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Bartlett Station cuts ribbon on 76-unit housing complex

New buildings are first to open in planned development

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the Banner’s senior editor. VIEW BIO
Bartlett Station cuts ribbon on 76-unit housing complex
Windale Developers President Arnold Johnson speaks during the ribbon cutting ceremony for new housing units at the Bartlett Station site. BANNER PHOTO

City officials and representatives of the Nuestra Comunidad community development corporation and Windale Developers last Thursday cut the ceremonial ribbon on the first residential and commercial buildings on the Bartlett Station site, with 76 housing units and 13,000 square feet of commercial space.

The buildings are the first part of a multi-phase redevelopment of the former Bartlett Yard MBTA bus maintenance facility that the Boston Planning and Development Agency put out to bid in 2005.

The Bartlett Station development is a joint venture between Nuestra Comunidad and Windale Developers that promises a total of 383 units of housing and 30,000 square feet of commercial space. Of the completed units, two-thirds are affordable, and 32 of those are restricted to households earning less than 60 percent of the area median income.

“Affordable housing is the key to opportunity for families and helps give our residents a good quality of life,” said Mayor Martin Walsh during the ribbon-cutting.

Windale Developers President Arnold Johnson, who started his firm 30 years ago with co-owner George Chin and Eddie Faria, said much has changed over three decades.

“We noticed that [back then] we were underrepresented as minority contractors,” he said.

But on the Bartlett Place project, he noted, 76 percent of the workforce consisted of people of color and 55 percent of the subcontracts went to minority business enterprises.

In addition to the 383 housing units, the Bartlett Station plan includes a nonprofit grocery store chain and a 15,000 square-foot performing arts plaza at the center of the development. The housing will include 217 apartments and 166 owner-occupied units. The units that opened last Thursday included 60 rental apartments and a 16-unit condominium building.

While neighborhood residents approved a request for proposals calling for a mixture of residential and commercial space, Nuestra Comunidad sparked controversy a few years ago with a plan to locate a new building for the Conservatory Lab Charter School on the site. The charter school backed out of the plan in 2016, citing neighborhood opposition, and is currently building a new facility on Columbia Road.

Walsh noted that the Bartlett ribbon-cutting was the third he had attended in three days. The mayor cut the ribbon on a 32-unit Paris Village development in East Boston on Tuesday, and on Wednesday marked the renovation and preservation of 97 units of affordable housing at the Newcastle/Sarnac Apartments on Columbus Avenue in Lower Roxbury.

The Walsh administration has set a goal of creating 69,000 units of housing by 2030, including 15,820 affordable units, to accommodate Boston’s growing population. If successful, the city will have a total of 70,000 income-restricted units.

“At a time when the federal government is stepping back from investments in affordable housing, Boston and our partners are stepping up,” Walsh said at the Bartlett Station ribbon-cutting.

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