Developer:Beacon Communities Development LLC,in partnership with Boston Housing Authority

Architect: The Architectural Team, Inc.

Major Funders: WNC & Associates, Inc.; Department of Housing and Urban Development; Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development; MassHousing; Community Economic Development Assistance Corp.; city of Boston; Nationwide Life Insurance Co.

Beacon Communities Development and the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) have started the transformation of Old Colony, one of the oldest public housing projects in the United States. Built in 1941, the project was comprised of super blocks of barrack-style buildings that isolated residents from the broader community. It had become a symbol of poor housing conditions, and the community saw an increase in crime.

The BHA worked to create a master plan for the new South Boston community, locating new streets and identifying new building types to create better cohesion between the housing community and the surrounding neighborhood.

Beacon completed the first phase of 116 units in December 2011. It demolished seven dilapidated structures to create four groups of townhome buildings and a six-story mid-rise building. All of the units are set aside for households earning less than 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). Of these, 10 percent are set aside for households earning less than 30 percent of the AMI.

The project, which is designed to be LEED-Platinum, also includes a photovoltaic system, which will generate significant electricity for the community.

“Even more than the physical transformation is the impact that it's had on the lives of the people who live there,” says Beacon President Pamela Goodman.

The $56.4 million project, which includes the Tierney Learning Center, was financed with a $19.2 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant as well as federal and state low-income housing tax credits and other city and state resources.