The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) Board approved the first phase of the Mildred Hailey mixed-income public housing redevelopment project at its monthly meeting on April 15.
The redevelopment will account for replacing some 253 public housing units now via Section 8 vouchers, in brand new buildings and alongside 420 units of income-restricted housing at a variety of income levels. They would be housed in seven new buildings. The total of 673 units would replace the buildings closest to the Jackson Square T Station, and would also reconstruct the Anna Mae Cole Community Center and add an Anna Mae Cole Outdoor Plaza for gatherings.
There is also about 8,300 sq. ft. of retail space on the ground floors fronting Heath Street and Centre Street for neighborhood retail uses.
Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Director Kate Bennett said they were thrilled to reach another milestone on the project and would be looking forward to starting the project next year.
“We are thrilled to have secured this key City approval for the project, bringing us step closer to bringing new homes to Hailey residents,” she told the Gazette. “I especially want to thank the resident organization for their leadership and partnership in reaching this milestone. We are looking forward to a groundbreaking in 2022.”
The project design has had a lively airing over the last six months at the Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC), with members of the Commission working strongly with the designers to create a better plaza area and a better overall building design as well. The modern-looking buildings in the plan give way to the community center and sprawling outdoor plaza in between the two buildings along the Southwest Corridor Park.
There has been great energy expended to save more of the existing trees within the development, and also to connect the plaza and development more seamlessly to the Southwest Corridor Park and the playground/courts on the other side of it.
The development is a sprawling property between Heath and Centre Streets, and this represents the redevelopment of only a portion of the property. There are no future phases yet planned or contemplated, but there is a desire by BHA to eventually remake the entire development in the same fashion. Any future phases would need BCDC approval and a robust community process as well.
Centre Street Partners – which is made up of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp. (JPNDC), Urban Edge, and The Community Builders (TCB) – are in partnership with the BHA and responded to an RFP some years ago to conduct the redevelopment.