May 18, 2023 – BOSTON – Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation (DBEDC) and Preservation of Affordable Housing’s Columbia Crossing development is one of 27 affordable housing projects that will receive state funding from the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Winter 2023 funding round according to a public announcement today by Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll. The undersecretary announced this will be the largest award this year.
Located in Upham’s Corner, Columbia Crossing will transform the historic Dorchester Savings Bank building and adjacent parking lot into an approximately 76,000 square foot mixed-use, mixed-income residential, commercial, and retail complex. The project consists of new construction of a six-story building addition to the back of the existing Dorchester Savings Bank, as well as restoration of the Bank’s street facing facade and adaptive reuse of the interior bank hall. Columbia Crossing will produce 48 new affordable rental units, including artist housing and associated arts amenity space, designated for households earning between 30% and 80% Area Median Income. Approximately 20% of the units will be reserved for artists under the City of Boston’s Artist Housing Certification program, and there will be 2,000 square feet of arts amenity space for resident use.
The building design will include an all-electric heating and cooling system and will incorporate Passive House standards in support of Boston’s resiliency, sustainability, and carbon neutral 2050 goals. Stull & Lee, Inc. and Moody Nolan have partnered on the architecture.
The development will also include 3,500 square feet of commercial space, with a preference for community-centered arts and innovation entities. The rehabilitation of the bank building will include the creation of a premier display space referred to as the Glow Box, which can be converted to an indoor-outdoor space.
The creation of artist housing and arts/culture/community oriented commercial space marks Columbia Crossing as the first to advance of several key sites identified in a ten-year community planning initiative for establishing Upham’s Corner as an Arts & Innovation District. Other sites include the Strand Theatre and 555-559 Columbia Road, which formerly housed a Bank of America branch.
Dudley Neighbors Inc. (DNI), an affiliate of Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), a local community land trust, is the landowner and will remain the ground lease holder of the land the project will be built on. DNI selected the POAH-DBEDC team through a competitive, community-driven RFP process. Predevelopment funds are being loaned by The Life Initiative.
“The Columbia Crossing project reflects the Uphams Corner neighborhood’s desire to create a diverse, affordable community and promote a celebration of arts and culture,” said Rodger L. Brown, Jr. Managing Director of Real Estate at POAH. “POAH is excited to be working with Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation to bring this vision to fruition.”
“We are grateful to the Department of Housing and Community Development for funding this project in furtherance of development without displacement in a neighborhood highly vulnerable to rising rents and income disparities” said DBEDC CEO Kimberly R. Lyle. “This project will provide critically-needed affordable rental housing in the midst of a state-wide housing crisis and serve as a catalyst for future investment in the Upham’s Corner neighborhood.”
Columbia Crossing received Boston Planning and Development Agency approval in November 2022 and was awarded City funding in February 2023. Construction is expected to begin in 2024.
Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation (DBEDC)
Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation (DBEDC) is a community development corporation founded by local civic associations in 1979 to address the problems of economic disinvestment, unemployment, crime, community tensions, and the shortage of quality affordable housing undermining Boston’s Dorchester neighborhoods. Over the last 44 years, we have worked in partnership with local leaders and stakeholders to build and preserve 1,200 units of affordable housing and over 200,000 square feet of commercial space, to engage residents in community life, and to support a robust economy through small business support and economic development.
The structures we have built are physical manifestations of our work, but at its core, our work is about strengthening the community, which is made up of the people who live and work in our neighborhood. For more information, visit the DBEDC website at www.dbedc.org, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, like us on Facebook, connect with us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our email list.
Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH)
Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) is a nonprofit organization that preserves, creates, and restores affordable rental homes for low- and moderate-income individuals, seniors and families totaling more than 13,000 apartments in 11 states and the District of Columbia, including three affordable properties in Boston’s South End, West End and Kenmore Square neighborhoods with another redevelopment planned for the Mattapan Station MBTA parking lot.