Board approves new apartments, condos on Soldiers Field Road in Brighton

Proposed Soldiers Field Road project

The Board of Appeals this week approved a developer's plans for a 211-unit apartment building on Soldiers Field Road near where Western Avenue and Birmingham Parkway and a separate building with 38 affordable condos.

Dinosaur Capital Partners of the Back Bay will also work with DCR to develop a new pedestrian and bike path along what is now a strip of older commercial buildings and auto dealerships.

The apartment building, which would front Soldiers Field Road, would have 149 parking spaces for its market-rate units. The condo building, to be built behind that, would have 27 parking spaces - and deed restrictions in which half the units could not be sold to people making more than 80% of the Boston area median income and the other half to people making no more than 100% of that.

The BPDA approved the proposal in May.

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separate...

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but equal?

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Financing, probably

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Developers lose money on below-market rate condos, so the shortfall has to come from some outside source. That other source is likely a tax credit, subsidized loan, or other payment from one of the layers of government. It's complex, time consuming work to get this kind of subsidized project financed.

It will be easier to finance the condo building with all the messy subsidies, etc., as one entity and then get separate, conventional financing for the apartments. That way neither project is wholly dependent on the other. Also probably makes it easier to do construction on separate phases if the two loans are separate. And since one project is built for resale as condos and the other is built for income as apartments, there's yet another reason to have them be separately financed.

Nothing nefarious about it. The end result of having segregated income classes in separate buildings is not ideal. But we have decided to do a lottery system for a handful of lower income people to have decent housing instead of working to bring prices down by building more supply for everyone. And that lottery system then creates all kinds of downstream issues like this one.

The better solution would be to address income inequality across the board and simultaneously to address our massive housing shortage by getting over our fear of density and fixing our dismal public transit system. But those things are never going to happen, so I guess we'll just keep sticking bandaids on the gaping wound of our housing and wealth distribution problems and then complain about the bandaids not working.

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Thanks

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For the comprehensive explanation. Financing is also how we got redlining, right? So I could see how that is likely the explanation.

I keep thinking of that Harvard Institute director with her smarmy "Do you live in the low income apartments?" Hate to think of how obvious that separation is here.

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