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Developers selected for Dudley Square parcels

Developers plan 265 units plus retail space on four vacant parcels

Trea Lavery

Four Boston-based development teams have been designated by the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee to design and build on the first batch of sites in Dudley Square as part of the PLAN: Dudley redevelopment process.

At a community meeting Monday night, the project review committee for the four parcels presented its recommendations to the RSMPOC, having chosen four proposals that would add 265 units of housing to the area, along with commercial and green space.

“The idea that we were considering when we went through this whole request for proposals process was, what kind of opportunity are we bringing to our community with this development?” said PRC member and Roxbury resident Rodney Singleton during the presentation.

The chosen developers are Madison Park Development Corporation for 75-81 Dudley St.; New Urban Collaborative for 40-50 Warren St.; New Atlantic and DREAM Development for 2147 Washington St.; and Cruz Development for 135 Dudley St., the former B-2 police station site and the largest parcel.

Of the 265 housing units, 203 will be income-restricted, with a range from 30 percent of the area median income to market rate. Of the units, 136 will be rental, while the other 129 will be home ownership. There is also a size range from studio apartments to three-bedroom units.

The chosen proposals also include 49,831 square feet of commercial space, which includes retail space at below-market rents.

Other community benefits include a new, larger space for Haley House Bakery and Cafe and recommendations for the establishment of the new NAACP Boston branch headquarters at 135 Dudley St., rent-free for 10 years. In addition, Cruz Development’s proposal includes a partnership with YouthBuild Boston, a nonprofit that helps young people in underserved communities enter building trades, and the establishment of a $5,000 college scholarship to be awarded annually to a Roxbury resident.

The PRC’s decisions were based on a mix of criteria, including diversity and inclusion, development without displacement, good jobs strategy, sustainability, design and others.

The recommendations were accepted nearly unanimously by the RSMPOC, with one abstention from the vote for Madison Park Development Corporation. Madison Park was the only developer to submit a proposal for that property, and PRC member Brian Keith noted in the presentation that the committee had hesitated in even making a recommendation for the site due to the developer’s track record in minority hiring and its large number of incomplete projects.

Members of the public who attended the meeting questioned whether the chosen proposals would include low-enough rents, and enough rental versus homeownership units, to ensure that current Roxbury residents were not pushed out of the area. Some also advocated for preference to go to current residents of the neighborhood for the new units.

The presenters explained that the proposals designated do not have to, and most likely will not, be constructed exactly as they currently stand. The next step of the process will be the formation of an Impact Advisory Group, composed of PRC members and new voices from the neighborhood, which will work with the developers to refine the designs and plans to reflect the needs of the community. There will also be more community meetings in which members of the public can speak directly to the developers, and an open comment period.

Keith explained that the IAG will be looking for a lot of community participation during the process, because now that the developers have been designated, the group has a lot more leeway to ask them to change what they have proposed.

“We were working within the RFPs that were presented to us, and as we move through the process, we can push harder,” he said. “It doesn’t end here.”

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