Demolition crews came and knocked down homes and businesses in Boston’s Jackson Square neighborhood more than 40 years ago, leaving sections of the area vacant or underutilized.
Decades removed from the failed highway project that scarred the neighborhood, new major housing developments are finally bringing fresh hope to the area.
The change can be seen in the recent opening of 225 Centre, the first phase of an ambitious 14-building, transit-oriented $250 million redevelopment of the Jackson Square community that will reconnect Boston’s Jamaica Plain and Roxbury neighborhoods.
Officials marked not only the opening of this first building but the start of the second project, Jackson Commons. 225 Centre features 103 apartments, including 35 affordable units and 16,000 square feet of commercial space. Developed by The Community Builders (TCB) and Mitchell Properties, the new community is just steps away from the Jackson Square MBTA station. Of the 35 affordable apartments designated, 25 are reserved for residents making up to 60 percent of area median income (AMI), and 10 are reserved for extremely low-income families.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the first completed project at Jackson Square with our partners and the community,” said Bart Mitchell, president and CEO of TCB, in a statement. “225 Centre and the other buildings in the Jackson Square master plan provide mixed-income apartments and commercial space that will be instrumental to spur economic development and help reconnect the Jamaica Plain and Roxbury neighborhoods.”
Financing for the $52 million project includes $2.3 million in state-issued low-income housing tax credits, $2 million in state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) program subsidies, and $503,988 in federal low-income housing tax credits.
Jackson Commons, the second development, is being developed by Urban Edge. The project will include the adaptive reuse and gut renovation of the existing 100-year-old, three-story Webb Building, as well as a newly-constructed four-story addition. Once complete, Jackson Commons will consist of 37 mixed-income rental apartments and approximately 13,000 square feet on the ground floor that will function as Urban Edge offices and a Neighborhood Learning Center. In addition, approximately 2,000 square feet of space on the ground floor will be rentable to retailers or other nonprofit organizations.
“Our start on Jackson Commons, affordable housing on the site of the former headquarters of Urban Edge, signifies the realization of our vision and the longtime dreams of the community,” said Chrystal Kornegay, president and CEO of Urban Edge, a nonprofit community development corporation. “The completion of 225 Centre across the street is proof for all that Jackson Square is here.”
The Jackson Commons project received financing from DHCD, the city of Boston, Boston Redevelopment Authority, and the Massachusetts Historic Commission. Urban Edge was also awarded Brownsfield Redevelopment Funds from MassDevelopment that will go toward environmental remediation and infrastructure work.
Once construction is complete, the new Jackson Square will include more than 430 units of housing (half of which will be affordable), 60,000 square feet of retail space,13,000 square feet of office space and 50,000 square feet of much-needed community facilities. Additionally, the master plan was certified silver by the U.S. Green Building Council under the LEED for Neighborhood Development pilot program. It is the first silver certified plan in the Northeastern United States.