JPNDC brainstorms for affordable Heath St. project

JACKSON SQ.—Community members helped to brainstorm ideas for an affordable rental housing project proposed for 10 City-owned parcels along Heath Street at a Nov. 12 meeting organized by two nonprofit developers.

The Back of the Hill Community Development Corporation (BOTH CDC) and the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) will bid on 10 City-owned parcels on Heath Street,” for sure,” JPNDC spokesperson Sally Swenson told the Gazette.

The organizations previously co-developed the Back of the Hill housing. The JPNDC is also a partner in the massive redevelopment of properties around the Jackson Square T Station.

About a dozen people attended the Nov. 12 meeting held nearby at the Family Service of Greater Boston headquarters.

Consensus from meeting attendees was for a building no more than five stories tall. They also wanted no public space—such as a park or garden—and making sure windows were oriented to protect residents’ privacy and security.

Other concerns voiced at the meeting included traffic volume, the need for an elevator in a multi-story building, and what amenities future residents might like. Some attendees supported including ground-level commercial space, while others were against the idea.

The developers said they will propose a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units of “good size”—that is, at least 750 square feet for a one-bedroom, 900 square feet for a two-bedroom and 1,200 square feet for a three-bedroom. The sample distribution they presented was for 40 units.

The City’s Department of Neighborhood Development has held three community meetings and a site tour about the contiguous parcels at 9-21 Bromley St., 894-908 Parker St., 58-62 New Heath St. and the parcel at Ward 10, number 02457000. The parcels in question total almost 29,000 square feet.

Maximizing profits is “not what we’re about,” BOTH CDC board member Richard Giordano said at the meeting. “The more we put into [design and preparation] now, the better chance for us to get chosen” by the City, he said.

A follow-up meeting is scheduled for Dec. 2. The completed proposal application is due to the City on Dec. 22.

Information on the project and City meeting minutes are available at bit.ly/BOSdndNewHeath. The complete RFP package is available at cityofboston.gov/dnd/rfp.

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