Mayor Menino, the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center Celebrate the Groundbreaking for the $33M Hong Lok House Renovation
Elderly Housing Development to Expand with ‘Green’ Efficiencies,
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For Immediate Release
August 04, 2011
Released By:
Neighborhood Development
For More Information Contact:
Kerry O'Brien
kobrien.dnd@cityofboston.gov

 Mayor Thomas M. Menino today joined the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center (GBCGAC) and Rogerson Communities to celebrate the groundbreaking for the Hong Lok House.  The $33 million renovation and expansion project will greatly improve services to the city’s low-income senior population with 74 new apartments as well as common area living spaces and an adult day health program staffed by the GBCGAC.   The GBCGAC serves approximately 1,200 low income seniors daily in Chinatown.  The development, which the City of Boston and Boston Redevelopment Authority contributed approximately $10 million, will generate an estimated 50-75 construction jobs and is expected to be complete in September 2013.

“I’m proud that this project will preserve affordable housing for our elderly community, offering residents convenient access to the services they need in a sustainable place that they are proud to call home,” Mayor Menino said.  “I want to congratulate The Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center for having provided housing stability to our senior citizens since 1972 – that’s an incredible contribution to our community.”

The existing Hong Lok House contains 28 substandard and outdated HUD Section 202 units, which are covered by a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract.  Construction will be conducted in two phases to avoid temporary off-site relocation of the existing residents.  Existing residents will move into the 33-unit first phase at which point the existing building will be demolished except for the façade, and construction of the 42-unit second phase will begin.

In addition to the preservation of the Hong Lok House façade, plans for the development include preservation of a significantly deteriorated structure at 15-17 Essex Street and reuse of its interior elements; re-assembly of a second historic façade that has been stored from a former structure at 11-13 Essex Street; and construction of an entirely new building behind and between the two facades on vacant land. The vacant land located at 19-21 Essex Street will be bridged over by the development to provide access to the rear portion of the site and an alleyway known as Hersey Place will be closed and built upon. 

All of the housing units will be affordable to households earning at or below 50% average median income (AMI). The building will consist of 38 studio and 37 one-bedroom apartments with the exception of one manager’s unit. Eight of the units will be set-aside for homeless households earning at or below 30% AMI. All units will be universally adaptable to elderly occupants and four units are fully handicap accessible.  

This project received overwhelming support from the community, local businesses and nonprofit organizations. The development also presented an opportunity to rebuild and preserve a portion of Boston’s Chinatown community. The project will bring the entire site back to productive use and meet the affordable housing and supportive neighborhood needs of seniors, without resident displacement or the loss of valuable housing units currently at risk. The project will also preserve the existing Hong Lok House at 25-31 Essex Street and adjacent sites at 11-21 Essex Street in the Liberty Tree Historic District.

Total development costs for this project are $33,016,202. With a $10,626,272 investment by the City of Boston and the BRA, $5,214,861 from the State, $10,016,069 leveraged from private funding (LIHTC equity, Developer Fee and HUD funds) and $4,159,000 in other private donations and foundation dollars.

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On August 4, Mayor Menino and DND Director Evelyn Friedman broke ground on the $33 million renovation and expansion project in Chinatown.

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