The recently formed Charlestown Veterans Partnership Program has stuck an agreement with the 6M Development floating housing developers, who have pledged to consider veterans in all aspects of the project if their competitive bid is chosen by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) for replacing the condemned Pier 5.
6M proposes to build a floating community, but with a partial demolition of the existing pier – using selective demolition to preserve parts that will serve as an anchor to the floating pieces. The project contemplates 138 units of housing with restaurant space and passive parks and a floating salt marsh – all built out in many phases of construction. They are one of three developers with active RFPs being considered by the BPDA, with a public comment period that ends on April 5.
This week, the Charlestown Veterans allied groups and 6M gathered to announce they have agreed to a partnership – with 6M agreeing to support veterans in construction jobs, affordable housing units, long-term jobs and the Friends of Memorial Hall restoration efforts.
“The main thing is the big picture and helping out a group in Charlestown that hadn’t been helped for many years as I’m told,” said Bill Caulder, of 6M. “It’s a nice tie-in to the Navy Yard because veterans built this Navy Yard…There are a number of ways we can try to help veterans of Charlestown in this project.”
Caulder said they are committing to providing veterans preference for housing within the project. Right now, the City requires 13 percent affordable housing, but since it is floating housing, that may not be in effect. Caulder said he has already committed to at least 13 percent in any case and is working to figure out how to reserve part of that for veterans.
They will also be pushing to provide veterans preference for construction jobs within the project, and for permanent jobs on the property in terms of management.
One of the keys was to try to integrate the veterans housing as workforce housing so that professionals that have “traded one uniform for another” in terms of going from military service to public safety jobs, could afford to stay in Charlestown.
“They have to stay in Boston and they need housing like this,” said Al Carrier, of 6M.
Joe Zuffante, president of the Abraham Lincoln Post, said they are overjoyed by the new relationship with these developers.
“From our point of view, the Post is overjoyed to have the opportunity to work with this project,” he said. “We’re especially grateful for the commitment they’ve made to work with us and to do what they can do in their project to serve the veterans of Charlestown and how they can become part of our ongoing project at Memorial Hall.”
He added, “We’re very excited about the prospect of good jobs for veterans and the potential for the project to include homes for veterans and they can live here in Charlestown instead of having to leave the community because of the high cost of living.”
The Charlestown Veterans Partnership Program is a joint venture between the Lincoln Post and the Charlestown Veterans History Project. It is designed to collaborate with developers and businesses in providing opportunities to veterans and veterans’ projects within the community.