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Developer proposes artist-centric affordable condos in Uphams Corner, around corner from artist studios on Humphreys Street

Rendering of proposed Hillsboro Street building

Rendering by Icon Architecture.

A developer that helped preserve artist studios in an old industrial building on Humphreys Street in Dorchester filed plans today to build a 21-unit condo building nearby in which all the units would be sold to people making no more than 80% to 100% of the Boston area median income - with 18 of them marketed to artists.

In its filing with the BPDA, William Madsen Hardy's New Atlantic Development says the building, on what is now a vacant lot at the end of Hillsboro Street, would have a mix of condo sizes, ranging from studios to three-bedroom units.

The Hillsboro Live/Work Condominiums are an extension of the effort New Atlantic undertook to preserve the adjacent Humphreys Street Studios buildings – a commercial artist studios property that serves approximately 45 artists and creative small businesses, most of whom are low and moderate-income.

The building, less than a half mile from the Uphams Corner commuter-rail stop, would have six parking spaces.

New Atlantic says the building would play off the artist focus of the Humphreys Street building:

While not physically connecting to the Humphreys Street Studios, the proposed artist live work condominiums draw reference to the artist use through the application of materials and simple forms. Traditionally industrial exterior materials proposed for the building include corrugated metal siding with detailing at seams and window heads. Durable materials will reduce maintenance and repair costs for the resident owners for the future. Playful colorful elements will enliven the primary façade and relate to the smaller scale of the residential neighborhood. Facing onto Hillsboro Street, the primary building entrance will be set in by a couple of feet, and will be clad in a warm wood toned material, to invite one inside. The interior lobby will also act as a Gallery, providing space to highlight work by the resident artists. Features of the building that are designed to facilitate artist’s creative endeavors include double doors at the main entry, a broad corridor width (seven feet) and an elevator sized for freight or large pieces of art. Unit entry doors, where possible, will also be oversized (42" width). Additionally, shared workspace in the basement will include a slop sink, to allow for "messy" work and cleanup.

0 Hillsboro St. filings and meeting schedule.

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Comments

I mean why artists housing and not teacher housing or bagging clerk housing?

Just curious how artist housing became a zoning option? What is the history behind it?

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Voting closed 36

It's something the BPDA, which isn't directly involved in zoning, considers, as part of its supposed goal of not just letting developers run roughshod but actually improving the city. The difference between artists and, say, supermarket baggers, is the whole cultural issue, that artists contribute to the public space in a way that baggers, as important as they are, do not - and most artists are not rich and so have the same problems as other low-income people in finding housing, to the point that the city has decided it wants to help artists in particular, stay in the city to prevent the entire city from becoming just another soulless Seaport (all of which was built under the BPDA's watch, but that's another issue).

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Voting closed 37

There is a sort of colorful history to why artists get special treatment in affordable housing and it is not entirely above board. It has a lot to do with the fact that people who are able to be financially self sufficient while earning the majority of their income from their art are much more likely to be white and childless than the average person that might qualify for so-called “affordable” housing.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/05/affordable-housing-...

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Voting closed 18

Artists were displaced from the Fort Point neighborhood - and other Boston neighborhoods it's been at least 10 years since it started.

There's an interesting article in the Globe of 8/5/23.

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Voting closed 9

Mon Dieu!!!

I was displaced from the South End owing to rising rents but since I don't do arts and crafts, I guess I can't have inexpensive housing? Is that the logic?

"Artists" have been given a lot of breaks in housing by the city. If some of the stuff that I have seen at open houses is any indication of what artists (not saying all, but many) produce, we got a scam going on.

Perhaps I can get my cheap rent back if I hit Michael's up this weekend and hot glue some stuff to a purse.

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Voting closed 39

I wonder what constitutes an artist these days in the eyes of the BPDA?

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Voting closed 12

Artists are disproportionately impacted by gentrification. Most of us do not make a living off of our chosen creative path, and have to pay exorbitant monthly rent to share studio/practice space, the latter which is down to 3 locations within Boston city limits (one is at risk of being shut down, one is kinda unsafe in terms of load in/out, and the third is temporary until the city builds another space and only because they were publicly pressured). The concept of the artist that is making money solely off their art or music is largely a myth, especially for the Millennials and Z'ers.

We can't afford to live here. Many of us live and work our chosen day jobs in the city. Many of us are in the service industry, operations, teachers, counselors, and indeed, grocery store workers. It's kind of a joke because the requirements that the BPDA puts on income-restricted housing limits income as well as the assets/savings to move in. Until the system is redesigned to be truly affordable and inclusionary and make sense, it will be a throwaway 'there, there' to the masses so that unrestricted luxury apartment building can continue without interruption.

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Voting closed 27

Yeah most folks have to work to support doing what they love.

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Voting closed 33

your narrow definition of work isn’t universal

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Voting closed 9

It's messed up, but the work of artists (of all kinds) isn't valued except for the very few who are wildly successful. Compare this to, say, techbros. The average techbro's work has no more utility than the average artist's, but...

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Voting closed 7

. . . of the gentry.

Raise "hipness" factor of neighborhood to lure Bobos (Bourgeois Bohemians) with money into a neighborhood. Gentrification ensues.

Most artists these days are people with rich parents and the economic security to afford art school and later the time to fool around.

They produce the trite derivative shit you'd expect from them.

Look around and see the cultural exhaustion.

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Voting closed 9

Most artists these days are people with rich parents and the economic security to afford art school and later the time to fool around.

Isn't that the point of subsidizing art, in a society that doesn't value it? So that it won't be the exclusive province of the "gentry", as you call them?

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Voting closed 9

but having observed direct subsidies in Europe, they don't produce a lot of great work, just amusing work.

Committee-approved stuff and regional-folkloric work.

We probably need a little oppression to create great work a'la The Inquisition or Communism. At least McCarthyism or regal autocracy.

Subsidized artist housing is a Real Estate value appreciation play. The street in question is notorious for Cape Verdean gang activity, so they've decided to replace them with hipsters

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Voting closed 6

Did I miss a Constitutional Amendment requiring ALL new construction to take the shape of soulless grey boxes? I mean, at least this has a few hideous orange squares to break up the monotony...

What artist would want to be trapped in this horror?

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Voting closed 26

probably an artist looking for stable and affordable housing and work space in the city

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Voting closed 25

That artists are often located in the ugliest buildings?

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Dot Block down the street from Uphams is just the same. It should be against the law to clad new buildings in corrugated metal siding it looks so incredibly cheap and unbelievably bad.

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Voting closed 7

According to the BPDA chart (link is provided in the original posting), a one person household at 100% average median income (AMI) earns $104k per year or $119k for a two person household. This is not exactly for the emerging/starving artist.

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Voting closed 7

1. That’s 100% AMI, but the project targets a range of incomes
2. That’s an income limit, not a target rent. The rents in article 80 projects are targeted at incomes around 20 percentage points below the income limit, so in this project the studios will have rent that is 1/3rd of the annual income of someone that makes $60k/year (roughly the median income of the Upham’s Corner zip code)

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Voting closed 7

What do u have to provide? Do u have to be an artist with a degree and making a living as an artist? What media of art that one specializes in gets a roof over the head? Fighting for housing is like when people were stampeding and turning into mayhem during Christmas in 1980s when there were 2 Cabbage Patch Dolls left at the mall.

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Voting closed 11

Of course the city has a formal system to become a "registered" artist who can apply for housing like this.

You must be able to show a recent body of work. This means your artistic resume or CV needs to give evidence of artistic work over the past three years, and samples of your art work must be dated to be considered. You also need to be at least 18 years old.

The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture reviews Artist Housing Certification applications. Decision are final. If you are rejected, it is because your application did not prove active artistic work in the past three years. You can re-apply if your application is rejected.

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Voting closed 12