Fairmount Line could get housing development in Hyde Park

Proposed Nott Street project

BRA officials make a rare visit to Hyde Park tomorrow for a meeting on a proposed 27-unit residential building at the Fairmount train station off Fairmount Avenue.

At the session, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 1179 River St., the Southwest Boston Community Development Corp. and the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corp. will explain their proposal for the Residences at Fairmount Station.

This is one of the first "transit oriented" developments proposed for the newly revamped Fairmount Line, the only commuter-rail line with stops just within Boston. State officials have said the $200 million cost of upgrading the line could pay off in revitalization of the areas around its stations.

The two neighborhood development groups have agreements to purchase four dilapidated lots between Nott Street and the station and are seeking BRA approval to replace them with a four-story building holding 24 "affordable" units and 3 "market rate" units.

Besides being located just across from a Fairmount Line station, the project is about a half mile from the new Neponset River bicycle path.

The project would include spaces for 27 cars and 27 bicycles in a first-floor garage. The developers are also looking at trying to entice ZipCar to the location, which would be just the second ZipCar station in the city's southernmost neighborhood.

Among the buildings targeted for demolition: This ramshackle building on Nott Street that is marked with a warning to firefighters to stay out should it catch on fire:

Old Nott Street building



Free tagging: 



New cars, Diesel Mobile Units (DMU's) have been put on order Gov Patrick, this line is supposed to the earliest beneficiary of them. The run about $4M vs. the current $10M ones. Are ore automated, use less fuel, and for the dollar can increase the number available, to provide more trips.. But someone, probably here, will complain about that. I mean locals {who don't take the train] already complained about the lower fares being a negative impact: more people will take it - more people will park around here. Oh MY!

Wise Proposal?

So only four market rate units with 36 affordable? Hyde Park needs some business revitalization and I'm not sure a strictly affordable complex is the way to do that. In fact, the country is moving towards the 80/20 model based on mixed-income development. A neighborhood like Hyde Park does not have the economic resilience right now to sustain this kind of development. The Bike path thing is so far out of touch. Bike Paths work in JP, but have little to do with affordable housing.


Affordable Housing is NOT Low Income Housing

It is available to moderate-income households which earn between 70% and 100% of area median income (AMI). Boston's AMI is calculated annually by the U.S. Census Bureau not by a local agency. It is a way for working folks to buy/rent housing. If you assume these are one bedroom units, the annual salary range is somewhere between $46,250 and $75,500. The units would need to be priced between $124,800 to $210,800.

Affordable housing is usually are offered in a housing lottery. And by the way? Every city and town in MA is required by state law to have 10% of their housing stock as affordable.

Current BRA units:

Other local cities:


Concord Affordable Housing Units Available


A) Open House on Sunday, January 12 from 1:00PM - 2:00 PM
at 95 Conant Street, Unit 319 at Concord Commons priced at $154,500
It is offered for $154,500 to eligible applicants with complete application packages, earning 80% of the Area Median Income (or less)

B) New Affordable Housing Units Available at Shaw Farm Village, 1257 Elm Street Concord MA
2 Bedroom—$161,600
3 Bedroom—$179,200

Units are available through a lottery to first time homebuyers, with some exceptions, who meet the applicable asset limit of up to $75,000 and who haveGross Incomes as follows:
1 person: $47,450
2 person: $54,200
3 person: $61,000
4 person: $67,750
5 person: $73,200
6 person: $78,600

Probably very much the same

Probably very much the same reasons why I don't bike to work anymore. It sucks in the winter and you get all sweaty in the summer. It's really something for enthusiasts. Working people and/or others who have little kids, or the elderly, or basically anyone who isn't hip and prone to affordable housing, doesn't have a lot of time and/or interest in being enthused.


You're bucking the trend.

Obviously it's a small contingent who bike to work year-round but that's no reason to discourage it. The nutty assumption here is that every resident needs a parking space for the car that apparently they can afford. And your assumption that only "enthusiasts" "hipsters" and not "working people" should be riding bikes is just plain limiting. I work. I am middle-aged and unhip and I ride a bike--and walk and take trains and buses. It's do-able. It's affordable. And it's healthy and fun. I guess that makes me an "enthusiast" but we should all have enthusiasms, right?


I hear you.

I'm just interested though in changing people's assumptions about what's cool or possible for certain groups of people to do. And re encouraging people to drive less or feel as if they "have" to have a car, I think of it as a kind of "build it and they will come" approach. The more normal it becomes, the more "normal" folks will do it.

Cycling IS 'cool' hip and

Cycling IS 'cool' hip and trendy right now. So, that's not bucking the trend. Having a car is akin to clubbing baby seals these days. Except of course when you're helping your buddies move to that new apartment.

Furthermore: you don't ride to bike OR drive a car. Plenty of people do neither and they either walk and/or take public transportation.


My point

was that yes--since he's not biking to work anymore, he is bucking the trend. And yes, thanks--I'm aware that most people use different forms of transport. I'm assuming that these folks living next to a rail line will do that. My only quibble was with the assumption that lower-income people (and this is affordable housing, not low-income housing) aren't ever going to get on a bike or bike to work and that biking is only for trendy 25-year-old hipster white guys.

Sally I do take the commuter

Sally I do take the commuter rail to work. If there was an express path to downtown that I could bike, I'd likely give it a shot. The bike thing just sounded like the idea of some recent architecture student who thinks notions of biking have never occurred to these poor inner city folk and he/she is going to enlighten. Anyway, again all good and I'd like to see a more bike friendly city. It just seems like to get these things thru, the concessions become confounded and silly and unrealistic. I'd love to be wrong. And I don't doubt that money will be made.

Is that true? So lower rent

Is that true? So lower rent neighborhoods would have thriving business sectors? I'm willing to beleive it, but it doesn't seem that way to me. People get affordable housing because they don't have a lot of money. Nothing against anyone. I don't have a lot of money either but Ininderstand that you need a rounding of economic drivers in every neighborhood.


those aren't correct units

those aren't correct units nbrs, but one thing HP has is a reputation for keeping developers out. RE: the similar proposal that would've rehabbed much of the fairmount block from the bridge to the Riverside theater, was pulled and not one project has happened since. there are 14 or so empty store fronts just in that block alone. Developers want to and need to go up ( living space above retail/comml space) to make it viable and with the stigma of a dug in opposition its not worth it.

We'll have to see what happens on the corner of Dana & HP ave - 9-10 units with retail, very limited or no designated parking on a busy corner - but its good proximity to the bus and commuter line. If that works there - then maybe there will some confidence in fixing Fairmount/Logan & Cleary.

Fairmount project

Was actually the Southwest CDC's first attempt to build something in Hyde Park. And they were going to use the land between Nott Street and the train station as a parking lot for the project.

After it collapsed, that's when the mayor, sorry, the former mayor, suggested using the land for housing ...

1 space per unit /=/ "transit oriented"

27 car spaces for 27 units? They assume that low income households living in affordable housing directly across from the station will have car ownership rates higher than the citywide average? Why would zipcar want to be there when the CDC is bending over backward to make car ownership easy and cheap?


Parking requirements for new

Parking requirements for new buildings are a major reason why housing is UNaffordable around here. Once you're building more than a 2- or 3-family house, the costs to provide off-street parking go up exponentially.

Until the 1950s it was legal to build apartments with *no* off-street parking. Such buildings are still great places to live today. Local governments should allow developers to build more of them.

A friend from Japan couldn't believe how many close-in neighborhoods around here have 2- and 3-family houses instead of apartment buildings. We need to make it easier to build more housing. That's the only way to make it more affordable to live here.


ZipCar has options

No building needs a ZipCar depot, one can often be placed nearby. There is one a block from me at a gas station next to a bus stop, such synergy! Building management can decide how many spots, if any, it will lease to ZipCar when it knows if and how many vacant parking spots are available. Chances are Zipcar usage may come from proximity to the T stop more than building residents. Why should the developers bend over to help ZipCar while losing value on units to give them parking? Perhaps condo buyers could lease spots to ZipCar instead.

just what I always wanted

...a view out my front window of a commuter rail train, train horn, etc. from my cell-block-looking apartment.

Newsflash to "transit-oriented development" proponents: I want to be a few minutes walk from said transit, not RIGHT ON IT. I enjoy my sleep, not having the building tremble, etc. If it isn't light rail, don't put people's homes right on top of it.

Cute use of electric integrated power unit cars (is that medium rail? I forget the terminology) that don't exist in the illustration, too.



I enjoy my sleep, not having the building tremble, etc. If it isn't light rail, don't put people's homes right on top of it.

I live around 50 feet from the Fitchburg line tracks. My home doesn't tremble and I don't jump out of my sleep as a train passes.

No one's forcing you to live beside a train station.


Agree! I lived real close to

Agree! I lived real close to train tracks at one time, now I can still hear them where I am but not so close, and I actually find it relaxing. There was a bridge trouble years ago and the commuter trains couldn't run, I couldn't stand the quiet.

Now at night as I fall asleep, I can hear a commuter train in the distance and I find it relaxing. Something like white noise maybe?



I would not buy or rent a house/apartment right NEXT to tracks -- but I don't mind trains passing by a few blocks away. I've been in earshot of train traffic for around 30 years -- in three cities. ;-}

Great...except there would

Great...except there would actually have to be running trains of the Fairmount Line and not this daily cancellation BS we've been subjected to lately. Plus there's no weekend service. You'd have to be a fool to pay market rate for living at service that's barely there.


Line incomplete

The line still doesn't have it's own dedicated rolling stock, and there's Blue Hill Ave Station which isn't even under construction yet. Why run a full blown schedule when you're going to be shutting down for new station construction starting next year?

What shutdown?

Neither the Orange Line nor the Commuter Rail lines have shut down for construction of Assembly Square or of Fenway stations. I'm not even sure the delays sometimes caused by those projects is measurable among all the breakdown-related delays.

The line eventually is

The line eventually is supposed to go over to DMUs, which I believe are geared toward high-level platforms. All of the new stations have high-level platforms, but the Readville/Fairmount station platforms still need to be raised. It's not so much an issue of construction shutdowns as it is a matter of having rolling stock to service the line. The DMUs wouldn't be usable right now and obviously you wouldn't purchase new equipment if it was going to be obsolete in 5 years.


Does anybody know the per unit cost of this glorified mini public housing project, and more importantly, where the money is coming from? It's all low-income housing, meaning no developer trying to make money would touch it with a ten foot pole, unless it's all grant money and it's not costing him anything out of pocket. My guess is it's another one of those feel-good $750k+ per unit projects, with most of the money coming out of taxpayer pockets. Makes way more sense than spending less than $75k a unit to refurbish all those dilapidated empty triple-deckers - why fix existing housing when you can really line your pockets with new construction?


Affordable Housing Finance Primer

I can't speak for this particular development, but if your questions are sincere:

Per-unit costs run about $350-400k on this kind of development depending on the land costs and construction type - union vs open shop also makes a huge difference. No one pays $750k a unit. It would be absolutely impossible to finance and subsidize at that development cost.

Affordable doesn't necessarily mean very low-income. Most deals have a variety of subsidy in them, and most programs target working class people between 50% and 80% of the Area Median Income. Subsidies for people with very low to no income, such as a project based section 8 voucher, are few and far between. The typical deal will be lucky to land a handful of them.

How is it financed? Start with the mortgage. Yes, even households in affordable units pay rent. That rent creates an income stream (possibly enlarged by a subsidy on a few of the units) which a bank will lend against. It's the same as any market apartment development, but because the rents are low, the mortgage probably only covers somewhere between 25% and 50% of the deal (as opposed to 70-80% on a market deal). Often, an affordable or mixed-income development will then turn to Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The IRS allocates these credits to the state, which DHCD then gives to developers on a competitive basis, who then partner with a private investor in return for cash. The cash proceeds from the credits take care of another maybe 30% of the deal. The last 20% or so is made up piecemeal by a number of smaller grants and soft second loans, usually worth about $500k-$1M a pop and each with its own strings attached.

So, some but by no means most of the money comes from "taxpayer pockets" (unless you mean the taxpayers who are paying rent to live there). In return, the City gets badly needed housing, construction jobs, and lots of work for architects, lawyers, bankers, and bureaucrats. It turns into a net positive for public finances.


50-75% taxpayer subsidized?

You stated that "the mortgage probably only covers somewhere between 25% and 50% of the deal (as opposed to 70-80% on a market deal)." So, does this mean that taxpayers are picking up the rest, one way or another through tax credits and grants?

Would adding more floors to the project lower costs to taxpayers, besides making higher value upper floor units?

Yet another ignorant asshole anon

Read a book: "No Shame in My Game"

There are MANY working families who would qualify for these apartments because we don't pay our minimum wage workers enough to live at market rate. Furthermore, they work the shit jobs that you don't even know exist because they refuse to simply rely on the state and choose to try and be self-sufficient. More of them these days aren't able to do that and end up turning to food stamps and other means just to survive while doing everything within their power to elevate enough to go back to shunning the support systems that you claim breed laziness and "bait people into poverty".

Nobody in their right mind ever says "I don't want to try harder because I'll stop getting some pittance of a handout". Would you tell your boss that you don't want to make $80,000 a year instead of $60,000/yr because your taxes might go from 5% to 6%? Of course not! It's the same thing! If the opportunity to advance was presented, they'd take it...and be able to afford better than whatever subsidized place you claim they'd lose access to.

These housing situations exist because we allow people to be paid well under the cost of survival. They take those jobs because they want to be able to provide for themselves...even though it actually dooms them into a no-win situation. That no-win situation is still better psychologically for them than the alternative even though people like you keep on portraying it like it's a golden ticket which will motivate them to ignore what their own psyche wants them to do for themselves.

So, do us all a favor and educate yourself. My guess is that you're not as far above the quality of life that these people are trying to find their way out of. With the trend in the data that we see today, that means you're not far behind ending up in the exact same spot even though you've fooled yourself into thinking you're just one step behind the well-off. You're more one of them than you are one of the 1%, so be sure to let us know when you've decided you don't want to try harder and are willing to be baited into poverty. You seem to think it'll be an easy decision when you get there.



You may live in Boston but you'll never be a Bostonian. You're not from here. If i moved to China, that wouldn't make me Chinese.


No it's just infuriating

When you have a bunch a whinny liberals who ride in from out of town in their Prius's and think they know whats best for Boston. And at the same time consistently talk shit about the people who grew up here. But what do i know, im a White Irish-American from Boston, so according to the UHub crew im a racist bigot from Southie.

Deal with it

Was going to say something about the poor persecuted Irish and how if only we could elect an Irish-American mayor things would improve for you, but no, enough's enough. I've lived here longer than where I grew up and damn right I have every bit as much of a right as you to consider the city's future. And I vote! And yeah, I drive a Prius. Deal.


It's whiny, not whinny. I don

It's whiny, not whinny. I don't drive a Prius. I have an Irish last name. My ancestors immigrated from Ireland to Boston during the potato famine. Not Catholic. I'm a Democrat. I live in Boston. Was born in NH. Can't we just shut the fuck up about the stereotypes!!??


If you think you're a Bostonian

You obviously don't understand what being a Bostonian mean. You didn't grow up here, you didn't play youth sports here, you didn't go to school here, you don't have neighborhood friend you ran around the street as a kid with, ect..... You're not a Bostonian, not even close. Your kids YES, You NO!

It's this attitude

that led my wife and I to leave Hyde Park and Boston altogether. We lived in Hyde Park for 5 years but we weren't born in Boston, we didn't go to college here, and our house wasn't a 100 years old. I've lived all over the US and Bostonians are the only ones that not only didn't embrace newcomers but openly looked down upon them.


...you're afraid to tell us who you are. If you're not going to create a profile, why don't you man up and at least put your name up there? Until you do, you're just a random anon whose opinions should be taken with a great big grain of salt.

Armchair quarterbacks

I'm always amused by commenters like those above armchair quarterbacking the developer's proposals. Just because you personally wouldn't want to live in a mixed-income development or near the train or whatever your thing is does not mean that there aren't others out there that will happily pay for those homes. Almost no development - especially a mixed-income development with likely upwards of 5 or 6 financial participants - moves forward unless the risk-averse folks who invest in these deals are convinced that there is a market for it.


Absolutely, Jmaddenmass, I

Absolutely, Jmaddenmass, I hear you on the fact that things like this don't move forward unless the 'city' or the financiers thinks it's a net positive. That doesn't automatically equate with a net positive for Hyde Park's business district. But again I don't have all the facts and in no way did I mean for any of my posts to seem inflammatory although I understand they may have come across that way. Also I think it's fair to say that this is not really presented as a mixed income development, and had I read it that way I wouldn't have had anything to say about it other than "great"

Yes, net positive for Hyde Park's business district

Have you walked around Logan Square recently? I'm struggling to think how this project would NOT improve that area. It replaces a building that's so dangerous firefighters from down the block won't even go in it if it catches on fire, and could encourage further redevelopment of that area. Now if only somebody could do something with that equally derelict old factory (or whatever it was) building on the other side of the Fairmount Line.


Sure. I think Boston needs

Sure. I think Boston needs more housing. The lack of stock is part of the problem, but the market rents in Hyde Park I beleive were the lowest in the city? There are neighborhoods that could incorporate affordable and even low-income housing and the neighborhood economy could sustain. Hyde Park does not seem to be that type of neighborhood. Are any of the complexes going up in Fort Point and South boston waterfront 90 percent affordable? Why do so many developments in Hyde Park have stipulations on them? Artist requirements, income etc. 60k is not a lot for a family of two in Boston and the breadwinner in this situation will not be driving wine sales at Fairmount Grill.

Subsidizing market rents

If the market rents in Hyde Park are really that low, that may be why it takes affordable housing to get any development moving there. At today's construction prices, it takes rents around $3 per SF (think $2100/month for a 1BR) to pay for a new building.

Contrary to the bizarre popular belief that developers raise market rents to subsidize affordable (if you think you can charge an above market price, I've got a 2004 Ford I'd love to sell you for $15k); the affordable housing subsidies are often what enable a developer to create unrestricted market units in a building where the market rents don't pay for themselves.

And the developer offsets the

And the developer offsets the cost by raising the rent or sale price for all the other units. A few get an affordable unit and everyone else sees real estate become less affordable.

Boston needs to stop with the counterproductive Robin Hood politics of envy and red tape. Building more housing is the only way supply will ever meet demand and bring costs down.

Thanks for playing!

They don't raise the rent or the sale price for the other units because the people won't pay more that a unit is worth. But they may be offsetting the ability to build "luxury" condos elsewhere by building affordable housing here.


I don't see

....luxury housing being built in HP for Logan Square for the foreseeable future...maybe in Rozzie and JP!
Also, check the stats: HP has one of the lowest proportions of subsidized housing of any Boston neighborhood...we can do our part.

I'll say this slowly then

The luxury development doesn't have to be anywhere near the affordable part. That's often the point. In exchange for high ROI units in an expensive/highly desirable area, developer builds affordable housing elsewhere (but all of it within Boston). The reason they can afford to develop below market rate is they are bringing in big money on the luxury units. Which they wouldn't be allowed to build at all without the 2nd project. Developer gets to make a pot of money, affordable housing also gets built that couldn't otherwise, taxes and jobs all around.

The facts about who will live there

If you come to the meeting tonight you will see the follwoing facts presented:

Of the 24 "affodable" units, 21 are targeted for working families. Proposed rents for these apartments -- which are higher than the develpers would like are:
Studio $925
1BR $1100
2 BR $1321
3 BR $1525

all about $150 below the "market" rents

The units will serve famlies with income between $28,000 ( for the smallest units) to $66,000 (for the largest units)
The terms "affordable" and "low Income" are very confusing becuase they are based on a geogrpahic area that extends from Quincy to Framingham to Methuen, and have little to do with the income profile of the City of Boston Southwest Boston CDC projects that the median ( that is, the exact middle)
household income of all residents of the develpment when built will be about $45,500 in present dollars, compared to the median household income in the City of Boston of $51,450


Honest question here. Do

Honest question here. Do working families rent studio apartments? By family, I assume is meant at least 1 parent and 1 child. Better to move to a cheaper city then pay $925 for neither parent nor child to have a bedroom just to live in a new development. Boston IS crazy expensive. There are cheaper nearby cities: Randolph, Lawrence, Worcester, Haverhill, Manchester, NH, and so on and so forth. I have plenty of friends and relatives who work in Boston and would love to live in Boston too, but they don't because they can't afford it. In total agreement that there should be housing for working middle class families in the city of Boston, but the yuppification of so many neighborhoods has decreased everyone's options.

Res at Fairmount Station

From what I know about the Res at Fairmount: This strikes me as a perfectly reasonable proposal which strives to build new housing for "work force" folks as well as subsidized residents: should new housing only be for folks who can afford it (I know I can't!)? Also, I agree that it will be good for Logan Sq, maybe jumpstart new development and investment (affordable housing projects do help with this) in the area, vastly improve what is currently there, and possibly provide construction jobs for folks in Hyde Park.


Yes. That's 60 percnee of

Yes. That's 60 percnee of the Boston metro area income -- the area that runs from Quincy to Framingham to Methuen. That figure is about 1 .5 times the 60 percnet of median income figure for the City of Boston. A petition to Mayor Walsh is currently circulating asking that the City begin to use City of Boston income figures in setting housing policy and awarding housing subsidies.

So you want housing to be affordable

You know why it isn't? Supply.


I swear - New England is so freaking loony about butting into property decisions. Oh well - enjoy your excessive rent that comes with nosy bitching privileges. It will definitely keep anything from being built that you might possibly have to look at at some point in your day.