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Middle Income Housing Initiative aims to build on vacant Roxbury lots

Posted by Patrick Rosso  March 26, 2013 05:46 PM

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(Image courtesy DND)

The locations of the Maywood Street properties to be sold.

A new initiative looks to boost middle-income home ownership in Boston, and especially in Roxbury.

Representatives from the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development were in the area Monday evening to talk about the city’s Middle Income Housing Initiative and vacant lots in the neighborhood it plans to sell as part of the program.

“It’s a segment that has kind of been neglected,” said Reay Pannesi, a senior planner for DND. “Boston has done a good job with affordable housing, but the middle segment needs a better selection of housing.”

The program has three goals: increase the number of middle income home buyers to offset losses from the foreclosure crisis, support property values in higher foreclosure neighborhoods, and create business for smaller local contractors and builders.

Monday’s meeting, which pitched five Maywood Street lots, is just the first phase of the program. In two years the city hopes to provide land for over a million square-feet of housing across the city for middle-income home buyers. Pannesi said a potential buyer could be a family of four making between $80,000 to $100,000,

The city hopes to sell the Roxbury lots, possibly at 50 percent of their assessed value, to a developer who will build “quality” single-family to three-family homes for first time home buyers.

“The developer will have to make it marketable and affordable,” said Pannesi.

Although the city would not set the end price for the homes or place requirements, DND representatives said they’d expect developers to sell the properties at rates comparable to other nearby real estate, estimating a home could cost between $350,000-$400,000.

The city-owned lots proposed for sale are 23 Maywood St.; 41 Maywood St.; and 46, 50, and 54 Maywood, which are connected. DND said they’d like to sell the five lots together. Pannesi said one potential scenario could bring four buildings housing a total of four to eight units to the lots.

“We want a project that will enhance the area and get a lot done at once and by getting one developer to do all five that helps,” said Pannesi.

The lots together total close to 20,000 square-feet and are valued at close to $189,000, according to the city’s assessing Department.

Currently the department is creating a Request For Proposal for the public sale of the properties, which is expected to be out in the coming weeks, with the RFP most likely on the market for 45-50 days.

In addition to encouraging developers, builders, and contractors who would construct single-, two-, and three-family homes, DND said it is also looking for developers who can complete the project in a timely manner and build as-of-right structures that do not need zoning relief.

Any builder that bids on the project and is then tentatively designated by DND wouldn’t be required to purchase the land until building permits were in place and the neighborhood has vetted the project at a community meeting.

Pannesi also said while the department is open to all offers on the property, condominium projects, those that need extensive zoning relief, and prefab construction would not be encouraged.

More about the process and property can be found at

Maywood Street’s lots are only a small portion of the vacant parcels the city is planning on selling in Roxbury, Mattapan, and Dorchester as part of the program.

A meeting was recently held about a similar project with lots in the Gleason Street area in Dorchester. There are also upcoming meetings on projects in the Mt. Bowdoin Terrace area in Dorchester and the Callendar Street area in Mattapan.

In the Gleason Street area, which includes vacant lots on Bradshaw Street and Bicknell Street, the city has proposed selling close to 36,000-square-feet of land.

On Mt. Bowdoin Terrace, Nottingham Street, and Mallon Street the city has proposed selling more than 58,000-square-feet of land.

On Callendar Street, Tucker Street, and Lauriant Street the city has proposed selling more than 51,000-square feet of property.

Overall the four sites could possibly bring more than 25 new owner-occupied homes to the neighborhoods and move more than an assessed $1.5-million in city property.

A community meeting for the Mt. Bowdoin Terrace area properties will be held Mar. 27 at the Greenwood Memorial United Methodist Church. It begins at 6:30 p.m.

A community meeting for the Callendar Street area properties has been set for Apr. 9 at the Mattapan Branch Public Library. It will begin at 6 p.m.

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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