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Dec. 19, 2012

Groundbreaking Ceremonies Herald Start of Old Colony’s Phase Two

By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer

Boston—Groundbreaking ceremonies were recently held to mark the construction start on Phase Two of The Homes at Old Colony Redevelopment Project in South Boston.

Upon successful completion of Phase One, Suffolk Construction Company was picked to manage construction on Phase Two. In this $50 million project, 223 distressed units are being demolished to make way for the construction of 169 affordable apartments in four three-story townhouse-style buildings, and two four-level elevator buildings.

Phase One, by contrast, featured the demolition of 164 deteriorated units and construction of 116 new affordable housing units, which are housed in a mid-rise building and four clusters of wood-frame townhouses.

Also included in Phase One was a 10,000-square-foot community center and maintenance garage, as well as improvements to roadways, parking areas, utility infrastructure and landscaping.

Both phases replace the Old Colony public housing development, the most physically distressed property in the portfolio of the Boston Housing Authority (BHA). Built just prior to World War II, the 72-year-old housing development was crippled by aged infrastructure and failing systems. Its annual yearly water and energy costs came to more than $4,000 a residential unit.

The multi-phase redevelopment initiative owes its existence to BHA’s ability to develop a master plan, as well as apply for and capture $44 million in federal funding.

The project was funded through several public-private partnerships. Stimulus funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act were included in Phase One.

Phase Two includes a $22 million federal HOPE VI grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as funding from Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, U.S. Bank, Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC), Boston Community Loan Fund, City of Boston, AFL-CIO, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

A major focus of the redevelopment is green building and energy efficiency. Extensive green building, energy efficient measures and utilization of low-impact development strategies are all hallmarks of the redevelopment initiatives undertaken by Suffolk.

Phase One of the redevelopment witnessed the community building gaining LEED Gold certification. With the construction of each new townhome and mid-rise building, LEED for Homes Platinum is the target. The entire community is designed to achieve LEED certification for Neighborhood Development.

Old Colony is located close to a number of shops and service businesses. It is no more than a short walk to the popular walking, fishing and picnicking areas of Castle Island, Carson Beach and Moakley Park, and to L Street Curley Gym and Bathhouse. The Perkins Elementary School is next to the redevelopment site.

At the groundbreaking ceremonies, Suffolk Construction officials were joined by representatives of developer Beacon Communities Development LLC, The Architectural Team, and government officials in celebrating the start of new construction. Completion of the redevelopment project is expected in May 2014.

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