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Lottery set for low-cost Glenville condos

A neighborhood dominated by young professionals and students is about to get an infusion of home-owning families with low and moderate incomes.

Three years ago, the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation bought more than 100 units on or near Glenville Avenue, a one-way alley between Harvard Street and Commonwealth Avenue . Next month, the group will open applications for people who meet income limits and want to purchase one of 33 units at 48-52 Glenville Ave. .

The remaining 59 units, at 10 Long Ave., 114 and 118 Glenville Ave., are rental units for income-qualified tenants. Called the Ray Dooley Apartments, after an aide to former mayor Ray Flynn, they and the condos join 235 tenant-managed apartments at Glenville and Comm. Ave. that the development corporation helped renters purchase in 1997.

"Our overall intent when we acquired the units was to bring some homeownership into the neighborhood," said Robert Van Meter, executive director of the CDC. But with thousands of rental apartments in the immediate vicinity, he said, 33 is only a start. "It's a statement of our view of the neighborhood and what's required for stability and quality of life."

A study by the CDC's Heather Kopsnyder released this spring demonstrated the need for lower-cost housing in the neighborhood. It found that more than 42 percent of Allston-Brighton's households earn less than Boston's median annual household income, calculated by the Department of Neighborhood Development at roughly $44,000.

Rents and home prices, meanwhile, are well above what such families can afford -- in part because of the demand from students who don't live in dorms and from recent graduates.

The Glenville developments are aimed to help families put down roots, which helps reverse a trend Kopsnyder documents. Her report found that in the 2000 Census, the number of families had declined from 1990 by 13.5 percent. The planned expansions of Harvard University in North Allston and Boston College in western Brighton will further reduce affordable housing, she wrote.

As a result, the CDC expects more first-time homebuyers than available condominiums at 48-52 Glenville Ave. As with many such properties, these will be offered to qualified buyers via a lottery.

Anyone with income of 80 percent or less of the median income for Greater Boston, which includes some neighboring communities, as figured by the federal government, would qualify, said Van Meter. For a single-person household, the income limit would be $46,300.

Applications to be in the lottery are due Aug. 13, and a drawing will be held at the end of the month. Those selected will have to come up with the funding and show their financial circumstances haven't changed before they can purchase. The first occupants are expected in December.

Following a complete renovation of the four-story brick structure, the apartments should be fairly attractive to buyers, said Wendy Cohen, director of housing development for CDC.

The units will range from studios to two bedrooms, of which two are wheelchair accessible, Cohen said. There is no reserved parking, but it is a short walk to the MBTA's B Line and buses.

Information sessions will be held July 24 in English (Spanish translation available) and July 28 in Spanish. For details or to register, call the development corporation at 617-787-3874, ext. 35.