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Board approves initial Mildred Hailey rebuild, will include replacement of 253 existing public-housing units, creation of 420 new apartments in Jackson Square

Proposed view of new complex from Lamartine Street

The view from the new Lamartine Street. Rendering by Stantec and Dream Collaborative.

The BPDA board today approved plans by developers to raze several buildings at the sprawling Mildred Hailey Apartments complex in Jamaica Plain and replace their current 253 Section 8 apartments with all new units - and add 420 additional income-restricted apartments and an all new street grid, green space and pathways intended to stitch the complex into the neighboring community, rather than walling it off.

In addition to the new residential buildings, plans by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp., the Community Builders and Urban Edge include a new home for the Anna Mae Cole Community Center.

Unusual for a large-scale BHA redevelopment, while current residents will have to vacate their current apartments when their buildings are torn down, they will be offered other apartments within Mildred Hailey, rather than forced to move across town, as has happened with other BHA redevelopment projects. This is because the project is just phase 1 of an eventual complete re-do of the complex. The BHA has yet to request bids for replacing the roughly 550 remaining apartments at the complex.

Although initial plans called for some market-rate and high-income units, the plans approved today for the new units call for them all to be rented to people making between 30% and 120% of the Boston-area median income. Included in the 420 new units are 56 income-restricted units outside Mildred Hailey but in the Jackson Square area.

Key to the plans, which focus on the area along the Southwest Corridor and Centre Street next to the Orange Line station, is to try to make Mildred Hailey more of a part of the surrounding Jackson Square neighborhood. Where the buildings along Centre now meet the street at an angle, with numerous zig-zag pockets that make good hiding spaces for criminals, the new buildings will form a "street wall" that will feature ground-floor retail space. Lamartine and Bickford streets will be extended from Centre to Heath Street and new, tree-lined walkways will give people a way to get around that doesn't involve cars. The community center will get a new plaza as well.

Mildred Hailey Phase 1 documents.

The view from Columbus Avenue:

The view from Columbus Ave.

Buildings will have courtyards:

Another view
Another view



This sort of project is exactly what we need. A LOT more affordable housing that's actually integrated into the neighborhood around it.

More of these projects all over the city, please.


Glad this is getting off the ground! Some of the apartments have bad water damage that was never really dealt with since 2005. And I hope they expand the outdoor space. One of the nice things about Hailey now are the yards and trees— as institutional as the buildings look, the green space has helped mitigate it and makes the whole place feel like a community. People really use it.
And it gives the really cute terrier who has a joyful freak out every morning next to the Jackson Square BlueBike stand a place to burn off energy


BPDA DEAF, DUMB & BLIND?? . Boston residents should be pissed!

Didn't HUD just find this company guilty of failing to tell tenants their apartments had lead paint?

Community Builders – Mass. and Conn.– $2.1 million settlement

In March 2009, EPA settled an enforcement action brought against The Community Builders, Inc. (“TCB”), a large Massachusetts-based real estate corporation, for violations of the Disclosure Rule involving nearly 300 separate lease transactions between 2003 and 2006. The most significant violations included TCB’s failure to provide an EPA-approved lead-hazard information pamphlet to 246 tenants and disclose the presence of known lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. Under the terms of the settlement, TCB agreed to pay a $200,000 penalty and spend over $1.9 million on a Supplemental Environmental Project (“SEP”), which included the replacement of windows and the abatement of interior and exterior friction and impact surfaces containing lead-based paint.

Who paid for the SEP????


You're complaining about an example of TCB failing to provide pamphlets more than 15 years ago?


Pepperidge Farms remembers.

Looks like a great place for white people doing yoga!


Maybe you should educate yourself and join Franklin Park Yoga in the park. A great program. It creates a positive atmosphere with fitness of mind and body. Just what Mildred Haley Community needs.


While its great the good folks who live at Mildred Hailey are getting new digs... and well deserved. Some of those 1960s era communist block public housing buildings are in need of demolition. Every one deserves a clean, safe, & modern home to live in.

However.. I can't help but thinking this is gentrifying of public housing... and those developers will sweet talk anything to get land to build condos to sell.


Is more modern than most of the private housing stock in Boston. It's more modern than everywhere I've lived here, apart from my current apartment. The real problem is neglect on the part of BHA, coupled with an inability of public authorities to root out criminal elements. One could make arguments about cheap, unattractive construction, but that pretty much applies to every single triple-decker in existence as well.

Also, FWIW, courtyards make for excellent places for local entrepreneurs/small business owners to conduct business.


It really is the BHA's fault. And again, its why I don't fault the tenants very much. They deserve (and I am glad) they are getting better.

My point is they are old, and very dated looking. But apartment building.. the same general principal hasn't changed in over a century. Just the looks have changed. And I agree, maintaining properties has a lot to do with it.

I had buddy who was a cable installer since the early 1990s. As a second level tech who came to troubleshoot issues, he spent hours in buildings all around the area.

He had stories that many of these public housing complexes were far nicer when they opened. Most had, now closed rooms, for job training centers, laundry, and day care facilities. One of the initial goals of these projects were to provide services to help residents up (and out). But over time the $ dried up and most closed. And so did the maintenance $$. (not saying all are bad but..)

On a side note, I recently re-watched Candy Man (that slasher flick from 1992). And in a round about way, expose some of this and racism around highways & public housing.

One of the key elements in the movie is where Virginia Madsen's character figures out that her nice condo building was the same layout as the same Cabrini-Green housing complex (in Chicago), except the highway plowed thru to cut them off. One became condos, one remained public housing (read: one for whites, ones for blacks). Being the same layout, she figured out she could enter her neighbors unit by removing the medicine cabinet. (and yeah in real life, this is a thing...)

Anyways my point being is yes, the same building can be nice.. just with proper maintenance.

And yes I think the new courtyards would be a lovely place for new businesses to prop up however if its overly lit and white people doing yoga at night.. it might be a deterrent.


Speaking of those medicine cabinets, if you missed this


That video is why I re-watched Candy Man.

But it prompted me to learn about Ruthie May McCoy.. who was killed by a killer who came in via the bathroom mirror



Comingling public housing with market housing is good for the public housing tenants, as long as all their units are replaced (and in this case, added to). Concentrated poverty is not a good thing for kids, and the added local spending power will bring amenities and opportunities.


They forgot to include the stupid center bus lane in the “view from Columbus Ave.”

Those darn poor bus riders being priotitized over people the drive around with a spare loveseat and sofa.

I look forward to more bus infrastructure in Boston. BRT is going to make poorer, less mbta connected neighborhoods much more accessible.


Um.. the bus routes have always been there. You must not live in the area. I’d like to see resident reaction if they got rid of parking on Centre St in JP for the 39, the way they just did in Egleston in Roxbury.


Plus.. I’m glad the bus riders have a dedicated bus lane while an ambulance is stuck in one lane car traffic because they can’t get by the new bus stops. I’m all for bus infrastructure but not at the cost of my neighborhood.

Car drivers are the ones blocking ambulances. Your issue is not with bus riders. If you care about ambulances helping people then that means you don’t drive, right?


So we blame the drivers for the fact that there is now one lane in each direction? Hilarious. Do any of you live here? In Egleston? Sounds like people who don’t live in the hood telling me how to feel about changes in my hood.


That stretch of road has been gridlock long before the bus lanes.


A traffic free busway seems like a tremendously effective way for an ambulance to rapidly clear a gridlocked stretch.

What a bogus argument.


It’s only gridlocked during rush hour. Does the city think fewer cars will drive down it if you minimize the congested two lanes down to one? Not at all. You have to remember this is route 28, not just a big avenue that takes you to downtown. A better idea would’ve been to make one center bus lane for one direction during AM rush hour and another during PM rush hour. Argue with me all you want, but you don’t live here. You’re not dealing with the loss of parking spots on a street that has street cleaning every week, year round. And I’m not getting rid of my car just to go on universal hub and complain about how shitty the MBTA is. Hard pass. This is our neighborhood, and we don’t like it. I appreciate your input though boo.


Many of your neighbors take the bus. Many more may decide to thanks to the radically improved service.

Most of the traffic jams are not thanks to your neighbors, they are thanks to suburban dwellers using your roads as a cut through.

Emergency services will be improved, transit will be improved, and the neighborhood will be a better place to live.

Too bad about your car attachment.


Versions of this are happening in other large public housing developments in Charlestown and South Boston. It's a huge piece of Marty Walsh's legacy that will probably go underappreciated by our local housing activists.


It would be nice if that can be turned into something although I assume it's got dire industrial pollution issues which make any project expensive.


You talking about Hampden? That was an automotive re-manufacturer. Brakes was not their only line of business.

I'm assuming Parkwayne is talking about this place:


The asbestos contamination of the factory building on Heath St is what’s kept it from getting redeveloped. There was a proposal about 15 years ago that went nowhere due to that issue. It will take very deep pockets or a huge gov’t cleanup to ever see housing there.

This type of public private partnership is so needed now that the feds have essentially gutted funding for public housing.

I like the idea of redoing the street grids as well. So often these communities are labyrinthine and cut off from the rest of the neighborhood (I’m looking at you Villa Victoria). Nice work by the city here.


Adam: The residents in the first buildings knocked down will have to relocate while the new buildings are being constructed. Also, the 56 income-restricted units you refer to are new affordable units with vouchers in addition to the units that are replacing the 253 that are being knocked down and redeveloped. The 56 units are part of the 420 new units, not separate.

You're right the residents will have to move when their buildings are torn down. What I meant to say, but obviously didn't express well, was that they will be offered spaces elsewhere in Mildred Hailey - rather than being forced to move somewhere across town, as has happened with other BHA redevelopment projects.

I'll re-write that, and fix the new-unit number.


Actually, it doesn't seem like there is a guarantee of moving within Mildred Hailey Apartments for families that have to temporarily relocate. Here is an FAQ from JPNDC that says BHA will work with families to find temporary residences. https://jpndc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/MCHA-FAQ-bilingual-1-21-20.pdf

Also the 56 new voucher units are not elsewhere in Jackson Square. All 420 new units plus the 253 replacement units will be in 7 new buildings. But 56 of the 420 new units (still inside the buildings that will go up where Mildred Hailey Apartments is now, not elsewhere in Jackson Square), will have vouchers attached to them.

As I understand it, there are not enough vacant habitable spaces in the existing development to accommodate everyone in the first building, so those people will be offered vouchers to move elsewhere in the area. Once the first building is complete people who were made to move for the first building will be allowed to move back and residents displaced by future projects will be able to move within MH.

I sure hope BHA is going to pay for moving expenses.

The outcome will be great.. but to move twice for some of these people. UGH.

I do believe that is the plan.