WinnDevelopment Tapped for $1.6B Boston Project

The Mary Ellen McCormack site will be transformed into a 3,000-unit mixed-income community set to be constructed over four phases.

By IvyLee Rosario

Mary Ellen McCormack

Mary Ellen McCormack aerial view

WinnDevelopment was tapped by the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) to redevelop the first and largest public housing development in New England. The 1930s-built Mary Ellen McCormack site, which currently features 1,016 subsidized apartments and row houses, will be transformed into a mixed-income community set to be constructed over four phases. The project consists of demolishing 27 three-story brick buildings on the current 27-acre property. 

The $1.6 billion redevelopment will feature 3,000 new units that will completely replace the existing apartments, the creation of workforce housing, market rate, and home ownership condominiums. All units will be identical in quality and integrated evenly among the newly constructed buildings, no matter what the income level. 

“We are grateful for the chance to partner with the McCormack residents, the BHA and the City of Boston to redevelop this community into a first class mixed-income neighborhood,” said Gilbert Winn, CEO of WinnCos. “We recognize the property is old and therefore requires a major redevelopment effort. Our goal then, is to move through the formal approval process as quickly as possible while paying close attention to resident and community input.”

Redevelopment Process

BHA issued the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of the Mary Ellen McCormack site as part of a wider strategy to upgrade and make sustainable its affordable housing communities in the wake of federal budget cuts. The creation of market rate and workforce housing will also further the goal of creating 53,000 new units of housing in Boston by 2030. 

Before issuing the RFP, the Boston Housing Authority issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in November 2014, asking the non-profit and for-profit development community for ideas about how to preserve public housing units with decreased reliance on federal public housing subsidy. WinnDevelopment’s plan was one of five proposals that BHA received for the redevelopment. Current residents of Mary Ellen McCormack and staff of the BHA reviewed the proposals and gave points to Winn for its strong residential partnership model and offering of resident services. 

Before the redevelopment starts, residents of MEM will be offered relocation options in either moving to other BHA public housing or receiving Housing Choice/Section 8 vouchers. They will also be given the right to return to the site after completion. 

Image courtesy of WinnDevelopment 

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