Local, State and Federal Officials Celebrate Completion of Washington Beech Housing Redevelopment
Project made possible through a public/private partnership using federal HOPE VI and ARRA funding, creating 400 full time jobs
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For Immediate Release
December 13, 2011
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Press.Office@cityofboston.gov

Today, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assistant Secretary Sandra Henriquez, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki, and Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Administrator William McGonagle cut the ribbon to celebrate the completion of the redevelopment of the Washington Beech public housing development in Roslindale.

Under this redevelopment effort, the original 266 units of housing at Washington Beech were demolished and replaced with 206 onsite affordable rental units and 136 offsite affordable housing opportunities.

“It was a year and a half ago when I toured the new homes and community and was amazed at the stunning transformation of Washington Beech,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Sandra B. Henriquez. “I am pleased to join Mayor Menino again to mark this great day for the city, this neighborhood, and most importantly, for the residents who endured the hard times here, but now have a beautiful community to call home.  This is another shining example of what programs like HOPE VI, and now Choice Neighborhoods, can do for families and an entire community.”

“This project has been a wonderful opportunity for all of Roslindale,” Mayor Menino said. “The City of Boston has been committed to renovating the site, creating jobs and building green, affordable, smoke-free housing. I am proud to say that we accomplished our goals well ahead of deadline and will be able to provide hundreds of residents much needed affordable housing during such a tough economy. I want to thank Senator John Kerry as well as Congressmen Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch for their continued support of this project.”

“This redevelopment project is a remarkable opportunity for the City of Boston, the Roslindale community and the Commonwealth as a whole,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Our administration will continue to invest in providing affordable housing to help support our residents and make our communities stronger.”

Trinity Financial, Inc. served as developer to completely demolish and rebuild the development through a public/private partnership using federal HOPE VI grants, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, and a tax credit and subsidy resources provided by the state’s Department of Housing and Economic Development. The project, which took three and a half years to complete, was delivered one year ahead of its HUD-mandated deadline.

The Washington Beech Redevelopment project cost approximately $100 million, and was funded through $20 million of federal HOPE VI funds and $10 million through federal ARRA funding. The project was also supported through funding from the City of Boston, which provided assistance through the Neighborhood Housing Trust Program, Boston Redevelopment Authority, Department of Public Works, Department of Neighborhood Development, and the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. To support the development, the Patrick-Murray Administration, through the Department of Housing and Community Development, allocated more than $5.5 million low-income housing tax credits and $7 million in affordable housing subsidy through the HOME program, Housing Stabilization Fund and Affordable Housing Trust. In total, the entire redevelopment effort created more than 400 full time jobs.

“The Patrick-Murray Administration continues to invest in projects like the redevelopment of Washington Beech that provide the Commonwealth with sustainable, affordable housing for those residents who need it while creating jobs,” said Secretary Bialecki. “I am honored to be here today to celebrate this tremendous opportunity for the Roslindale community.”

Construction of Washington Beech occurred in two stages to accommodate the relocation and re-housing of existing residents. Residents began relocation out of the first phase buildings in the summer of 2008. Phase One construction began in May 2009 and the 100 new apartments were occupied by July of 2010. Phase Two construction of 106 rental apartments began in September 2010 and was completed this year.  Phase Two also includes a half-acre park.

“Washington Beech is a model for what public housing can be,” said BHA Administrator McGonagle. “Improving our residents’ environment is the first step to improving their lives and getting them on a path to self-sufficiency.”

Washington Beech’s new site design reduces density to be more in keeping with the surrounding neighborhood. The institutional walk-ups have been replaced with a variety of building types including a low-rise elevator building, small garden apartments, duplexes over flats, and townhouses. New private roads were built so that all unit entries front on a street and residents can park nearby. A central green space with play facilities and park benches was also built for residents and the surrounding community to enjoy

The affordable units were constructed using green principles and technology, allowing for maximum energy efficiency at the site. All residential units and community spaces have been built to exceed Energy Star standards, including such features as ultra-low-flow toilets, condensing boilers for heating and hot water, and light stat thermostats for night setbacks. These features have put Washington Beech on course to attain LEED gold certification.

Another significant initiative at Washington Beech has been a resident-led campaign to promote health and well-being. With financial support from Health Resources in Action (formerly The Medical Foundation) and guidance from the Boston Public Health Commission and other local agencies, residents formed the Washington Beech Smoke-Free Committee. Through education events, door-to-door visits, flyers, and brochures, the Smoke-Free committee has sustained a community-wide conversation about the dangers of smoking. All of the new units at Washington Beech are smoke-free. As an addendum to the lease, residents will no longer be able to smoke in their apartments or any on-site buildings. Doing so could be considered a violation of the lease.

The redevelopment also includes a comprehensive Community and Supportive Services program which includes job readiness training, computer training, English language classes and health services among other things. Intensive case management and a coordinated service referral program will form the cornerstones of this program. All Washington Beech residents are eligible to participate in these services during the life of the grant.  The program will be housed in the new community center.

Washington Beech residents were given relocation assistance and a variety of choices regarding their relocation which included moving to another BHA development or receiving a tenant-based Section 8 voucher and moving to housing in the private sector. They also reserve the right to return to Washington Beech now that redevelopment is completed.

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Mayor Menino, Rep. Holmes, Boston City Councilor Rob Consalvo and local residents from Washington Beech cut ribbon.

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