A project that has long been in the works to transform a large portion of Tremont Street in Roxbury into a shopping area with new residential buildings and a museum may finally break ground this spring.
Elma Lewis Partners LLC, an affiliate of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, in partnership with Feldco Development hope to start construction on Tremont Crossing in April, according to a presentation made to Boston planning officials on Jan. 31. The project is located at the corner of Tremont and Whittier streets, across from the Boston Police Department headquarters at 1 Schroeder Plaza.
Planning actually began back in 2007 under former mayor Thomas Menino’s administration, according to Boston Globe reports.
Elma Lewis intended to build a new Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists there. Menino hoped to bring in Partners Healthcare. Former governor Deval Patrick wanted to put the state Department of Transportation there. Those projects all fell through.
Now Elma Lewis, partnered with Feldco, hopes to bring in 108,000 square feet of office space and three new residential complexes, which would all come with varying amounts of affordable housing. There would also be nearly 406,000 square feet of retail space and 1,371 parking spots in a new garage. Plus, the 31,000-square-foot Museum of the NCAAA.
Retail could include a Starbucks and CVS Pharmacy, plus a variety of restaurant and other retail spaces. There would also be a Burlington Coat Factory, a BJ’s Wholesale Club, a Planet Fitness, a Brooklyn Boulders indoor climbing wall, Title Boxing, and a Regal Cinemas movie theater.
To make the planned April 2019 groundbreaking, project officials must complete a final agreement with Landmark Partners, which is partnering with the developers on a 50/50 split to build the eastern residential and retail projects, by Feb. 15. The project must gain director authorization from the Boston Planning and Development Agency on March 17. During March, project officials must also have the ground lease for the project in order and review the planned development area with the city’s Zoning Commission. There’s also $28 million in funding that needs to close.
Of the 727 residential units proposed, 145 of them are to be deemed affordable, which is 20 percent overall.
In what’s being called the East Tower, 84, or 20 percent, of the 418 apartments would be considered affordable housing, with rent set for those making between 60 and 100 percent of the area median income. For perspective, 60 percent AMI for a family of four is $59,100 annually; 100 percent AMI is $98,500, according to the presentation.
West Tower would have 53, or 17.6 percent, of its 300 units set aside as affordable housing for households making between 60 percent and 80 percent AMI.
All nine of the planned Whittier Townhouses would be Section 8 housing.
The project is also forecast to bring in thousands of jobs — from an estimated 2,000-plus construction jobs (over the 30-month construction period) to 1,569 permanent positions projected for the retail, residential, office, and museum uses.