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BRA approves downtown apartment building for people who aren't wealthy

Parcel 1b project near North Station

The BRA board today approved an apartment building near North Station where all 239 units will be aimed at people who couldn't afford to live in the other towers rising in the area.

In addition to the 14-story apartment building, Residential Beal's project along Beverly Street also includes a 220-room hotel, a 220-vehicle garage and 10,000 square feet of retail space, on land left over from the replacement of the Central Artery with a tunnel.

The BRA says this is the largest "affordable and workforce" housing project downtown in 25 years. Eligible renters will have incomes ranging from 30% to 165% of the area median income. 10 percent of the units will have three bedrooms.

Ted Lubitz, a Related Beal vice president, said the company hopes to finance the project in part with state-backed bonds, state tax credits, BRA linkage funds contributed by developers of luxury projects for construction of affordable units.

Residents of nearby towers opposed the project because of its height, which is 6 feet taller than an earlier proposal for the land.

Related Beal acquired development rights from another developer last year. The company hopes to begin construction this December and estimates construction will take 26 months.

Parcels 1B and 1C proposal (1.6M PDF).

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Comments

What stops eligible people from renting a unit in the building at reduced rate, moving elsewhere, and subletting at market rate?

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that's who. You know, the same people who would rat you out to the Registry for registering your car in New Hampshire?

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and don't you forget it you freeloadin', massholin', I want everything but I'm payin' nothin' sucka mcs!!!

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1. Their lease, which requires (continuing) verification of income eligibility and prohibits subletting without landlord approval.

2. The management company which runs the building and is the first line of defense in enforcing leases. These private companies get hired, and fired, depending on how well they perform so they're generally good at making sure tenants comply with leases.

(Also, as noted previously, angry neighbors who see someone cheating the system.)

Good for the developer for making this happen and for the city and state (thru mdot) for figuring out a way to make it work. Hopefully this is the first of many in town.

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This is how most of San Fransisco does it.

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let's emulate a real estate market where people are paying $3,000/month for a 1-bed in a high-crime area that comes with a daily delivery of used needles and feces on your stoop. Sounds grand.

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Sounds like you have no idea why SF has those prices

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I mean that ironically. SF rent control is so wide spread that they simply can't police it and most people are subletting their rent controlled Edwardians to techies who can afford to pay the 3600/1bd market rate for their 1500/mo apartment.

It's how so many folks in SF can still afford to get high in Dolores Park all day long.

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No subletting clause in leases; NOT permitted AT ALL!

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What's the difference between these units and the "luxury" units going up everywhere else? (Besides price and perhaps a doorman.)

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Subsidies. In this case I think from developers of other buildings that chose the "build another building" route to meeting the affordable housing requirements.

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The "luxury" appellation can only be applied to units which meet certain requirements, among them noise transmission. So speaketh my architect wife.

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I thought the goal was to get rid of these disgusting poor people. They are so unsightly. Where is the Mayor? Do something!

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30% to 165% of the area median income... What does that mean in English?

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based on 2013 median household income for Boston metro area of $73k.

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Here's my attempt to explain although I think it came out more confusing than it should be.

So, "they" (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) come up with Area Median Income (AMI) for each part of the country, I believe based on MSA - Metropolitan Statistical Area - which for Boston and Greater Boston is "Boston-Cambridge-Newton MA-NH Metropolitan Statistical Area". I don't know if it's always the same boundaries as the MSA, ask the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).

It's an estimate of the median income for the area, based on the size of your household. The Boston 100% AMI for 2015 is:

1 member household $68,950
2 member household $78,800
3 member household $88,650
4 member household $98,500
5 member household $106,400
6 member household $114,250

If you want to see the breakdown for Boston, check out this document on the BRA's website (warning, PDF).

In order to qualify to rent one of the apartments in a building that has "affordable" units (or, to buy one of the condos in a building that has "affordable" units) you have to earn a certain amount of money in order to qualify. It can be "100% of AMI" or any percentage above or below that amount.

I do not know for sure why a developer chooses one range over another, but I believe it has to do with what types of tax credits and government subsidies a developer is looking to secure. Remember, there is a limited amount of government (and private) money available for this type of housing; it's not like the housing costs any less to build, it's just who ends up paying for it. Either the renter / buyer and/or the government (through taxes) pays for it.

Unfortunately, the BRA's website doesn't have all percentages calculated - it only shows from 50-120% of AMI. I'll draw up a spreadsheet so you can see 30% up to 165% if I can figure out the math.

Income limits are set, but also the rents that can be charged. The BRA website has details.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the spreadsheet I put together showing 30% - 165% AMI for Boston. No warranty guaranteed or implied.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1iBaXSaFsS17Ck9c_tkZ-POLz_bfBbdXD...

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Just wondering if I could afford one

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.

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This will work out well. That area is already rough. Most people don't notice it cause they're only there when the Bruins or Celts play. Building a 200+ unit project there will certainly help. *sarcasm*

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Those riffraff who make $70K a year will certainly turn the area in to a slum!

In other words, somebody didn't do his homework very well.

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I don't think it's a question of "riff-raff" rather a question of traffic and crowds.

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How dare those middle class people with full time jobs want a place to live!

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Also biblioteqtress... go hang out in front of Tent City for a bit. Before you go exclaiming "yes" see how it effects things. My guess is that you are so far from an actual project that you have no idea how drastically it impacts the quality of life for those that actually pay to be there. I'm all for public housing but it seems unfair.

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Wow! Are you calling this a public housing project? You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. It's amazing.

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Tent City is mixed income (or at least it was when I worked for the company that managed it at the time). So some units are affordable and some market rate.

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Is mixed income in a sense where it's possible to live in a subsidized unit with no income at all (i.e. glorified housing project,) hence all the neighbor complaints and shady dealings in the courtyard at night. This particular one actually requires one to have a paycheck, meaning you won't be seeing the usual welfare crowd turning it into a shithole and making lives miserable for everyone.

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By "in front of Tent City" do you mean "in front of one of the ritziest shopping malls in the country"? Yeah, that area sure is rough...

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3 blocks.

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Stroll down to Lenox Street development or further down near Holy Cross Cathedral and walk through my old neighborhood, Cathedral development. ( We moved out before the downhill slide). Then you will know what a housing project is.

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oh well this should solve the affordable housing problem.

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First the affordable housing requirements drive up the costs of developing everything in this city - and make it almost impossible to develop things that are moderately priced which have the same requirements. Then there's the issue of using prime space to develop affordable housing - which drives up demand even more in the downtown area - pushing many who COULD afford to live east of Mass Ave to choose say Fenway for modest savings - then all the people who could live in Fenway move to JP and all those who used to be able to afford JP get pushed to Rozzie and West Roxbury. And if you can't afford that - now you get pushed out of the city until you get to Providence. Get rid of all this affordable crap (NOT the subsidized stuff which needs to be distributed around the state - not just in Boston) , couple it with reasonable zoning rules (Hopefully coming under Imagine Boston 2030) - and you'll get moderately priced housing. Granted - it will be packed into a dense area and we'll all still be living in small spaces - but adequate and reasonably priced.

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Who's eligible for these units?
Most affordable housing in Boston are for those people who make up to $70k a year these days, And one must be part of a lottery to receive a unit, most are politically connected individuals, prime example (Carlton Wharf-East Boston).
When one thinks about affordable housing , their thinking single jobless parent with 2 kids or disabled individual with a $20k a year job.
Affordable housing in Boston are for those who make up to$70k a year , an elite person who has a BMW, take a walk by any affordable housing in Boston and look at the shiny new cars parked outside.

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