Building boom hits East Boston waterfront

City and state officials formally broke ground today on a luxury-housing project along Marginal Street and Pier One.

The first of seven buildings in the $46-million Portside at Pier One project is a five-story apartment building with 176 units - 26 designated as "affordable" - along with ground-floor retail space. It's due to open next spring. Ultimately, the project will include a total of 550 apartments.

Construction began in 2006, then stalled along with the economy.

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    What's so dumb about the

    What's so dumb about the affordable clauses is that the cost is passed on to the other units. To make one unit affordable -all the others become less affordable. One step forward and two steps back!

    Now we could have more housing built in Boston to drive down costs with supply meeting demand. But that would require the city to cease driving up costs for everyone not a personal friend of his highness the mayor, throw out most of the city's arcane outdated zoning, and stop pushing developers to build everything for double income no kid families.

    Well think

    not only is the cost of "their" unit pass onto you, should you so choose to reside there. Your higher tax rate is helping to subsidize their housing voucher and paying for the payroll at the gov agency processing/ providing the voucher.

    Plenty of Affordable Housing

    There is plenty of affordable housing in Boston's neighborhoods. If you look to Hyde Park, parts of Roslindale, parts of West Roxbury, or, dare I say Dochester or Roxbury you will find many affordable properties. If people think there are going to be houses that working class people can afford in the downtown neighborhoods of Boston they are dreaming. Boston is a very desirable place to live, and there any many rich people clammering to live in the Back Bay, South End, Beacon Hill, etc. Develors have proved that they will pay for it even in this economy. If building higher and denser made for more affordability through the magic of supply and demand, Mannahatan and Tokyo would be the cheapest places to live on earth.

    Can you consider...

    ... that the volume of demand can be so high in some places that constructing a few housing units simply isn't enough to meet that demand, and hold prices down? The demand swamps the supply, and putting more restrictions on construction just makes it worse.

    Also you ought to know that most people in NYC and Tokyo do not live in high-rises. Tall buildings are not the only way to build denser, and they are not a panacea either, since they cost more per floor in a non-linear fashion.

    You are right that there's plenty of opportunities in outer neighborhoods of Boston to purchase more affordable housing. Or perhaps, even to build more as well!

    more supply

    Agreed...the political system of building "affordable units" with every new development is ridiculous. Just let developers build more and it'll allow the remaining housing stock to remain affordable.

    Basically, build a luxury home for a rich guy and he ceases to compete for housing for the rest of us. Not exactly rocket science.

    There is a flaw in your plan.

    Uh... what? There's a problem with your plan. Poor people exist. They need to live somewhere, or they will die of exposure. There are two ways you can address the housing needs of people who can't afford rent in a city where real estate values are already high and are now climbing higher. You can mix affordable housing in with luxury apartments, and then people will complain that they are subsidizing other people. Or, you can build large masses of affordable housing all in one place, and end up with Bromley-Heath, which will be a hotbed of criminal activity and will destroy the neighborhood in which it is built.

    Also:

    Just let developers build more and it'll allow the remaining housing stock to remain affordable

    You free-market types are adorable. Just lift the restrictions and let developers build whatever they want! I'm sure they'll choose to build a mixture of luxury, middle tier, and affordable units, even though every major development undertaken in the last five years has been specifically designated as "luxury apartments" and they've only included cheaper stuff because of laws requiring it. Left unfettered, I'm sure it'll all reach harmonious equilibrium, because the invisible hand something mumble mumble something.

    East Boston is supposedly the

    East Boston is supposedly the most affordable neighborhood to live in within Boston city limits. I got priced out of East Boston, and I have a salaried job and am splitting rent with my girlfriend. The "free market" seems not to dictate rents, considering that rents have been going up at a hyperbolic rate for the past 20 years. I agree, Erik. NO ONE IS BUILDING AFFORDABLE TRIPLE DECKERS ANYMORE. The standard is high priced units with granite and pristine hardwood floors. This is why Menino is doing the "rehab the triple decker" thing in Boston. Boston NEEDS to give breaks for affordable housing, and this needs to be remedied.

    Ain't just Boston

    Check out rents and housing throughout the state. Towns are actively zoning out starter homes and density. My home town keep increasing the lot side required to build a home.

    It's leading to a brain / youth drain.

    You think not repairing our infrastructure is costly and bad, wait until the retiring boomers (and their money) pass and MA's next generation has set up roots in other states, raising families there.

    I'd like to see something nice...

    I would LOVE to see some higher priced condos down by the water's edge -- they would easily sell because of the outrageous view of Boston's skyline. I think the neighborhood would survive and probably benefit from a more mixed (higher salaried) resident. We have oodles of triple deckers, section 8 housing, investment-driven absentee landlords, support houses, etc. all confined in our scrappy, overly-crowded city. I truly think we would benefit.