Big Green Mission Hill Development Underway

Construction began yesterday, Monday the 29th, at Mission Hill’s Terrace St. for a new mixed-income housing development, The Oliver Lofts. The project involves the $25 million renovation of three historic mill buildings that have been vacant for 25 years. The buildings, former homes to The Highland Springs Brewery, The Oliver Ditson Music Publishing Company, The Croft Brewery, and The R&S Pickle Factory, are two, four, and five stories respectively, and will be converted into 62 new units of mixed-income, LEED-Silver housing including 12 one-bedroom units, 39 two-bedroom units, 8 two-bedroom duplexes, and three artist live-work spaces.

This latest residential development in Boston is really exciting for a few reasons:

1- The buildings themselves are just so cool. I mean, we’re talking about practically ancient mills that have been vacant for more than two decades being converted into affordable residencies. And these ancient buildings are being renovated to LEED-Silver “green” certification standards, that’s just incredible.

2- Not only are the buildings cool, but in the words of our fine Mayor, Mr. Menino, who visited the site on its first day of construction, ” [The development] marks an important step in realizing the community’s vision for activating Terrace Street as a gateway between Roxbury Crossing and the Back of the Hill.” With a few more developments, Terrace Street could become a hotspot for local happenings as well as an easy way to move from Roxbury to Mission Hill.

3- The majority of the residences that the project will provide are reserved for lower-income families and individuals. To quote CityBizList, “[Three] artist live-work spaces [will be] available to artists with incomes at or below 100% of Area Median Income (AMI). Thirty-five of the homes will be available to households earning 60% or less of AMI, and eight of the units will be set aside for the formerly homeless who have an income at or below 30% of AMI, made possible by an award of project based vouchers from the Boston Housing Authority. In addition, 16 units will be unrestricted.” This is clearly a great community-improvement development project for an area with a mix of lower to middle income families.

4- The project came together with the help of the community and multiple organizations, despite having the deck stacked against them. The project received $750,000 directly from the city of Boston as well as $2.5 million from the State Department of Housing and Community Development and the Affordable Housing Trust. The developers, Winn Development, were able to secure Low Income Housing Tax Credits through DHCD as well as Historic Tax Credits through the Massachusetts Historic Commission and the National Park Service. The community played a big part too, as mentioned by the Mayor, “The Oliver Lofts development is the result of a lot of hard work and patience on the part of the community and development team. I want to congratulate the folks who participated in the Terrace Street Corridor Planning Initiative, as well as WinnDevelopment and The Architectural Team, for helping to move this important project forward.” It’s always nice when the people take part and have a say in what’s being developed in their community…

The project will use high efficiency heating and cooling systems fixtures as well as Energy Star rated appliances in an effort to receive LEED-housing Silver certification as well as meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star standards. The project is also set to be completed by July of 2011, and is expected to create over 100 new jobs. All things considered, maybe we can expect to see The Oliver Lofts nominated as a finalist in next year’s ULI Awards for Excellence in The Americas?

Think this sounds like a cool area to live? Check out some listings around Mission Hill on CondoDomain, and get a feel for price, location, and the community.

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