Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Awards 2019 Winner: The Watson

The Watson represents a major urban place-making initiative developed on the site of a long-vacant office building adjacent to a largely dormant, ship-building complex facility. The development is a truly inclusive community that integrates low-, moderate- and higher-income renters under one roof.

Amenities include a bike storage room for residents, yoga/fitness studio, gym, mailroom & package locker, conference room, leasing office and back-of-house spaces. There is a network café with coffee bar, a clubroom with a chef’s kitchen, pool table and shuffleboard table. Directly adjacent to the clubroom is an expansive 7,000 square foot outdoor space that includes several gathering areas and grill stations.

The development will be both Enterprise Green Communities and Energy Star certified. These certification paths set strict standards for project design, from the building envelope details and MEP systems to finishes and appliances. Designing and building a high performance building will avoid harmful greenhouse gas emissions while also reducing energy expenses for residents. The Watson’s sustainable features include high efficiency heating and hot water systems, low flow plumbing fixtures, and Nest thermostats for remote monitoring and control. Final Rate energy modeling of representative apartments at The Watson exceeded energy code, meaning the typical apartment at The Watson is approximately 30% better in terms of energy performance than the average home.

The Watson is a model mixed-income development whose success hinged entirely on the collaborative efforts of public and private partners to devise an innovative financing structure. In fact, the $7 million in workforce housing soft debt committed by MassHousing to support the construction of the Watson is the single-largest allocation of Workforce Housing Initiative funds since the state’s “affordable housing bank” launched. The Watson is the only project in MassHousing’s portfolio to meet the challenge of successfully combining workforce housing funds and HDIP tax credits.

Location: Quincy, MA
Developer & Owner: WinnCompanies and NeighborWorks Southern Massachusetts

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