Location: Boston, MA
Developer: The Community Builders, Inc.
Partners: Charlesview Inc., Aegon USA Realty Advisors, LLC, MassHousing, CBT Architects, Peabody Properties, John Moriarty & Associates, Housing Opportunities Unlimited, Eastern Bank
Charlesview Residences and Town Homes at Brighton Mills is a 28-building, five city-block development that includes 260 units accompanied by 25,000 square feet of commercial and community space. Residences available include both rental apartments and for-sale townhomes that are targeted at middle-income families. The project replaced a structurally deficient apartment complex as well as the site of a vacant shopping center. Located in a high-cost and high-opportunity area, the Allston-Brighton neighborhood is transit-oriented, diverse, and easily accessible to essential services like hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, and colleges. This highly diverse neighborhood is home to many working class families, and the Charlesview Residences promote both economic and cultural integration, with residents that speak more than a dozen languages, the elderly and disabled with no income alongside households earning six figure salaries.
Creative development tools include transferring the Housing Assistance Payments subsidy as well as executing a land swap with Harvard University that relocated residents to the newly developed site only a half mile away. The Community Builders negotiated a transfer of the project-based Section 8 subsidy initially under Section 318 and then 8bb from the original Charlesview Apartments, built in 1971, to the new landowners. This “porting” of the HAP contract had never been done by the department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) New England region and inspired new guidelines at HUD that made this innovative approach to preservation replicable. Other community features include a new park, community center, retail space and public infrastructure. The HAP Contract porting model was further leveraged with 4% federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC).