A community meeting was held by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) and the project team on November 5 regarding Phase One of the Mildred Hailey redevelopment project.
The project consists of replacing all 253 public housing units currently on the site with new apartments, as well as adding an additional 437 units at various income levels to create a mixed income development complete with a new 6,8000 square foot Anna Mae Cole community center, around 8,300 square feet of non-residential ground floor space, and 309 parking spaces.
The project team, known as Centre Street Partners, consists of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), The Community Builders (TCB), and Urban Edge, who are working together to make this project a reality.
Giovanny Valenica of the JPNDC said that several meetings have been held specifically with current Mildred Hailey residents so they can get a better understanding of the project and how it will affect them moving forward.
He said that so far, residents have asked for improved safety and security at the site, as well as a more accessible design for all. They would like to see indoor and outdoor community spaces, as well as safer pedestrian connections and reduced car speeds along surrounding roads. Finally, residents said they would like to see an “inclusive design for an integrated mixed-income community,’ according to a slide presented.
Laura Martin of TCB said that key goals of the project aside from replacing the deeply affordable units one for one and adding new affordable apartments are to include “robust community services and programming,” as well as improving the safety of the site and minimizing disruption to current residents. To do so, the project will begin with building on vacant land.
She said that the “majority of residents will only have to move once,” but some will have to move twice.
Buildings 1A and 1B are first to be built, which also includes the new Anna Mae Cole Center. Looking at the project as a whole, the plan is to build seven new residential buildings to replace the seven existing buildings on the site and create a total of about 690 apartments.
According to Martin, the income mix will consist of about 37% deeply affordable units, which are the 253 replacement public housing units, about 25% new affordable units between 50% and 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), about 15% affordable units for residents at 80 and 100% AMI, and about 35% for residents up to approximately 165% AMI.
Some residents asked if more units in the 30% to 60% AMI range could be considered to make the development even more affordable.
Construction will take place from approximately 2022 to 2030, and will include five sub-phases.
Tamara Roy of Stantec, the master planners for the project, explained a little bit about the proposed site plan.
She said that the current apartments “are sort of an island,” and said that they are “hard to move through [and] get from one side to the other.”
To help address this, the team has proposed a new road which will be a connection of Lamartine St. from north to south, as well as connections form the Southwest Corridor between buildings 1A and 1B and from the Jackson Square T stop up to the Stop ad Shop on Centre St. Additionally, there will be a “purely pedestrian” extension and park at the edge of Parker St.
All sidewalks and buildings will be accessible, and clear sight lines for pedestrian pathways will be established and well-lit. All building entrances will also be on main streets to enhance safety. Surface parking lots will be replaced with about 76 on-street parking spaces and about 223 spaces in underground garages, Roy said. There will also be outdoor and covered bicycle parking spaces.
Several residents have expressed their concern about cars speeding down streets, so the project team has proposed raised intersections at certain points to help cars slow down.
The team then went into more detail about buildings 1A and 1B, as they will be the first to be built. Mark Eclipse, a principal at Prellwitz Chilinski Associates, said that the buildings are built around courtyard space that will include a community garden as well as a children’s garden, and in between the two buildings will be a plaza that leads to the Anna Mae Cole Center which will include multiple indoor and outdoor multipurpose spaces for Mildred Hailey residents to utilize.
Buildings 1A and 1B will “utilize passive house design principles,” according to the presentation, and the roofs will be solar-PV ready to contribute to the sustainable design and climate resilience project goals. The buildings will also achieve Article 37 LEED certifiability, and are on track to achieve LEED Gold Certification.
The BPDA and the project team spent more than an hour addressing public comments and concerns as well as answering questions related to factors like safety and affordability, Many current Mildred Hailey residents tuned into the meeting with questions about when they would be able to move into their new units.
More information about the project, including the entire recorded meeting and slideshow presented on November 5, can be found at http://www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/mildred-hailey-phase-one-development. The BPDA is still looking for feedback from residents, and the public comment period ends on November 27.