a net positive to have tax credits back in the mix: increases overall feasibility by a mile.

I'm very interested to see the designs.
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Old 10-01-2015, 12:40 PM   #27
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

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That's a very feasible explanation; if 50% of the senior bldg. were set aside for low-income, that would get total low-income units to 1,110. Could be some sloppy reporting.

I noted that they projected making use of the low income housing tax credit, though the RFP specifically asked for proposals that avoided making use of competitive public sources like that. I had wondered about cutting out the tax credit tier in a post below: maybe behind the scenes the various bidders were telling BHA that a mixed-income development like this just wouldn't work with the LIHTC units. I've seen the financials on a few dozen mixed-income developments, and although there's a lot of variation, the LIHTC is just about always in there. I see this as a net positive to have tax credits back in the mix: increases overall feasibility by a mile.

I'm very interested to see the designs.
I am intrigued by this as well, because Harbor Point has worked out very well, and that bodes well for this complete rework also.
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Old 10-01-2015, 01:02 PM   #28
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

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I am intrigued by this as well, because Harbor Point has worked out very well, and that bodes well for this complete rework also.
For those unfamiliar with the history of various government programs, Harbor Point was the pilot development for HUD to try out the ideas that eventually, after some lag time, got codified into the HOPE VI program. Though funding for that is now zeroed out, housing authorities can tap into other HUD sources such as RAD to go in a similar direction with obsolete properties.

As such, that makes Harbor Point the pilot for the entire concept of replacing concentrations of public housing with privately managed mixed income housing. Regardless of anyone's opinion of the concept of mixed-income housing as a replacement for public housing, or the subsequent implementation thereof, that's an important piece of housing policy history out there on Columbia Point.
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Old 10-01-2015, 02:06 PM   #29
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

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Originally Posted by West View Post
For those unfamiliar with the history of various government programs, Harbor Point was the pilot development for HUD to try out the ideas that eventually, after some lag time, got codified into the HOPE VI program. Though funding for that is now zeroed out, housing authorities can tap into other HUD sources such as RAD to go in a similar direction with obsolete properties.

As such, that makes Harbor Point the pilot for the entire concept of replacing concentrations of public housing with privately managed mixed income housing. Regardless of anyone's opinion of the concept of mixed-income housing as a replacement for public housing, or the subsequent implementation thereof, that's an important piece of housing policy history out there on Columbia Point.
I really like what was done with Harbor Point. It's an awesome location and is maintained very well. I really can't tell that it's mixed income.
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:02 PM   #30
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

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Originally Posted by JeffDowntown View Post
I am intrigued by this as well, because Harbor Point has worked out very well, and that bodes well for this complete rework also.
Harbor Point is decent - I would go so far as to say "nice" but really that's only "nice for a housing project" and the fact that it's right on the water with a great section of the Harborwalk and Boston Harbor looking at you between every building makes it much better.... if it were some landlocked zone it would have a more bland feel, like the West End. There's almost no retail and it feels isolated and cut off. And so do the Bunker Hill projects right now, but I worry that the planned homogeneous redevelopment will perpetuate this, just in a less dumpy fashion. Still, anything is an improvement, and sounds like better density is in the works here. Will be interesting to see what they do with the waterfront here - what they SHOULD do is have a single piece of public space from Medford St to the water, that expands laterally along the shore. I fear that, as is often the case, they will end up with a bunch of small, bland grassy squares instead. Cynical me.
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Old 04-14-2016, 02:31 PM   #31
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

Somerville's Clarendon Hills redevelopment project reminded me of this one. There are a couple early renders from one of the consultants on the Bunker Hill redevelopment.



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Old 08-17-2016, 09:08 AM   #32
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

The developers filed preliminary plans with the BRA yesterday: http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/...2MP/story.html

Nothing on the BRA's website, but there is a new development website with some more renders:



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Old 08-17-2016, 09:57 AM   #33
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

Freaking awesome although way too much green space. Those should all/most be interior courtyards with O shaped buildings on each block. Would be a slice of Europe in Charlestown.

I like that they are thinking tall near the highway too.
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Old 08-17-2016, 10:00 AM   #34
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

^^ Agreed
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Old 08-17-2016, 10:45 AM   #35
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

Those taller buildings near the highway look sketchy to me...this whole thing is ultimately great for Ctown but at the end of day it's unchartered territory.

I picture a project building under a highway charging market rent...personally I'd more comfortable living in lower rise units closer to bunker hill street as someone who's pay market rent.

It will be interesting to see if this model is successful or not.
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Old 08-17-2016, 10:52 AM   #36
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

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Originally Posted by 617 View Post
Those taller buildings near the highway look sketchy to me...this whole thing is ultimately great for Ctown but at the end of day it's unchartered territory.

I picture a project building under a highway charging market rent...personally I'd more comfortable living in lower rise units closer to bunker hill street as someone who's pay market rent.

It will be interesting to see if this model is successful or not.
"Market" rents are not all equal, they're just all decided by the market. Nicer apartments in better locations will have occupants willing to pay higher "market" rent, so the units right up against the highway will be cheaper.
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Old 08-17-2016, 11:37 AM   #37
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

Does this have any parking on site? And if not are there any transit improvements planned. This is pretty far from the orange line for such a dense development.

Hopefully there is lots of retail. That's the biggest downside to Charlestown, it dosn't have many restaurants to choose from
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Old 08-17-2016, 12:23 PM   #38
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

My personal take is that I'm fine with this "urban renewal" if they can replace most, if not all subsidized housing units with low income residential that charge rent at or around the same amount they are currently charged now. Otherwise, this would displace a large number of people in the guise of "progress" when in actuality it's moving the most vulnerable demographic to another town/city for them to deal with.
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Old 08-17-2016, 12:53 PM   #39
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

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My personal take is that I'm fine with this "urban renewal" if they can replace most, if not all subsidized housing units with low income residential that charge rent at or around the same amount they are currently charged now. Otherwise, this would displace a large number of people in the guise of "progress" when in actuality it's moving the most vulnerable demographic to another town/city for them to deal with.
The RFP specifically mandated, and this proposal provides for, a 1 to 1 replacement of low income housing units. The devils is in the details, of course, and I do not know the details on exact types of income / rent restrictions in the status quo and its replacement; I also don't know the details of any "right to return" agreement that's being forged. However, the Boston Housing Authority, for all its other many faults, is historically pretty good on defending existing tenants' right to return in these sorts of deals. And the low income units being built will very likely have a project based section 8 contract that will have those residents paying 30% of the income just like they now pay (and yes, that gets adjusted up or down when income circumstances change).

I am not arguing in all this that no one will get displaced; I think some households always do get displaced in these mixed-income replacement efforts. I'm just saying BHA and its developer partners haven't been at the ruthless end of the spectrum on that front, compared to some other cities (giving the stink-eye to Chicago here).
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:06 PM   #40
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Re: BHA Charlestown/Bunker Hill redevelopment

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Does this have any parking on site? And if not are there any transit improvements planned. This is pretty far from the orange line for such a dense development.

Hopefully there is lots of retail. That's the biggest downside to Charlestown, it dosn't have many restaurants to choose from
There is a lot of parking, underground.

(source)

There's not much information on the amount of retail, but they talk of sidewalk activation, which sounds promising...

EDIT: Found this render on the architect's website. They're obviously preliminary and simple, and more detail will come eventually, but I figured that I'd share.

Last edited by stefalarchitect; 08-17-2016 at 01:20 PM.
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