After more than four years of renovations, the revamped Adams Court apartment complex is showing a new face to its Mattapan neighborhood.
Representatives from the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) and local community development organizations gathered with residents last month to celebrate the grand re-opening of Adams Court, located at 431-439 River Street. The event represented the end of a long journey that began when DND and Roxbury-based nonprofit Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation acquired the complex back in January 2004.
Renovations, undertaken with help from the Mattapan Community Development Corporation (MCDC), took 52 months to complete. In addition to construction, city officials said, the work included a laundry list of improvements — upgrades to mechanical, electrical and fire safety systems, the installation of new insulation and windows, and the “updating” of kitchens and bathrooms.
The re-opening of Adams Court’s 95 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments has been heralded as a critical addition to the city’s affordable housing stock at a time when such residences can be hard to come by.
Nuestra Comunidad’s Paul Francois, the support services coordinator at Adams Court, said that if private developers had acquired the property, the apartment complex likely would have been converted into market-rate condominiums. Such a move, he said, may have displaced many original residents and raised rents in the area.
Instead, Francois said, the Adams Court apartments — subsidized by government tax credits and qualifying for Section 8 vouchers — cost an average of $900 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. That price includes heat, hot water and parking.
Comparable older, market-rate units throughout Mattapan can run up to $1,300 per month, plus utilities, Francois added.
According to the Mayor’s Office, six of the Adams Court units are handicapped-accessible, 10 have been set aside for formerly homeless families and eight are reserved for clients of the state Department of Mental Health who are capable of living independently.
Adams Court could be the start of a larger affordable housing project. MCDC Executive Director Spencer DeShields said that “given the foreclosure tsunami” that has swept the nation, Mattapan now has a high number of units that the city and community development corporations have “a sizeable opportunity” to acquire and convert into more affordable housing.
Residents in the new Adams Court complimented the refurbished development.
One renter, a young mother of two small children, said she likes that her apartment came with an air conditioner and guardrails on the windows. Kyle Washington and Nicole Brooks, a young professional couple, said they appreciate Adams Court’s shiny hardwood floors, well-maintained hallways and landscaped parking lot — and the quiet outside their door.
According to residents and neighbors, the complex wasn’t always such a tranquil place.
Tenant Jacquelyn “Jacquie” Anderson, a longtime Mattapan and Roxbury resident, said she has “seen it all” when it comes to the River Street development. She remembers what the complex was like in the ’70s, “when it was beautiful.” Things took a turn for the worse in later years, though; about a decade ago, Anderson said, “it looked like something straight out of a junkyard.”(p2)
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