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Partnership files proposal to overhaul Mission Hill affordable housing

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Mission-Main
Mission Main is made up of 535 residential units, 445 of which are occupied by BHA households. public domain

An affordable housing community in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood is poised for an update.

Mission Main Renovation Limited Partnership, made up of WinnDevelopment and the Mission Main Tenant Task Force, is planning to refurbish the 535 units that make up Mission Main, a mixed-income development in Roxbury. 

The partnership submitted a Design Review Application late last month outlining the renovations planned for the property, which was built in 1940. In the first few decades the area around the development became plagued by crime, eventually earning the highest crime rate of any Boston Housing Authority community. Conditions at the site “deteriorated drastically,” leading the BHA to submit a HOPE VI application to completely remake the development in 1993, according to the BHA

The community has been co-owned and managed by Mission Main Tenant Task Force and WinnDevelopment since the partners redeveloped it in 1998, according to the Design Review Application submitted to the Boston Planning & Development Agency on Sept. 27. More than two decades later, the group says it’s time for an upgrade. 

“Throughout 23 years of wear and tear, the Mission Main community has accrued a number of capital needs,” Gilbert J. Winn wrote in the application. “The Partnership aims to renovate the property and significantly improve the living conditions of the current residents with a variety of largely interior upgrades including new kitchens, bathrooms, select painting and flooring, renovation of amenity spaces, and more.” 

The community sits on 22.7 acres the BHA owns and includes 32 buildings that have a total of 535 units, 445 of which are occupied by BHA households. All but one of the buildings are residential. The other is a two-story with office and commercial space and an events room. 

The renovations will include full kitchen and bathroom upgrades in every unit, including new cabinets, countertops, appliances, floors, paint, medicine cabinets, tubs, and showers, according to the application. The developers also plan to upgrade air-conditioning units and install a central air system that will “deliver air conditioning to every town home bedroom,” the application said. 

Outside, the developers plan to replace 67 benches and repave and restripe all of the parking lots. The plan also calls for the replacement of the playgrounds in the community with “new and safe” ones. 

Last year, the project was the beneficiary of some of the $1.1 billion Governor Charlie Baker allocated for affordable housing across the state, the Mission Hill Gazette reported. According to the local news outlet, Mission Main was awarded “low-income housing tax credits and other resources,” allowing the renovations to move forward.

The BPDA will host a virtual public meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21, to discuss the proposal. 

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