Planning Office for Urban Affairs breaks ground on Mattapan development

BOSTON -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley was joined by Gov. Charlie Baker; Bill Grogan, president of the Planning Office for Urban Affairs (POUA); and Donald Alexis, president of Caribbean Integration Community Development, to break ground on Morton Station Village, a mixed-income housing development in Mattapan on May 20.

In 2018, the City of Boston designated the Morton Station Village development team of POUA and CICD as the developers of the former Boston Police Station. The over 34,000-square-foot property had been vacant for decades and, following a collaborative process with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston, and the community, the property will be transformed into 40 new homes as well as publicly accessible open and green space.

"The Baker-Polito administration is pleased to support this project, which leverages new state programs and funding to increase mixed-income rental and affordable homeownership development in every corner of the Commonwealth," said Gov. Baker. "Right now, we have an opportunity to invest substantial federal resources into housing production, and Morton Station Village is a model for how we can work together to address the housing crisis, increase access to public transit, and ensure Massachusetts remains a great place to work and live."

"Our communities will be strongest when they show respect for the dignity of all people," said Cardinal O'Malley. "The Morton Station Village demonstrates respect for its future residents who have a right to live in safe affordable housing in Mattapan. Thank you to the state, the city, the Planning Office, and all the other partners who collaborated to create Morton Street Village. We can all look forward to the opening when residents and owners will make this new community their home."

The new development will boast 40 units of mixed-income, mixed-tenure housing -- 28 rental apartments and 12 affordable homeownership units -- will be built in a four-story building that will provide much-needed housing for a diverse range of households, with incomes from 30 percent to 100 percent of the area median income.

Located adjacent to the Morton Station MBTA Fairmount Line station at 872 Morton Street in Mattapan, Morton Station Village not only provides critically needed affordable rental and homeownership housing opportunities but also re-activates a long-vacant site. Morton Station Village will also include significant community space that will be connected to a unique feature -- the creation of a new passive Boston Parks' Department-designed public space to be known as the Steven P. Odom Serenity Garden.

Morton Station Village is being developed through a partnership between Planning Office for Urban Affairs and the Caribbean Integration Community Development, Inc., a new, emerging BIPOC-led community development corporation that serves underrepresented communities, that were designated developers by the City of Boston for this publicly-owned land. The joint venture supports equitable community development by providing financial and technical expertise necessary to increase organizational capacity as they develop the project in Mattapan, a diverse Boston neighborhood with a significant population of Haitians, Caribbean immigrants, and African Americans. The project, which will provide residents with wealth building and financial self-sufficiency opportunities, is an example of how affordable housing development can advance racial equity.

"Creating a mixed-income housing development in such a diverse community and neighborhood of Boston, with limited affordable rental and homeownership housing options, is a critical step in serving the underserved and most vulnerable in our community," said Grogan. "We're grateful to the Commonwealth, the city, and all of our partners who helped make this possible."

Alexis, the president of Caribbean Integration Community Development, noted the impact the new development will have on the community.

"In a few short months, we will witness the transformation of this location, from a former police station, which has become a desolate and dreary eyesore, into homes for 40 individuals and families; a 1,500-square-foot room for the community to share; and 9,000 square feet of open space for the Steven P. Odom Serenity Garden," Alexis said.

"Our new neighbors living here in Morton Station Village will have a place to call home, because they will not be priced out of the local market. They will live here, commute easily from here, play here and shop here. Their dreams are our dreams, and I am pleased to be playing a small part in that reality," he added.

Financing for Morton Station Village includes funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and MassHousing; the City of Boston Neighborhood Housing Trust and the Mayor's Office of Housing; Bank of America Merrill Lynch; and the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation.

Morton Station Village will be completed in the Fall of 2023. In accordance with the City of Boston's Green Affordable Housing Program, Morton Station Village will include energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, as well as Energy Star-rated appliances, and will have environmentally-friendly design features throughout. Morton Station Village is located near shopping centers; a variety of cultural and outdoor amenities, including Franklin Park and the Mattapan Dorchester rail trail; and the Blue Hill Avenue commuter rail stop. The new building will boast an elevator for accessibility, central air, an on-site laundry facility, a large community space for programming for residents on the first floor, and a courtyard with green space.