B’nai B’rith Housing New England will honor the City of Newton on Dec. 6, 2010, for its part in the successful creation of the mixed-income 33Comm housing development project, which today won the Urban Land Institute’s Jack Kemp Workforce Housing Models of Excellence Award.
ULI announced inWashington,D.C., that the award to the Brighton-based affordable housing organization will be made tonight, and B’nai B’rith Housing will hold a reception atNewtonCity Hallat 7 p.m. on Dec. 6 to present the award to Mayor Setti Warren, the Newton Board of Aldermen, and the Newton Community Preservation Committee.
Because of the considerable success of the project, B’nai B’rith Housing is also returning to the city $300,000 of the substantial affordable-housing assistance grant thatNewtonprovided.
The Dec. 6 evening event will begin with a community reception, and Mayor Warren and other officials will be part of a brief speaking program. Immediately following, B’nai B’rith Housing’s Executive Director Susan Gittelman will present the award at the beginning of the evening’s board meeting.
Newtonresidents, neighbors, and community and interfaith leaders who supported the project will join B’nai B’rith Housing New England andNewtonofficials at the celebration.
“We are proud of this accomplishment and are proud of the unique relationship that we built with the City and the community to achieve housing of this quality,” Ms. Gittelman said today.
The Urban Land Institute’s Jack Kemp award recognizes developers who demonstrate leadership and creativity in providing expanded housing opportunities for working families inAmerica. The award recognizes in particular projects that meet workforce housing needs in high-cost communities likeNewton.
“These developments are highly successful in making workforce housing a reality,” said ULI Terwilliger Center Founder J. Ronald Terwilliger, chairman emeritus of Trammell Crow Residential inDallas. “They are making a positive contribution to their communities and are setting an example of what can be achieved with creativity and commitment.”
The Jack Kemp award is named in memory of the former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former U.S. Congressman fromNew Yorkfor whom housing was a priority.
The award is made based on achievements in affordability, proximity to centers of employment and transportation access, quality of design and site planning, involvement of public-private partnerships, use of regulatory reform to reduce costs, energy efficiency, sustainable construction and land use, innovative technologies, and whether the development model can be used again.
“Every day I see clearlyNewton’s pressing need for affordable housing,” said Marina Breydo, a longtimeNewtonresident and social worker. “I am so glad that B’nai B’rith Housing has worked successfully with our City officials to come up with a creative solution.”
The successful 33Comm housing development, at27-29 Commonwealth Ave.and35 Commonwealth Ave.in Chestnut Hill, includes new construction of 44 one- and two-bedroom condominium units with 88 on-site parking spaces. The project, also referred to as Covenant House onCommonwealth Avenue, included reuse of an existing building into 13 units.
Developed by B’nai B’rith Housing, 33Comm was designed by Sheskey Architects of Quincy, MA, and built by Pilot Construction of Portsmouth, NH. The construction was managed by Kevin Maguire of Building Initiatives of Boston, and Michael Jacobs of MHJ Consulting inBrookline,MA, supervised the project’s financing . Engineering was done by Stantec, based inBoston.
All of the 33Comm units have been sold, in part under guidelines taking into consideration that the 2009 median income for theBostonmetropolitan area was $81,000 for a family of three. The 15 workforce units sold under those guidelines for in between $138,000 to $192,000. TheNewtoncomplex contains 42 market-rate units.
B’nai B’rith Housing’s latest completed project, 33Comm is located near the MBTA’sGreenLineBostonCollegestation and near commercial neighborhood establishments. It is adjacent to a 71-acre public golf course and is in easy walking distance of jogging trails around the reservoir nearCleveland Circle.
B’nai B’rith Housing acquired the site in February 2007, started construction in March of that year, and completed the project in June 2008.
The project received grant funding from local and state agencies, including $1.2 million fromNewtonunder the Community Preservation Act, to assist in achieving affordability and satisfy other municipal goals. Because of the remarkable success of the project,Newtonwas repaid $300,000 of the funds it had made available.
TheCommonwealthofMassachusettsmade a $750,000 grant from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The Commonwealth was also repaid about $300,000 when the project was done based on the project’s success.
The development was permitted with enthusiastic support from Newton under the state’s Chapter 40B law, which allows local zoning boards to approve affordable housing as long as long as at least 25 percent of the units remain affordable in the long term.
The 33Comm residence complex was the first affordable-housing development in the relatively affluent Chestnut Hill neighborhood ofNewton.