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Governor Healey Announces Funding for Upham’s Corner Columbia Crossing Development

May 22, 2023


Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation (DBEDC) and Preservation of Affordable Housing’s Columbia Crossing development is one of 27 affordable housing projects that will receive state funding from the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Winter 2023 funding round according to a public announcement today by Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll. The undersecretary announced this will be the largest award this year.

Located in Upham’s Corner, Columbia Crossing will transform the historic Dorchester Savings Bank building and adjacent parking lot into an approximately 76,000 square foot mixed-use, mixed-income residential, commercial, and retail complex. The project consists of new construction of a six-story building addition to the back of the existing Dorchester Savings Bank, as well as restoration of the Bank’s street facing facade and adaptive reuse of the interior bank hall. Columbia Crossing will produce 48 new affordable rental units, including artist housing and associated arts amenity space, designated for households earning between 30% and 80% Area Median Income. Approximately 20% of the units will be reserved for artists under the City of Boston’s Artist Housing Certification program, and there will be 2,000 square feet of arts amenity space for resident use.

The building design will include an all-electric heating and cooling system and will incorporate Passive House standards in support of Boston’s resiliency, sustainability, and carbon neutral 2050 goals. Stull & Lee, Inc. and Moody Nolan have partnered on the architecture.

The development will also include 3,500 square feet of commercial space, with a preference for community-centered arts and innovation entities. The rehabilitation of the bank building will include the creation of a premier display space referred to as the Glow Box, which can be converted to an indoor-outdoor space.  

The creation of artist housing and arts/culture/community oriented commercial space marks Columbia Crossing as the first to advance of several key sites identified in a ten-year community planning initiative for establishing Upham’s Corner as an Arts & Innovation District. Other sites include the Strand Theatre and 555-559 Columbia Road, which formerly housed a Bank of America branch.

Dudley Neighbors Inc. (DNI), an affiliate of Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), a local community land trust, is the landowner and will remain the ground lease holder of the land the project will be built on. DNI selected the POAH-DBEDC team through a competitive, community-driven RFP process. Predevelopment funds are being loaned by The Life Initiative.

“The Columbia Crossing project reflects the Uphams Corner neighborhood’s desire to create a diverse, affordable community and promote a celebration of arts and culture,” said Rodger L. Brown, Jr. Managing Director of Real Estate at POAH. “POAH is excited to be working with Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation to bring this vision to fruition.”

“We are grateful to the Department of Housing and Community Development for funding this project in furtherance of development without displacement in a neighborhood highly vulnerable to rising rents and income disparities” said DBEDC CEO Kimberly R. Lyle. “This project will provide critically-needed affordable rental housing in the midst of a state-wide housing crisis and serve as a catalyst for future investment in the Upham’s Corner neighborhood.”

Columbia Crossing received Boston Planning and Development Agency approval in November 2022 and was awarded City funding in February 2023. Construction is expected to begin in 2024.

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