Rally calls for all-affordable housing in new project

May 8, 2015
By

EGLESTON SQ.—A grassroots group held a protest rally on April 29 in Egleston Square, calling on the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and the developers of 3200 Washington St. to make that development 100 percent affordable.

About 35 to 40 young adults and teenagers gathered for the rally April 29. The event started with a barbeque at the Egleston Square Peace Garden and then proceeded down Washington Street to the location of the proposed development.

During the march, members chanted such slogans as, “What do we want? Affordable housing. When do we want it? Now.” They also held up posters with such messages as “Build housing for people, not profit!” and “Stop gentrifying Egleston.” The rally stopped in front of proposed development location and held up traffic for 100 seconds symbolizing the call for 100 percent affordable housing.

The group sent the BRA a petition with more than 500 signatures asking for that to happen.

“We are really asking people to consider what it means to have a healthy community,” said Maya Gaul, an Egleston Square resident and a member of the group.

She said what the community needs is “not luxury condos masked by fancy words.”

The developers, Dan Mangiacotti and Paul Iantosca, have plans to build a 76-unit, six- to seven-story building. The proposal currently calls for 16 percent of those units to be priced as affordable, which is roughly the amount required under City policy.

Joseph Hanley, the development team attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.

BRA spokesperson Nick Martin said in an email to the Gazette that the project has been through an extensive community review process and that the agency extended the comment period to allow for more feedback from the public. He confirmed that the BRA has received the petition.

“While promoting the creation of affordable housing is a top priority of the BRA, we cannot realistically require that the project be entirely affordable,” he said. “The developer’s proposal slightly exceeds what is required by the Inclusionary Development Policy, and we do not have the leverage to demand that all units be designated as affordable. We will continue to work aggressively with other city agencies and community members to further the administration’s housing goals, which aim to support residents at all income levels. Creating the affordable housing that we need as a city cannot be solved with one project, and we need to take a holistic approach to confronting this challenge.”

The rally calling for 100 percent affordable housing at the proposed development at 3200 Washington St.  (Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley)

The rally calling for 100 percent affordable housing at the proposed development at 3200 Washington St. (Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley)

  • Eric Herot

    This is not a serious request. Building affordable housing requires money. Lots of it. When non-profits like the JPNDC build “100 percent affordable” projects, they do it with a TON of state subsidy, but those subsidies are very limited and not generally open to developers like this one.

    In other words, where do these people think that the money to build this project is going to come from? Do they think the developer is supposed to donate the building? Not many private developers could afford to do that even if the banks were willing to let them.

    I think it’s great that people in the neighborhood care so much about affordable housing, but if the Gazette is going to cover these protests I think they need to spend a little time talking about the reality of the requests that they’re making (and the implausibility of them getting what they’re asking for).

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