Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker today marked the completion of Phase Two of Overlook Terrace at Orient Heights with a virtual ‘ribbon cutting’ event – joining the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and the development team of Trinity Financial and the East Boston Community Development Corporation.

Phase Two of the project involved the demolition of 87 original units in four buildings and the new construction of 88 State Public Housing rental units in a combination of apartment style and townhouse homes. The Phase Two property, which also includes new community and open spaces and play areas, achieved LEED Gold certifiability for sustainability and energy efficiency. 

Orient Heights

Photo credit: Anthony Crisafulli, Trinity Financial

“The Orient Heights development is a great Boston story,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “We brought lots of partners together, we got creative sourcing funding, and we harnessed the economic strength of our city to create powerful opportunities for working families. I congratulate everyone involved in the financing, design and construction. I thank the tenants for their patience and input, and the BHA for working with them on relocation and return.”

“I’m pleased to celebrate the completion of Phase II of Overlook Terrace at Orient Heights, preserving hundreds of affordable units for Boston residents,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Thank you to Mayor Walsh, the Boston Housing Authority and all the partners that worked together with our administration to make this project possible.”

Originally built in 1951, the 331-unit Orient Heights state public housing community has become physically distressed over the years. For the past five years, BHA, DHCD, and the residents of Orient Heights have been working with the development team to transform the community. Phase One of the redeveloped Overlook Terrace at Orient Heights, which was completed in 2018, included the construction of 120 units of new replacement state public housing. The total development investment in Phase One was of approximately $51.2 million, including affordable housing resources from the City of Boston, and funds raised through an allocation of federal 4 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits; tax-exempt bonds for construction financing; state public housing capital funds from BHA and DHCD.

Phase Two, being celebrated today, was made possible with $10 million from the City of Boston, including the proceeds from the sale of the Winthrop Street Garage as well as Inclusionary Development Policy funds secured from Article 80 development projects in East Boston. Financing for Phase Two was also provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s DHCD, the BHA, MassWorks, MassHousing, RBC Capital Markets, and Citizens Bank. 

As part of the upcoming FY22 Capital Plan, Mayor Walsh is committing another $19 million for Phase Three, which is anticipated to complete the replacement and modernization of the remaining 123 units in order to achieve a one-for-one replacement of the original 331-units, and is projected to commence in 2021. 

“Orient Heights has been a vital housing resource for low-income families in East Boston for almost 70 years. With these new units we are building a future for our residents,” said BHA Administrator Kate Bennett. “The work we’re doing today will secure a vibrant, stable home for hundreds of families at Orient Heights for decades to come.”

The BHA, which has owned and managed the Orient Heights public housing development since its original construction in the 1950s, undertook a planning process in 2008 with the support of DHCD to consider redevelopment options for the community. In January 2015, with an award of funding from DHCD, the BHA selected the development team of Trinity Financial and East Boston CDC to work with both agencies and the residents of the Orient Heights community to finalize a redevelopment strategy. In partnership with the BHA and DHCD, the development team secured financing to implement the redevelopment, and will own and manage the buildings post-redevelopment. The BHA will continue to own the land and will lease the land to Trinity.  

“This property is a critical part of the BHA’s portfolio in meeting the City of Boston’s affordable housing needs. It has been a privilege to be part of such a collaborative public-private partnership with our colleagues at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston, the Boston Housing Authority, East Boston CDC, the Orient Heights residents, and our colleagues in finance and development to see this second phase through to completion.” said Eva Erlich, Vice President, Development with Trinity Financial. “We’re thrilled to be marking this milestone for Phase Two, and look forward to completing the full transformation with the third and final phase.  “

Since January of 2015, BHA and the development team have held public meetings with residents and the neighborhood, regular meetings with the Local Tenant Organization and various meetings with City and State officials. The redevelopment effort has been supported by a local community that recognizes Orient Heights as an integral part of the neighborhood. BHA, Trinity, and the East Boston CDC will continue to meet with public housing residents and neighbors in the broader community on an on-going basis throughout the remaining stages of redevelopment.

Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston have dedicated substantial resources to redevelopment efforts at BHA Public Housing sites across the city. In addition to the city’s $10 million investment for Orient Heights Phase Two, Mayor Walsh has invested $6.5 million to redevelop the Whittier Public Housing Development in Roxbury, $30 million for a future redevelopment of the Bunker Hill Public Housing Development in Charlestown, $25 million to Anne Lynch Homes at Old Colony in South Boston, and $5 million this year to kickstart renovation efforts for BHA Public Housing for seniors and residents with disabilities across the city.

Since the implementation of the Mayor Walsh’s housing plan in 2014, 23,000 new units of housing have been completed. With an additional 9,700 units currently under construction, the City has secured housing for an estimated 45,600 residents, making significant progress in meeting Boston’s rapid population growth. 

ABOUT THE BOSTON HOUSING AUTHORITY
The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) is a public agency that provides subsidized housing to low and moderate income individuals and families. In addition to conventional public housing communities throughout Boston, BHA offers rental assistance programs. BHA receives federal and state funding in order to provide housing programs to individuals and families. BHA’s mission is to provide stable, quality affordable housing for low and moderate income persons; to deliver these services with integrity and mutual accountability; and to create living environments which serve as catalysts for the transformation from dependency to economic self-sufficiency.

ABOUT TRINITY FINANCIAL
Trinity Financial is a community-driven, diverse real estate development firm with a proven-track record of redeveloping complex urban sites from New York to Greater Boston. Our work spans half a dozen residential and commercial specialties, from multi-family housing to transit-oriented development. Over the past 30 years Trinity has completed more than $3 billion in innovative development, delivering high quality, sustainable, multi-family housing, ranging from affordable to luxury – all with a commitment to people and place. For more information about Trinity Financial, please visit www.trinityfinancial.com.

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Contact Department: Housing Authority

Publish Date: Thu, 11/12/2020 – 3:12pm

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