Google Joins Backers of $152M Charlesview Relocation

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor Ever wondered about the link between internet technology and affordable housing? At the moment, the answer is “Google Inc.” The Mountain View, Calif.-based giant has decided to invest $28 million in an innovative $152 milliion affordable housing project in Allston., [...]

Ever wondered about the link between internet technology and affordable housing? At the moment, the answer is “Google Inc.” The Mountain View, Calif.-based giant has decided to invest $28 million in an innovative $152 milliion affordable housing project in Allston., joining multiple government, corporate and institutional backers.

In making  an investment that is decidedly off the beaten track for a technology company, Google is seeking both revenue and reduced tax liability through federal credits for investment in affordable housing.  Google’s assistant treasurer, Axel Martinez, told the Boston Globe that the company views the investment as an opportunity to help the community while also receiving financial benefits.

The project involves the relocation and expansion of Charlesview Apartments on Western Avenue. One of the nation’s largest affordable housing projects, the 41-year-old complex is owned by Charlesview Inc., a multidenominational, faith-based non-profit organization. The property features 213 one- to four-bedroom units for low- and moderate-income residents. Its successor, dubbed Charlesview Residences, will be constructed on an eight-acre parcel on the site of the Brighton Mills Shopping Center and will comprise  240 units for low-income families and a 100-unit condominium tower, 26 of them reserved for low- and moderate-income families. The developer, Community Builders Inc., will add retail, park space, a community center and  underground parking for the property.

In backing the project, Google joins stakeholders such as the AFL-CIO’s Housing Investment Trust, which disclosed in May that it will invest providing $58.2 million in financing, including  $34.7 million for a  $23.5 million taxable bridge loan through the purchase of bonds issued by MassHousing.