For Immediate Release - December 07, 2016

Undersecretary Kornegay and Mayor Walsh Break Ground on the Redevelopment of Orient Heights in East Boston

Public-private partnership will modernize and preserve 331 units of obsolete public housing, and create an additional 42 market-rate housing units

Boston – December 7, 2016 – Today Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay joined Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the East Boston Community Development Corporation, the Orient Heights Local Tenant Organization, and the real estate development firm Trinity Financial to break ground at the first phase of the redevelopment of Boston Housing Authority’s Orient Heights public housing community in East Boston.

Phase one of the redevelopment project will demolish four existing buildings containing 90 housing units, and construct 120 new units of affordable housing. Additional phases of demolition and redevelopment will follow. The full Orient Heights Redevelopment Project will replace all 331 state-aided public housing units on the site, replacing them with a total of 373 new mixed-income housing units.

“Every resident in Massachusetts deserves the opportunity to live in housing that is safe, affordable and modernized, and redeveloping Orient Heights is an important step forward for this community,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I congratulate the City of Boston for embracing efforts to modernize its public housing stock and look forward to seeing the benefits this transformation will bring to the entire neighborhood.”

“Strong neighborhoods are the building blocks of strong cities and towns, and this redevelopment project will further knit together the Orient Heights development with the rest of East Boston,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The public-private collaboration between DHCD, the Boston Housing Authority, the East Boston Community Development Corporation, and Trinity Financial will create a housing development that will bring much-needed updates for residents, while preserving every unit of affordable housing on-site.”

“I am grateful to join with our state and community partners as we celebrate the beginning of a new era for the Orient Heights housing development,” said Mayor Walsh. “This public housing facility has been the home of many families for decades, and I am proud that with the support of our state and federal partners we are revitalizing current facilities, while creating new living spaces for future residents.”

The Orient Heights development was initially built in the 1950s, and was last updated in the 1990s. The Boston Housing Authority has identified the property as obsolete. The redevelopment project will create a new community of energy-efficient, code-compliant housing, in a mix of midrise and townhouse buildings. The redevelopment will also create new parking and green space, and open the site to the surrounding neighborhood.

The Department of Housing and Community Development is supporting the first phase of the Orient Heights redevelopment with $33 million in capital subsidies. The project also received $1 million in subsidies from the City of Boston, as well as Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, rental subsidies from DHCD, and construction financing from MassHousing. The multi-phase plan also allows for future construction of market-rate and mixed-income housing. 

“Across the Commonwealth, we are making significant investments and working creatively to update and preserve state-funded housing units,” said Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay. “Our administration is proud to support projects like this that ensure affordability, and create communities that are inclusive, vibrant and strengthen their surrounding neighborhoods.”

“Over the past 15 years, MassHousing has worked in partnership with the BHA to revitalize close to 2,000 units of its most physically distressed rental units in the city and transformed housing communities like Maverick Landing, Franklin Hill, Washington Beech, Old Colony, Lower Mills, Heritage and now at Orient Heights, into modern, mixed-income communities for the residents of Boston,’’ said MassHousing Executive Director Tim Sullivan. “We are very pleased to be working with the city of Boston, DHCD, Trinity Financial, and all the public and private partners who are committed to the redevelopment of Orient Heights.’’

“Phase one is the start of a long overdue modernization of the Orient Heights housing development,” said Senator Joseph Boncore. “As we break ground, this project will ensure needed affordable and safe housing in a growing East Boston community.”

“I am excited about this collaborative effort that will bring much needed investment and improvement to Orient Heights, said Representative Adrian Madaro. “This project will not only be transformative for residents of the development, but for the entire East Boston community. I thank Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh for making this a priority and I look forward to seeing it become a reality.”

“We’re thrilled to begin Phase One of the Orient Heights development,” said Trinity Financial Vice President of Development Eva Erlich. “The multi-phased project will help deliver the type of housing the East Boston community needs: housing that is affordable, energy efficient, accessible, and integrated with the rest of the East Boston community. Phase One will also result in updates and improved housing for the residents in the initial 90 units. We’re looking forward to working with our partners to create a development that the entire community can benefit from.”

Investments in affordable housing developments and renovations reflect the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to ensuring that residents have access to affordable housing throughout Massachusetts. In May, the administration unveiled a 5-year capital budget plan that includes a $1.1 billion commitment to increasing housing production, an 18 percent funding increase for mixed-income housing production, and affordable housing preservation. In May, the Administration and MassHousing committed $100 million, to support the construction of 1,000 new workforce housing units. Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has provided funding to create and preserve 2,976 units of affordable housing, including 874 deeply affordable units for at-risk populations.