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Elma Lewis Partners LLC to lose P3 designation

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the Banner’s senior editor. VIEW BIO
Elma Lewis Partners LLC to lose P3 designation
Parcel P3 contains seven acres of land at Tremont and Whittier streets in Roxbury. BANNER FILE PHOTO

The Boston Planning and Development Agency will not vote to renew Elma Lewis Partners LLC’s designation to develop Parcel P3, the sprawling, seven-acre parcel on with the group had planned a 727-unit housing development with commercial space and space for the Museum of the National Center for Afro American Artists.

BPDA Director Brian Golden cited a lack of firm financing commitments for the project

“The residents of Roxbury deserve a development at Parcel 3 that will create good paying jobs, economic development, affordable housing, cultural space and more,” Golden said in his statement. “While we are disappointed that the current project cannot move forward due to the development team’s lack of a viable funding source, we believe that opening this parcel up for new opportunities will allow for a community-led vision, guided by PLAN: Dudley, to determine the future of this important parcel.”

The designation for the development team is due to run out Oct. 31.

The Tremont Crossing development will include 727 housing units and 436,000 square feet of retail and community space. RENDERING: COURTESY OF ARCHITECTS

The Tremont Crossing development was to include 727 housing units and 436,000 square
feet of retail and community space.

Originally cleared of housing and commercial buildings during the Madison Park urban renewal push of the 1960s and the aborted plan to extend Interstate 95 in the 1970s, the parcel has remained mostly vacant for decades.

Elma Lewis Partners LLC was originally designated to develop the parcel in 2007, during the administration of former Mayor Thomas Menino. The partnership consists of the Museum of the National Center of Afro American Artists and Feldco Development. In 2011 Menino sought to persuade Partners Healthcare to locate its new headquarters at the site. Later, former Gov. Deval Patrick pushed for the state’s Department of Transportation to relocate to the site. Those plans fell through as well.

While BPDA officials repeatedly raised concerns about the ability of Elma Lewis Partners LLC to secure tenants and financing for the project, the agency has repeatedly renewed their designation as developers of the site.

With the withdrawal of the team’s designation, the site will go back to the community planning process.

The publicly-owned lands that fall under the PLAN: Dudley development process now require that developers build housing that is one-third affordable, one-third moderately affordable and one-third market rate. The PLAN: Dudley process also requires that developers of publicly-owned parcel include significant minority equity ownership of whatever is built.

Other Dudley parcels, including 135 Warren Street and the Blair Lot, include commercial and residential development.

District 7 City Councilor Kim Janey said re-boot of the process will give community residents a better opportunity to weigh in on what gets built on the parcel than they’ve had in the previous 12 years.

“I think this presents us with an opportunity to be really thoughtful about what we as a community would like to see on Parcel P3,” she said. “It’s important that we are intentional about creating a community where residents of this community can live and thrive for generations to come.”

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