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Affordable Housing Comes Downtown

Boston Multifamily

Amid the flood of new downtown luxury housing, the $170M One Greenway stands out because 40% of its 363 units will be affordable, a fact celebrated at its groundbreaking yesterday. (The ground wasn't celebrating.)


Sitting between the Greenway and Chinatown, the two-building complex is a JV between New Boston Fund’s Urban Strategies America Fund and the Asian Community Development Corp, says Urban Strategies’ prez Kirk Sykes (right with NBF’s Jerry Rappaport Sr). It’s rare to have so many lower-priced units on a prime downtown site, he says. For a commercial developer to do the project in collaboration with state and city entities, and a non-profit partner, could make it a national model for creating the lower-priced housing the country sorely needs, he adds. 


But developing a mixed-income property amid rising construction costs makes it challenging to get the numbers to work, says NBF VP of development Sean Sacks (right). The deal structure adds another layer of complexity. There are five lenders, three equity sources and over a dozen public funding sources. (Having too many cooks historically causes problem for broth, although this is a building not soup.) But, for Chinatown residents who have been trying to redevelop housing here since many homes were taken by eminent domain for Southeast Expressway construction in the ‘60s, One Greenway is well worth the effort.


The site became available when the X-way was demolished for the Big Dig. The 21-story North Building, slated for completion next spring, will have 312 rental apartments, parking for 135 vehicles, and a public park. The South Building is designed as 51 affordable ownership units. Project financing is 75% private; 25% public. Rent for a market-rate one-bedroom will start at approximately $3,000/month. Prices for the affordable units will be tied to residents’ income and Sean expects at least 10 applicants for each home.