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Proposals for Crescent Parcel center Black and women-owned businesses

Morgan C. Mullings
Staff reporter covering state and local politics. Report for America Corps Member. VIEW BIO
Proposals for Crescent Parcel center Black and women-owned businesses
Proposals from Onyx (top) and the Planning Office of Urban Affairs (bottom) for the Crescent Parcel in Lower Roxbury. ARCHITECT’S RENDERINGS

The Crescent parcel at 1125 Tremont St. has three proposals from local companies. The three developer groups — Trinity Financial and Madison Park Development Corporation, the Planning Office of Urban Affairs and J. Garland Enterprises, and OnyxGroup — want to bring affordable housing and community spaces to the 72,905 sq ft parcel. The city-owned parcel in Lower Roxbury requires that at least one-third of the housing units be affordable to low-income renters, but some teams try to exceed that. The proposals will go before the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee on June 14, along with other projects in the area that will greatly affect Nubian Square’s makeup.

Trinity Financial and Madison Park Development Corporation

Madison Park Development Corporation, in partnership with Trinity Financial, proposes a building with mostly affordable housing, surrounding a park that highlights the greenery in the existing area.

Of the 177 units of housing they’ve planned, 20% will be priced at market rate, while 36%, or 62 units, will be rentals for those with incomes at 0% to 50% of the area median income (AMI).

The half-acre of open space they’ve proposed would include a community plaza along Tremont Street, and the team outlines in their proposal the importance of preserving trees along Melnea Cass Boulevard — an important cause among conservationists in Boston.

The team includes several certified minority-owned and women-owned businesses that want to bring a real estate center to the Roxbury community.

“We’ve done everything we can to share our values relative to making sure that there’s opportunities for diverse stakeholders in the development of this project,” said Leslie Reid, CEO of Madison Park.

If this team is chosen, the Roxbury Real Estate Center will consist of 3,000 square feet of space for programming that is meant to help Roxbury residents increase their net worth. They will provide homeownership assistance, mentoring for small businesses and other members of the workforce, and information for those interested in the real estate business.

“It feels especially meaningful to see the Crescent parcel up for redevelopment. It is kind of like the last piece of the land surrounding Madison Park Village, which is our flagship development,” Reid said. Madison Park and Trinity Financial also developed Orchard Gardens public housing.

Planning Office of Urban Affairs and J. Garland Enterprises

The Planning Office of Urban Affairs (POUA), a community development branch of the Boston Archdiocese, has partnered with architect Jonathan Garland to propose Drexel Village — a two-building complex with a park and focus on the area’s existing trees.

The housing in this proposal includes 11 homeownership units, out of a total of 217 units. The POUA says 70% will be income-restricted at various levels.

The team called attention to the fact that POUA also developed an adjacent property and wants to connect both projects.

“This really is a unique opportunity, not just to redevelop the Crescent parcel, but to have a much larger and impactful development,” said Bill Grogan, president of POUA. “It will just enable us to provide that much more of an economic development impact and community impact.”

J. Garland Enterprises, a certified minority-owned business, and POUA have worked together previously, and their work centers on family and community spaces. The first building in the two-building Drexel Village complex, proposed for the section of the parcel on the corner of Tremont and Ruggles streets, will house 3,000 square feet of parish and social services that POUA normally provides.

“Some of those folks that use that facility may in fact live in the building. So it really is creating a family-focused, community-focused development,” Garland said. The developers are partnering with ABCD to bring children’s programming and other services to Roxbury through Drexel Village.

OnyxGroup

Owned and operated by two Black women, OnyxGroup is a Roxbury-based development and real estate corporation. They’ve proposed “Cass Crossing” in honor of Roxbury activist Melnea Cass. The project’s two buildings would contain 164 rental units, 38 of which will be restricted to incomes at 50% AMI. It also includes 40,000 square feet of commercial space that will become a “co-op equity space.”

Chanda Smart, CEO of OnyxGroup Development, emphasized that the project team includes a high number of minority women.

“LJV is a Latina-owned construction company. She’s our construction partner. That kind of collaboration is super important because it just shows that we have a lot of talent out here, and it’s untapped,” Smart said.

OnyxGroup is also partnering with Terri Lyne Carrington, renowned jazz musician and Berklee College of Music alum, to create a community performance space. They’d also like to use some of the commercial space to create a food marketplace, potentially including local businesses Haley House and Lambert’s Fruit.

“This is a space so that students can walk by and see artists practicing their craft and … you don’t see that around Roxbury,” Smart said.

Onyx has also partnered with Thaddeus Miles of HoodFit, to provide dedicated fitness and wellness spaces for the community.

“That co-op equity space would be something where [instructors] can join forces and collaborate to purchase those spaces and have a presence,” Smart said.

Crescent Parcel, real estate develop Roxbury

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