Baker-Polito Administration Highlights Nearly $9 Million in Three MassWorks Awards

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy and Mayor Michelle Wu were joined by state and local officials to highlight the city of Boston’s three MassWorks Infrastructure Program awards. In total, the city of Boston is receiving approximately $9 million for the three awards: $3.5 million for utility upgrades in support of the Bunker Hill Housing Redevelopment Project in Charlestown, $4 million for street and utility upgrades required for the Mildred Hailey Apartments Redevelopment Project and $1.5 million to support design and permitting for a major transit-oriented development on the site of the Blair Parking Lot in Roxbury. 

 The announcement was held at the Blair Parking Lot in Nubian Square. On this site, the $1.5 million MassWorks award will be combined with $3.5 million in private financing to fully fund all necessary work through the final design for a transformative project with spaces for cultural, entertainment, and artistic uses. The project, known as “Nubian Square Ascends,” is a $111 million private investment that will result in a transit-oriented development with a new public way and plaza, multi-modal accommodations, a 300-space parking garage and 135,000 square feet of commercial space for uses ranging from culinary to lab to cultural purposes. The buildout of Nubian Square Ascends is expected to create or sustain approximately 900 jobs and will include contracting opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises during all phases of construction. 

“This combination of awards through the MassWorks program provides critical support for Boston’s plans for commercial development in Nubian Square, as well as investments for housing in Charlestown and Jamaica Plain,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our Administration is grateful for our partners at the local level that made this possible and we look forward to these transformative projects becoming a reality.”  

“Our Administration continues to support plans that unlock new opportunities for economic development and housing across the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Through the MassWorks program and partnerships like this one with the city of Boston, we can continue to work together to achieve locally-driven economic growth.” 

 “These MassWorks grants will provide critical funding to redevelop affordable housing, and create local economic development that supports good jobs for our residents,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “This year’s MassWorks awards will help us move forward with providing housing in neighborhoods throughout the city. Boston’s residents and families deserve safe, clean, quality affordable housing, and this funding will help support the renovations and revitalization of thousands of units of deeply affordable housing.”

MassWorks is a competitive program that offers cities and towns flexible capital funding to support and accelerate housing production and job growth. MassWorks is the largest program in Community One Stop for Growth, a single application portal and collaborative review process for grant programs launched in January 2021 to make targeted investments based on a development continuum.

“We created the One Stop to offer access to a wide variety of programs through a single, streamlined process that ensures that valuable funds can be directed more effectively, to more communities, in less time,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “The One Stop gives communities and other partners the opportunity to work collaboratively with us, to pursue multiple projects simultaneously and to meet their economic development goals. The city of Boston has demonstrated how applicants can be creative with grant funding to maximize the impact of state investments in transformative projects. While the first year of the One Stop has shown tremendous promise, the demand for our programs demonstrates that we can do more.”

“Nubian Square Ascends will bring cultural vitality and increase access to new jobs here in Roxbury,” said Representative Jon Santiago.  “I am thrilled that this infrastructure award will help advance this exciting project while further supporting the many artists, entrepreneurs, and local businesses that call Nubian Square home.”

 In addition to the city’s Nubian Square award, Boston received a $3.5 million MassWorks grant for utility upgrades in Charlestown to support the Bunker Hill Housing Redevelopment Project. The utility work will trigger the start of the redevelopment project’s first phase, which calls for the demolition of six residential buildings that date back to the early 1940s and the construction of two new buildings. The new buildings will result in the replacement of 156 units of affordable housing as well as the addition of 194 new units of market-rate housing. At full buildout, the redevelopment project will lead to the replacement of all 1,100 existing units of public housing, the addition of 1,600 new units of market-rate housing and approximately 73,000 square feet of civic and neighborhood retail space.  

“The Bunker Hill Housing Redevelopment Project in Charlestown will provide necessary and long-awaited housing improvements for the community including the revitalization of the existing housing unit, upgrades in infrastructure, and the creation of new critical community and civic space,” said Senator Sal DiDomenico. “I am pleased that this project was awarded the resources it needs to build a space that is accessible, affordable and enjoyable for all residents in the area.”

“These MassWorks funds will go a long way toward building a vibrant, inclusive mixed-use community at Bunker Hill while preserving Public Housing units to some of our more vulnerable residents,” said Representative Dan Ryan.  “I would like to thank all involved in making Phase 1 of this project a closer reality.”

The city’s third MassWorks award is $4 million for street and utility improvements that will support the Mildred Hailey Apartments Redevelopment Project, which plans to construct 673 units of new and replacement mixed-income housing through a public-private partnership over a 10-year period. Specific improvements include a new roadway, utility extensions, an expansion of multi-modal accommodations and public green space. These improvements will enhance transportation safety and neighborhood connectivity, including pedestrian connections to the MBTA’s Jackson Square Station and Southwest Corridor Park. In addition to housing, the Mildred Hailey project will include a 6,800-square-foot community center and approximately 8,300 square feet of neighborhood retail space at full buildout. 

“Mildred Hailey has long provided a home for a rich and vibrant community in Jackson Square. It has welcomed new cultures and sustained generations of families for many years,” said Representative Liz Malia. “I am delighted by the investment being made in this important cornerstone of our Jamaica Plain community and glad that such a substantial investment reminds us of the need for housing for all in our neighborhoods.”

“I’m so grateful for the Governor’s partnership on ending housing inequity in my district,” said Representative Nika Elugardo. “The residents of Mildred C. Hailey have invested for decades in this very valuable land and deserve a return on their investment. This $4 million is a relatively large grant for MassWorks, and we are very appreciative of this along with the $50 million invested by Mayor Wu. Mildred C. Hailey has over $175 million in unmet needs, and I look forward to continued state and city partnership to get the job done.”

“By responding to the community’s vision and prioritizing good jobs and wealth creation opportunities for local residents, the Nubian Ascends project is an example of the BPDA’s commitment to using public land for public good,” said BPDA Director Brian Golden. “These three MassWorks grants will allow transformational projects that will result in hundreds of units of affordable housing and community-centered economic development the ability to move forward.”

In addition to the city’s MassWorks awards, two other Boston-based organizations received awards through the One Stop. 

CommonWealth Kitchen, in partnership with the Boston Planning and Development Agency, received a $100,000 Urban Agenda grant to develop a Launchpad for three BIPOC-owned food businesses to operate vendor kiosks at the MIT Student Center. In addition, CWK will partner with Sodexo Dining Services at the Colleges of the Fenway to launch a campus retail outlet and campus food trucks.

The Community Music Center of Boston received a $65,000 Urban Agenda award to support youth workforce development programs during this academic year. Under a program plan designed to be equitable and culturally inclusive, program participants will receive paid wages from participating in artistic projects, professional development and workforce training in the arts sector.

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