The project features affordable housing, an artist studio, and a new space for Haley House Bakery and Café.
A new mixed-use and transit-oriented development with a focus on affordable housing is coming to Nubian Square in the coming years.
“The building itself is pretty exciting and it’s a great addition to Nubian Square,” Joe Backer, a senior development officer with the neighborhood housing development team at the city’s Office of Housing, told Boston.com.
The building will be a mix of retail, cultural and entertainment spaces, with the upper levels of the building reserved for residential spaces, with construction to be completed in spring 2024, Backer said.
“There will be a couple of retail spaces on the ground floor, including a new cafe for Haley House, which is currently on the site and basically acted as a development partner when this project was conceived,” he said. “It’s really exciting that such an important community asset gets a new cafe space right up the street because they’re now located in that parking lot.”
Haley House Bakery has been operating in Nubian Square since 2005, but operations were halted for construction. Haley House Bakery and Café will occupy a 2,000-square-foot space in the new development.
Of the total 74 housing units in the building, 62 will be rental apartments and all of them will be “permanently affordable,” meaning they will be available to people with incomes between 30% and 80% of the area median income. Eight of those units in the lowest income level will be set aside to house people who have been homeless.
The remaining 12 units are condominiums that will be for sale. Eight of those units will be income restricted for 50 years, Backer said: Four units will be available to households earning 100% of the area median income and four will be available to households earning 70% of the area median income. The last four will be at market price.
A big part of the community process behind the Nubian Plan, the overall plan that this development falls under, was artist-focused development. Preference will be given to Boston-area artists for half of the rental units and for all homeownership units. The development also features a 4,100-square-foot artists’ studio, open to residents and the community.
“We have a long history of supporting affordable housing projects that include a focus on artists,” Backer said. “In those cases, we work very hard to make sure we balance affordability considerations with artist workspace considerations so that the entire building works as it should.”
The new development is 99,602 square feet and is located at 2147 Washington St. in Nubian Square.
“This is city-owned land and there are a handful of them in and around Nubian Square and, I think, starting in 2016, we embarked on a really deep community process to define what those sites could be used for. and then issue requests for proposals,” Backer said. “This is the first of that process that has entered construction for more than six years.”
Construction began in the spring of this year, after years of discussion and planning. In 2016, the general plan began with a process to define community goals for some city-owned parcels. Then, in 2018, the request for proposals was submitted, and the proposals received went through a community review process in 2019. From then until the grand opening, the team pieced together the details of the development, Backer said.
“It’s really exciting that it’s going to be an almost totally affordable building with rental and homeownership opportunities, all this support for artists, and at the end of the day, it’s going to fill a huge void on the street where a parking lot had just been,” he said. “I think everyone agreed that this was a better use of the land, it was housing people and having all this support for artists and a lot of other things that come with that as well.”
This development is a partnership between New Atlantic Development and the DREAM Collaborative.
“There was always a huge focus on art and artists because of the history of Dudley Square and what it meant to the artist community in Boston, so it was always the foundation of what people wanted,” Backer said. “What they were really making clear that they wanted on these sites was affordable housing, an emphasis on arts and culture where possible, and then using these developments as a way to encourage local residents, local businesses.”
That goal of encouraging local people extends to the development and construction process, as well as the building’s permanent occupancy, Backer said.
“This project exemplifies our commitment to building inclusive and equitable places for all people. We have very ambitious goals for developing performance, as well as an emphasis on supporting local artists and small businesses and of course being a great place to live for residents,” said Greg Minott, CEO of the DREAM Collaborative and DREAM Development, in a press release. release.
There is an emphasis on recruiting and hiring a diverse group of people for this development, Backer said. Submissions were required to include a plan for minority outreach, with the goal of creating opportunities for people of color, women, and minority- and women-owned businesses, according to a news release.
“As someone who works on a lot of different projects around the city, this one has always stood out and Plan Nubian has always stood out as a very community-focused effort, especially when you look at how we bring in community members to really evaluate the proposals. and make recommendations on which teams and which project should be selected for each site,” Backer said. “It was a really cool thing to be a part of, and I think it made a huge difference in the quality of the projects.”
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